Listen Up: Affordable Solar Panels Made in the USA

Most of my rooftop solar customers express a preference for buying “Made in the U.S.A.” solar panels. And they were willing to pay a premium for domestically manufactured panels. But because there were very few U.S. manufacturers — and hundreds of overseas companies manufacturing panels at lower prices — the prices for U.S. made panels were always significantly higher.

For a variety of reasons, the price gap between U.S. made solar panels and overseas made solar panels has been narrowing. Tariffs on certain manufacturers has been a factor; unfortunately, these tariffs have been one of the most contentious and divisive issues in the solar industry over the past three years. But a bigger factor has been the gradual resurgence of U.S. manufacturing of all types — capitalizing on automation, low overhead operations and shorter supply chains.

My guest on this week’s Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is Mamun Rashid, chief operating officer of Auxin Solar. Auxin began contract manufacturing of solar panels in the U.S. in 2008, and now they are finding success with their own brand of crystalline panels. Please Listen Up as Mamun explains how a California-based company can compete on both quality and price with overseas manufacturing by keeping their overhead low and leveraging the latest in automated production equipment. Full disclosure, we use Auxin solar panels at Cinnamon Solar for many of our projects, and have successfully partnered with them for Spice Solar integrated racking.

About The Energy Show

As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don’t have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs — very affordably.

The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20-minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we’ll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices. 

About Your Host

Barry Cinnamon is a long-time advocate of renewable energy and is a widely recognized solar power expert. In 2001 he founded Akeena Solar — which grew to become the largest national residential solar installer by the middle of the last decade with over 10,000 rooftop customers coast to coast. He partnered with Westinghouse to create Westinghouse Solar in 2010, and sold the company in 2012.

His pioneering work on reducing costs of rooftop solar power systems include Andalay, the first solar panel with integrated racking, grounding and wiring; the first UL listed AC solar panel; and the first fully “plug and play” AC solar panel. His current efforts are focused on reducing the soft costs for solar power systems, which cause system prices in the U.S. to be double those of Germany.

Although Barry may be known for his outspoken work in the solar industry, he has hands-on experience with a wide range of energy saving technologies.  He’s been doing residential energy audits since the punch card days, developed one of the first ground-source heat pumps in the early ‘80s, and always abides by the Laws of Thermodynamics.

Lead image: Green microphone via Shutterstock

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As energy costs consume more and more of our hard-earned dollars, we as consumers really start to pay attention. But we don't have to resign ourselves to $5/gallon gas prices, $200/month electric bills and $500 heating bills. There are literally hundreds of products, tricks and techniques that we can use to dramatically reduce these costs -- very affordably. The Energy Show on Renewable Energy World is a weekly 20 minute podcast that provides tips and advice to reduce your home and business energy consumption. Every week we'll cover topics that will help cut your energy bill, explain new products and technologies in plain English, and cut through the hype so that you can make smart and cost-effective energy choices.

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