As demand grows and technology improves, the global solar industry is changing rapidly. One of the most telling tales of the transformations underway is the recent decision by American panel manufacturer Silevo to move its production facilities into those previously occupied by now defunct Solyndra.
In 2011, Solyndra filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection, taking with it nearly half a billion USD in government loans and grants in the process. This ignited a political firestorm about their use of taxpayer dollars. The company has ever since been a piñata for the anti-renewables camp in the US.
But Silevo’s move could transplant the Solyndra’s story of failure with one more fitting of the success and vitality of the booming industry. Silevo is a subsidiary of SolarCity, the largest installer of solar PV systems in the US. SolarCity is widely credited as having done much to bring solar power into the mainstream for the US residential market.
Silevo believes the former Solyndra plant is the ideal location for providing the company with the infrastructure and support to mass-produce its products. “In this particular case, the Silevo team is growing and need a larger space. We looked at a number of different buildings, this was available and suits our needs,” said SolarCity spokesperson Jonathan Bass in an interview with the San Francisco Business Times.
In the San Francisco Business Times article, GTM Research analyst Shyam Mehta commented about the deal, saying, “[I]t’s a good location for attracting candidates out of the Bay Area/Silicon Valley, as opposed to getting them to move across the country to snowy Buffalo, which is where [Silevo’s] main plant is.”
© 2015 Solar Choice Pty Ltd