Silfab Solar, a solar manufacturer operating out of Bellingham, Washington U.S. and Toronto, Canada, grabbed a â€śtop performerâ€ť rating under the just-released PV Evolution Labs (PVEL) reliability report card â€” one of the few North American companies on the list, and Silfabâ€™s second year in a row.
PVEL is a test lab for the downstream solar market.
Here are the solar vendors that make it onto the test labs â€śtop performerâ€ť list.
The reliability rating applies to Silfabâ€™s conventional 60-cell and 72-cell modules as well as its back-contact, metal wrap-through module. Silfab earned good reviews in four testing categories: thermal cycling, potential-induced degradation, dynamic mechanical load, and damp heat.
Highly automated factories
The ITEK module factory bought by Silfab last year in Bellingham, Washington has an annual capacity of 200 MW. Silfab makes the same mono-PERC modules there as at its factory in Toronto, Ontario â€” with an emphasis on 60-cell modules.
The company has a total capacity of 800 MW with three lines in in Toronto and two lines in the U.S. Thatâ€™s modest compared to JA Solarâ€™s 16 GW capacity in China but substantial for silicon PV module capacity in North America.
Geoff Atkins, business development at Silfab, told pv magazine, â€śWe believe weâ€™re one of the most automated solar manufacturers in North America.â€ť
Silfabâ€™s line of metal wrap-through back-contact modules comes as the result of a strategic alliance with DSM, maker of an â€śintegratedâ€ť electroconductive backsheet.
Atkins spoke of an international supply chain and operational discipline that minimizes inventory and makes sure every module has an associated purchase order.
â€śWe rarely get caught up in the solar coaster,â€ť said Atkins.
Notable â€śhigh-profile commercial projectsâ€ť
Silfabâ€™s â€śmain business is U.S. residential installers,â€ť said Atkins, but he noted, â€śWe touch on high-profile commercial projects.â€ť
Here are a few of those high-profile projects.
U.S. state department: Twenty Silfab solar panels on the roof of the State Departmentâ€™s Harry S. Truman building in Washington, DC. â€” installed by Inman Solar.
NFL Stadiums: Atkins noted that Silfabâ€™s modules are deployed by Powerhome at â€śmost of the NFL stadiumsâ€ť including the North Carolina Panthersâ€™ Bank of America Stadium (pictured below) and the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, and Pittsburgh Steelers.
Walmart: After Walmartparted ways with Tesla, the global retailer started to deploy Silfab modules (as well as SolarEdge inverters and DCE racking) through C2 Energy Capital on five projects, totaling over 1.9 megawatts across Walmart rooftops in New Jersey.
Atkins said that these PV modules are â€śBuy Americanâ€ť approved and â€śspecifically designed for and dedicated to the North American market.â€ť
He notes that many companies have tried their hand at manufacturing in North America but, unlike Silfab, most have experienced what Atkins called, â€śvarying levels of success.â€ť