Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Thin-Film Module Company Buys Tracking Technology Co.

First Solar Inc., the world's biggest maker of thin-film solar modules, announced Friday that it bought closely held RayTracker Inc. for an undisclosed amount to expand in sun-tracking technology.

First Solar will assimilate RayTracker's nine employees and clients with the purchase. Tracking systems let solar panels follow the sun's movements, increasing output from solar panels.

Tracking technology has been too costly for thin-film panels because they convert less sunlight into electricity than polysilicon-based modules. For this to work for First Solar, it must create higher-efficiency panels and reduce the cost and maintenance of tracking systems, said Daniel Ries, an analyst at Collins Stewart in New York. "This is really unexpected news from First Solar and seems like a positive development," he said.

First Solar is evaluating RayTracker's systems and hasn't decided whether to use the systems with its thin-film modules for utility-scale projects, said Ted Meyer, a First Solar spokesman.


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