These ideas are part of the extra/robo-economic view of the future.
Renewable energy source manufacturing has reached a high level of repeatability. Wind turbines and solar panels and solar thermal vacuum tubes have been manufactured in massive quantities, Even if innovation still adds gradual improvements, we have many working solutions, from hydro turbines to peltier elemens, you name it. The collection of manufacturing methods for renewable energy sources is still in its first generation in our view.
You can order a panel laminator online
The second generation is different from the first not in yield or efficiency but in cost. It is not cheaper, it is costless. This costless production is achieved in a simple way : By using renewables. Right now buying a vacuum laminating machine to make a solar panel requires an initial investment, and then as you use it it will use energy from the grid, kWhs made by Chinese coal fired power plants. This has several effects. One of them is that making a solar panel pollutes. Another is that selling a panel ultimately needs to yield the cost of the coal that made the electricity. Another is that the chinese economy needs to enjoy the use of the panels, after all it spend the coal. As the global economy desintegrates due to shortages of fossil fuels, these factors will start to count move heavily.
Purifying silicon with sunlight! More here (dutch.)
The energy to make solar panels and other renewable energy sources could come from renewables themselves. The logistics chain (which preferably is as short as possible) could be powered by carbon free fuels like NH3 that where generated along the route using wind energy, or electric trucks, or trucks running on synthetic methane. Every time a solar panel factory adds another solar panel to deliver electricity to its production and distribution chain, it reduces its cost and becomes more ‘competitive’. Ultimately the factory can set a price that allows its workers to consume and be motivated, yet still dominate the market.
A production cycle that requires zero fossil fuel input can function more competitively
A wind turbine manufacturer can do the same. It can build its plant in a windy region, put up turbines to power the plant, change the heavy transport trucks (which can carry batteries no doubt) to electric. Make the glass fiber, refine the aluminium, etc. etc. Already Iceland is refining aluminium using Geothermal energy. It is an electrolytic process, but one assumes it could be done with solar in the desert as well.
Fossil fuel dependence slows our response to climate change
Because economics (the marketing of fossil fuel) and its ‘carbon credit’ now determine where energy is available for production, and because it needs to keep the energy dependency to continue to sell coal, oil, gas and derivative kWhs, manufacturing is captive in a ROI cycle that even requires it to destoy itself if the economic yield (return payed to banks) drops to zero. All processes in the economy are held as dependent on immediate fossil fuel input as possible. This maximizes the influence of banks and financial markets which in turn allows banks and financial markets to keep their business going. It is a limit to the expansion of renewable energy and our response to climate change.
Renault factory plans to use solar, which will cut the cost of its cars.
So the next generation of renewable energy source factories will be close to the place the energy sources are used, run on renewables, produce very low cost energy sources and be able to expand and act independently of the international banking system. This is why we don’t see much examples yet, why the above method of making solar grade silicon was burried, and why we need to push for it.
A CIGS solar panel factory powers itself with CIGS panels!
One way would be for companies like Vestas to open up investment in their plants for conversion to processes to ones based on renewable energy. For that one could create a fund or organization that also markets the idea of the ‘next generation’, This can also prevent factories to start with fossil fuel debt (credit). If we succeed to kindle the next generation renewable energy source factories (a mouthfull) we will never have to worry about the cost or the rate of expansion of the industry again..