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At $1 per Watt, the iTunes of Solar Energy Has Arrived
By Indy Media /
Solve Climate:A Silicon Valley start-up called Nanosolar shipped its first solar panels -- priced at $1 a watt. That's the price at which solar energy gets cheaper than coal. Curious that this story is not on every front page.

Still, to commemorate the achievement, Nanosolar CEO Martin Roscheisen (pictured) is reserving the first three commercially-viable panels. One is staying on display at company HQ; one has been donated to San Jose's Tech Museum of Innovation. And the other is on sale on e-bay.

Starting price? 99 cents.

So far, there have been 83 bids and the price has reached $10,300. The auction is over on December 27th at 17:13:10 PST. We know the heavy hitters won't even show up until 17:12:40.

How did Nanosolar make this breakthrough?

While other companies have been focusing their efforts on increasing the efficiency of solar panels, Nanosolar took a different approach. It focused on manufacturing. Here's what it says on the company's home page:

Nanosolar has developed proprietary process technology that makes it possible to produce 100x thinner solar cells 100x faster.

Essentially, they've figured out how to print solar cells on thin sheets of aluminum with a printing press.

This could be a big nail in the dirty coal coffin. Remember a few weeks ago Google announced its RE
* IBM's top manufacturing executive has joined Nanosolar
* The company raised $100 million to build a factory, and has secured more than 600,000 feet of manufacturing space.
* It already has orders for the first 18 months of manufacturing capacity

For more details on what Nanosolar is calling The Third Wave of Solar Power, check out their web site and discussion of 7 areas of innovation they've mastered.
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At $1 per Watt, the iTunes of Solar Energy Has Arrived