Colorado solar-panel makers lead the pack |

Colorado solar-panel makers lead the pack

Mark Jaffe
The Denver Post

Even as the solar-cell industry struggles through its first decline in demand in more than a decade, flatbed trucks are hauling about $100 million in equipment to Ascent Solar Technologies Inc.’s new plant in Thornton.

Even as solar-panel prices dropped 40 percent in 2009 to about $2.25 a watt on average, Abound Solar Inc.’s Longmont plant is rolling out its first photovoltaic panels.

While it may seem the two Colorado companies are sailing into a head wind, they are just ahead of a spate of others. Plans for 15 new domestic solar-panel factories have been announced this year.

“It is a race,” said Alison Wise, a senior market analyst at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden.

“In part, it is a race to see who can stay in business and capitalize on solar’s growing market in the future,” Wise said.

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