“In the day”, I was sent to Siemens Photovoltaic Cell manufacturing plant in Santa Barbara to visit with the Southern California Edison customer, document the manufacturing process and take some pictures for my bosses presentation. It has been years since then and the United States, the once leader in cell manufacturing, has given way to others overseas (~four(4) cell manufacturers remain in U.S.). As a result, a manufacturing goal of 100% “Made in the United States” cannot be achieved for photovoltaic (PV) modules with mono-crystalline cells at cost effective prices. Never the less, other quantifiable goals like USGBC LEED Material Resource Credits can be achieved.
Various products can claim to be as much as 80% made in the United States and anywhere from $1.80 to $4.50/Watt installed (including but not limited to, additional structural systems like; racking, ballast, lagging or wood lattice). Using a goal to be the “Greenest” possible without additional expense, the owners of EcoGym Worldwide set out to design a PV System that met some of these goals. Seeking the guidance of A Solar Studio, a small 2-3 man studio in Naperville who’s principal has been involved with PV off and on for the past twenty years, they learned they could achieve some of these goals using the Solon Sol quick 295.