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U.S. solar energy tech farther advanced than other countries

07-30-2010 11:30 BJT

WASHINGTON, July 28 (Xinhua) -- Though the Unites States comes only the fourth place as a solar energy market, behind Germany, Italy and Japan, its solar energy technology is farther advanced than any other country in the world, Rhone Resch, president and CEO of the U.S. Solar Energy Industries Association, said.

Solar panels sit on the roof of SunPower Corporation in Richmond, California March 18, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)
Solar panels sit on the roof of SunPower Corporation in Richmond, California
March 18, 2010. (Xinhua/Reuters File Photo)

Germany is a larger market than the United States and Japan has bent to the photovoltaic industry for decades. But it is the United States which holds the cutting edge, he said.

"When you look at the innovation that's coming out of our universities and our research laboratories as well as so many of the companies, I would actually argue that with respect to the actual technology, the efficiencies, the applications that solar is used and automatically the scale on which solar is applied, the U.S. is significantly farther advanced than either Germany or Japan with respect to technology development," Resch told Xinhua.

Photovoltaics was invented in the United States' Bell Labs; the lowest cost panels are manufactured by a U.S. company, First Solar; the highest efficient panels in the world are manufactured by a U.S. company, Sun Power, Resch noted.

According to the expert, the future development of solar energy industry depends on breakthroughs or innovations in regard to the cost, efficiency and the appearances of solar panels.

Regarding cost, he explained that since a solar panel is a commodity product, every company out there is trying to drive their cost down. "If you can lower your cost and assure that you have high quality, then automatically you are going to win the race."

According to Resch, the wholesale price of photovoltaic panels has come down by nearly 50 percent in the last two years. Currently in the United States as an incentive to promote this industry, all homeowners and businesses get a 30 percent tax credit from the federal government and state governments.

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