NEW YORK -- GE and First Solar, Inc. will join their competing thin-film solar panel technologies in an effort to improve efficiency and decrease costs.
The companies announced Tuesday that First Solar will acquire General Electric Co.'s technology for making thin film panels. In return, GE will receive 1.75 million shares of First Solar stock. That represents $82 million, and 2 percent of First Solar's outstanding shares.
First Solar is the world's largest producer of thin-film panels and among the world's largest solar farm developers. GE's thin-film technology has performed well in lab tests, but is not manufactured at large scale.
First Solar will attempt to incorporate GE's technology into its extensive and well-developed manufacturing process. GE will purchase and brand First Solar panels for its own installations.