First Solar,the US based Cadmium Tellurium (Cd-Te) is the lowest cost panel producer in the world today if you don’t include any penalty for low efficiency.Even if you penalize the Cd-Te Technology for its lower efficiency vis-a-vis the higher efficiency crystalline technology,First Solar is clearly the leader with a core cost of 74c/watt.The company has a roadmap of reducing the cost to 52c/watt by 2014 and given its track record it seems quite achievable.In Cd-Te,some new competitors have claimed even lower costs than First Solar but they have yet to prove it in large scale production.General Electric,Abound Solar are some of the other Cd-Te players which are planning commercial production in a year or two.But with around 2 GW of capacity,they will have a lot of catching up to do.

However Solar Capacity in the Industry has increased rapidly particularly in Taiwan and China.Besides Semiconductor and LCD Heavyweights like AUO and TSMC have made huge investments into Solar Production.Korean Companies are too making a strong entry into the already crowded segment.Despite some capacity build in the wafer and module parts of the supply chain,Taiwan remains largely a cell producer.Compared to the integrated Chinese producers like Trina,Yingli,LDK and others,Taiwanese Solar Makers are vulnerable to sharp price cuts.They depend on European customers who are largely uncompetitive and would face huge pressures with the decline in the German market.Chinese producers have much lower costs due to their vertical integration which currenly most Taiwanese lack except Motech.Taiwanese Cell Capacity is set to increase manifold next year from the current 5 GW.Most of the Tier 2 Cell Producers would be running empty while even Tier 1 players will see a sharp decrease from this year.

Solar Panels despite being mostly a commodity comes in a wide variety of types,technology,prices,size and colors.You can read an introduction about the lowest cost panels here.With there being no global index of Solar Panel Prices and with Prices of Solar Panels forming very quickly,its a difficult problem in acquiring the cheapest solar panels.The problem is compounded for solar panel buyers because these panels are typically sold by wholesalers and distributors who charge fat margins without providing any additional value.Also due to the lack of knowledge about the quality and the properties of solar panels,buyers generally get fleeced.Also panels are seldom sold separately as it is generally part of the overall package of the complete installation of panels,inverters,wiring,connection and integration.Here is a quick overview of which are the companies which make the lowest cost solar panels on the planet at a good quality and the most recent prices which they are selling at.Notice that the European and Japanese solar panels are of much higher price despite there being very little to differentiate themselves from Asian solar panels.

Chinese Green Companies are being forced to look at overseas market for Profits as their Domestic Market is being ravaged by fierce price wars.Wind,Solar and even Smart Grid Companies in China compete mainly on price as technology is not the strong point for these companies.Lots of these small companies are promoted through provincial government bodies […]

The German Solar Feed in Tariff Reduction got another twist as the Upper House Bundesrat refused to pass the proposal into Law.This threw a spanner into the proposed 16% one time special reduction in Solar FIT which was supposed to be implemented from 1st of July.Note the Bundesrat does not have powers to block the […]

The Indian Government under the Jawaharlal Nehru Solar Mission has proposed ambitious plans for the development of solar energy with a 20 GW target by 2022. This implies almost 1 GW of solar energy to be installed per year in the country.At the current prices that is an impressive $4 billion in investment per year.Naturally […]