The year 1975 marked the debut of microcomputers, the game show “Wheel of Fortune” and Bruce Springsteen’s now-classic “Born to Run” album. It was also the year that the Southern California legacy operations of SolarWorld pioneered mass-manufacturing of solar technology, harnessing and distributing power that could potentially provide answers for Americans wary of inflation and rising energy costs. Our work and innovation helped launch a long-term shift toward alternative energy.
Flash-forward 35-plus years, and solar is now part of our everyday vocabulary. The workforce of SolarWorld is proud to have been here from the beginning. In fact, we have grown to become the largest U.S. manufacturer of solar panels, and we remain committed to sourcing, manufacturing, assembling and hiring right here on our own soil.
Timeline of Solar Industry Firsts
Engineer and entrepreneur Bill Yerkes creates Solar Technology International
Solar Technology International acquired by Atlantic Richfield, CO., forming ARCO Solar
In Camarillo, Calif., ARCO Solar dedicates world's largest PV factory to making silicon crystal ingots, wafers, photovoltaic cells and modules.
ARCO Solar becomes first company to produce more than 1 megawatt of PV modules in one year
ARCO Solar commissions world's first 1 MW grid-connected PV installation
Australia's University of New South Wales creates silicon cells with 20% efficiency in laboratory
Siemens acquires ARCO Solar, forming Siemens Solar
Siemens Solar celebrates 100 MW of installed power from modules made in Camarillo
Siemens becomes first company to offer 25-year warranty
SolarWorld forms as startup business, entering Germany's burgeoning solar market
Germany requires utilities to pay "feed-in tariffs" at fixed premium rates to owners of solar systems for power contributed into grid
Royal Dutch Shell acquires Siemens Solar, creating Shell Solar
SolarWorld acquires Shell Solar
Investors begin offering free installation in return for long-term power purchase agreements (PPAs), which become common financing arrangements
- Initiates first solar power plant in the Vatican -- 2,394 SolarWorld modules -- on the roof of the Papal Audience Hall
- Opens Hillsboro plant in gala ceremony on Oct. 17, committing to build up 500 MW of annual production capacity and workforce of 1,000 by 2010
- Engages K ln soccer forward Lukas Podolski to star in company marketing campaigns
- Builds 210,000-square-foot building in Hillsboro for logistics center and module production
- Announces success in exceeding sales revenue forecast of 1 billion Euros (roughly $1.4 billion) for 2009
- Unveils 25-year linear guarantee on solar panel performance, setting new lead in product protection
- Engages Larry Hagman, actor who portrayed oil barron J.R. Ewing in long-running hit TV show “Dallas,” for “Shine, baby, shine!” ad campaign
- Establishes 36 solar-powered Sun-TV media centers in rural Africa in time for World Cup there
- Opens $80 million research center in Freiberg to optimize production processes
- Completes Hillsboro ramp to 500 MW production, including solar panel factory and 1,000th employee
- Supplies 4.26 MW of solar panels for nation’s largest roof-mounted solar panel system, atop an 17-acre industrial warehouse rooftop in Edison, N.J.
- Provides solar panels for 1.56-megawatt parking canopy system – the largest publicly accessible urban array -- providing protection above public parking for the Cincinnati Zoo
- Ships 33 MW of solar panels by railroad to ground-mount plant in southeast Ontario, Canada
- Fulfills order for 2.4 MW of solar panels to cover the roof of five important buildings at the historic U.S. navy base at Pearl Harbor
- Supplies 672-kilowatt for parking-canopy, sloped-wall-mount and rooftop systems at the maintenance hub of Yosemite Park
- Donates 50-kilowatt system for use in powering the 63rd Primetime Emmy Awards, later donated for use in home projects of Habitat for Humanity of Great Los Angeles
- Leads U.S. manufacturing coalition in submitting federal trade cases seeking to stem tide of illegally subsidized and priced imports of Chinese technology
- Provides 6.1 megawatts of solar panels for ground-mounted system at New Jersey’s Lawrenceville School, the largest to be installed at a U.S. primary or secondary school
- Wins Hall of Fame honors from the Made in the USA Foundation for its efforts to restore fair competition in the solar industry
- Completes work on 11.6-megawatt project to design, procure and install 11.6-MW system for Los Angeles Department of Water and Power, the nation’s largest municipal utility
- Lauds victory in all phases of trade cases against state-underwritten Chinese solar industry, including 6-0 bipartisan vote of U.S.
- International Trade Commission and Chinese import duties ranging from about 24 percent to more than 250 percent
- Introduces the SolarWorld Freedom Plan, the first financing program dedicated exclusively to American-made solar panels
- Debuts glass-glass solar panel featuring 30-year linear performance guarantee. The new panel, no heavier than standard glass-film formats, substitutes conventional backsheet with lightweight glass
- Provides 100-kilowatt donation of solar panels as well as design and coordination for multi-partner project to eliminate electric bill for Water Missions International, a water aid nonprofit based in South Carolina
- Sells 21 MW project near Twentnine Palms, Calif., a project that SolarWorld financed and built on company-owned land, to Duke Energy Renewables
- Enters agreement with Denmark-based Grundfos, the world’s largest pump manufacturer, to supply solar panels to power Grundfos’ solar-powered submersible water pumps
SolarWorld continues to be a leader in solar manufacturing in America as one of the only solar companies that manufactures from raw materials to finished panels in American factories. We create American jobs, buy products from American companies and advance American technology. All as we help businesses operate more efficiently and cost-effectively with custom solar power systems, and move our country closer to achieving clean energy independence. Like our commercial clients, SolarWorld continually pushes the limits of innovation with solar energy. We pride ourselves on consistently meeting or exceeding America’s high environmental and employment standards. At the same time, we are committed to managing our resources wisely so that we can lower costs and maximize the return on investment for our business partners. Partner with SolarWorld. Invest in the future of your business.