AVA Solar, a spinoff company of Colorado State University in Ft. Collins, Colorado, has announced plans to begin production on new method for manufacturing low-cost, high-efficiency solar panels. The company plans to construct a new 200-megawatt factory, expected to employ up to 500 people, and begin production by the end of next year. A specific site for the facility was not announced, but university officials indicated it would be in the Fort Collins region. Mechanical engineering Professor W.S. Sampath has patented the techology, which allows the panels to be produced for less than $1 per watt, reducing the cost to a point where, according to Professor Sampath, solar technology can power homes and businesses for roughly the same cost as traditionally generated electricity. Additionally, the technology allows the panels to be independent of a grid, so it can be installed and operated in nearly any location. University officials stated that Sampath and his fellow researchers have been working for 16 years to perfect the technology and wait for the market to open.
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