The General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) is ending its plans to manufacture solar panels due to an abundance of the panels in the market, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday.
The Fortune 500 company sold its solar technology to First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), a global provider of solar power. Market saturation and weak solar-panel prices have led to the decline in business over the years.
First Solar reported a 70 percent drop in profit, which sent its shares down 13 percent by midday Tuesday.
GE is selling First Solar thin-film solar panels in exchange for 1.75 million shares of the solar technology company’s stock.
"We have certainly seen prices stabilize," Jim Hughes, First Solar’s chief executive, said in an interview. "The market is definitely healthier than it was, but it has a ways to go before we would describe it as in balance.” In 2011 GE planned to build a $300 million plant in Aurora, Colo., that would have been the biggest solar-panel plant in the country. GE expected the plant to become a multibillion-dollar business, but prices of solar panels dropped significantly last year as there was a glut of the panels on the market.
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