Solar energy companies can seem as mysterious as solar electricity itself.
But there are a lot of things you’re going to want to know about these companies if you’re thinking about going solar.
So let’s pull back the curtain and get to know these mysterious companies that will be building your solar panels.
But wait… How will this help?
Well, by getting to know the track record, prices, and product range of these solar energy companies you’re going to have a better idea about who you would like to do business with.
Now, onto the the major players in the solar industry:
- BP Solar
BP Solar had a great run while it lasted. In case you didn’t know, BP stands for British Petroleum. Yes this is a giant oil company that started moonlighting as a solar energy company when it purchased Lucas Energy Systems in 1980. It had a 20 percent world market share of solar panels in 2004.
- Evergreen Solar
Evergreen was an American company that was founded in 1994. It produced a patented form of solar cells known as “string ribbon” until filing for bankruptcy in 2011.
- First Solar
First Solar is the king of thin film solar panel manufacturers. They also might be able to make solar panels more affordable than ever.
- GE Energy
GE Energy is a division of General Electric. It dabbles in many energy sources including coal, oil, gas, nuclear, water, wind, and of course solar.
Kaneka Solar has built up twenty years of experience in the “thin-film” solar market.
Founded in 1959 and based in Kyoto, Japan, this company has recently announced plans to triple its solar cell production
Mitsubishi Electric is part of the Japan’s Mitsubishi Group. They have been developing photovoltaic technology since 1974. They have recently developed a solar cell with an efficiency rate of 18.6%.
Nanosolar was founded in 2002 in San Jose, California. The company talked about revolutionizing the solar industry with thin film solar cells that could be printed like newspaper. Find out if they can walk the walk.
Powerfilm concentrates on developing thin film solar module technology through an industrial scale manufacturing process. Check out their portable solar products, BIPV, and OEM components.
Sanyo Electric is now controlled by Panasonic. The company opened a solar module assembly plant in 2004 and their solar panels are based on the HIT solar cell.
- Schott Solar
Established in 2002, this company “taps into the experience” of its predecessor firms like AEG which have been researching solar cells since 1958. It is part of German glass maker Schott AG.
This Japanese company, founded in 1912, has been researching solar cells since 1959. The company began mass production in 1963 and is now a world leader in solar panel production.
You may have heard that Solyndra filed for bankruptcy. This Fremont California operation didn’t make solar panels like the rest of these solar energy companies. Solyndra came up with a unique thin film solar cell solution for commercial and industrial rooftops.
Founded in 1985 by Stanford University professor Richard Swanson, Sunpower has some of the most efficient and best looking solar panels around.
This relative newcomer was founded in 2001 and is already one of the top ten manufacturers of photovoltaic cells. It is based in China.
- Trina Solar
This “vertically integrated” Chinese manufacturer of mono and multicrystalline panels is growing fast. Find out more about the company’s manufacturing process and see why Trina Solar is a company to watch.
Also known as United Solar Ovonic, this company is a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices of Michigan. The company manufactures photovoltaic laminates.