Integrated solar roofing firm GAF Energy has started moving its manufacturing base from Asia and building out its first combined research and development (R&D) and manufacturing centre in San Jose, California.
The company, a subsidiary of industrial group Standard Industries, said it has begun “critical improvements” on the 112,000sq ft facility to bring “traditionally offshored solar manufacturing to the US”.
In a statement, Standard Industries chief executives David Millstone and David Winter, said that the co-location of R&D and manufacturing will be a “huge benefit” for both the scientists “pushing the envelope on what’s possible for the product, and the engineers responsible for rolling it off the line.”
US residential solar companies experienced a swift return to growth at the end of last year despite COVID-19 disruptions. Installations rose 11% last year to 3.1GW, according to a report from the Solar Energy Industries Alliance (SEIA) and analyst Wood Mackenzie, in a market that is led by listed companies Sunrun, Sunnova, SunPower, Tesla and Vivint Solar.
SEIA said last October that as of June 2020, polysilicon capacity exceeded 20GW in the US, and it is estimated 7GW of solar panels can be assembled per year, enough to meet around one-third of domestic market demand today. The trade body has called for 100GW of annual manufacturing capacity to be deployed by 2030.