SolarWorld: Manufacturing Solar From Raw Material to Final PV Panel
SolarWorld, a German owned company, is the largest U.S. manufacturer of Photovoltaics. They have been around since 1975 and have 3 manufacturing plants on the west coast. The company is involved in all aspects of the production from the manufacturing of the raw materials used to manufacture solar panels to the manufacturing of the end product.
SolarWorld has several distributors in the United States, including Rexel and Platt. They also sell their products through their Sunkits program, which is a turnkey system that accommodates customization of solar panels based on consumer requests.
According to Ben from SolarWorld, the company is striving for improvement and transparency within their solar manufacturing. They have a product life cycle management, where they oversee every aspect of a PV module's life. Some sustainable features Ben mentioned include: the founding of PV Cycle in Europe, which is a consortium dedicated to recycling PV modules, waste diversion programs, reporting of CO2 emissions, green team, and distribution of mugs to company employees so that they don't use paper cups.
According to Ben, Photon International, a trade industry magazine, listed SolarWorld as a premium brand. Each year Photon International does an evaluation on solar panels, and according to Ben, Solar World came in first place this year for energy conversion efficiency.