From Arco Solar to the gigawatt age: past, present, and future of photovoltaic manufacturing reside

Published: August 1, 2009

By Tom Cheyney, Senior Contributing Editor (USA), Photovoltaics International

SolarWorld USA’s two main manufacturing facilities in Camarillo, CA, and Hillsboro, OR, represent the past, present, and future of crystalline-silicon solar photovoltaic manufacturing in the United States. The Southern California site, which sits in a small industrial park across from a verdant expanse of strawberry fields, was home to one of the world’s first (and at one time the largest) solar factories in the late 1970s, a historic campus that has changed corporate hands several times, from Arco Solar to Siemens Solar (1990) to Shell Solar (2001) and finally to SolarWorld (2006) over the three decades since its inception. This paper provides a look inside the factory doors.

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