Court Rich, director of Rose Law Group’s renewable energy & utility Infrastructure department, weighs in on the solar breakthrough that could help the U.S. compete with China

By Amrith Ramkumar | Wall Street Journal

The biggest investor in U.S. solar manufacturing is embracing a new technology that reduces the cost of producing the panels, potentially bolstering efforts to build a supply chain outside of China for an industry crucial to the energy transition. 

The new technology comes from an Israeli startup that promises to simplify one of the most cumbersome steps in solar manufacturing and cut costs by reducing the amount of silver needed to capture sunlight on the panels.

The startup, called Lumet, is the brainchild of Benny Landa, who founded the company that developed the first digital printing press. That company was sold to HP for $830 million in the early 2000s. Lumet is working with Bank of America to raise hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming months, Landa said.

South Korea’s Hanwha Group says it will be the first company to use Lumet’s technology. Hanwha’s Qcells unit, one of the biggest solar-panel makers outside China, is building a multibillion-dollar solar supply chain in Georgia. The company expects the financial savings and performance gains to help it compete with low-cost products from the world’s biggest producer. 

Qcells is expected to be one of the biggest potential beneficiaries from incentives in the 2022 U.S. climate law and a recently announced tariff increase on Chinese solar cells. The company said recently it is closing its only factory in China.
Chinese solar panels can be half the price of panels made elsewhere, industry analysts say, putting pressure on companies to cut costs. “We know we can’t depend on trade barriers or subsidies to make us competitive,” Danielle Merfeld, global chief technology officer at Qcells, said in an interview. “We have to keep innovating.”


“With electrification and the expanding demand for energy from new technologies we are in desperate need for new generation in Arizona and throughout the US.  Solar power is already the lowest cost option for new energy and innovations like this will help further reduce the cost as we build more and more generation to serve the rapidly expanding need. “
-Court Rich, director of Rose Law Group’s renewable energy & utility Infrastructure department

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May 2024