Jun 16, 2014 - US photovoltaic (PV) module maker Silicon Energy has put on hold production in Minnesota and is trying to find out why some locally-made panels, installed at several solar parks, have cracked or lost colour.
New installations which are to use the made-in-Minnesota product have been put off.
The company’s president Gary Shaver told local daily Star Tribune that most likely there is a fault in the manufacturing process for its Next Generation Cascade Series panels, which needs to be fixed. Silicon Energy’s head noted that the firm will need to replace “hundreds of solar panels” under warranty due to the cracks and discolouration.
Earlier products by the company and Cascade panels made at its plant in Washington have not exhibited any defects so far.
The Silicon Energy PV panel factory in Mountain Iron, Minnesota started work in 2011. With the opening of local manufacturing capacity, the company took advantage of increased demand created by a state-mandated subsidy for solar systems using locally-made equipment. The Next Generation Cascade PV module, introduced in November 2012, was said to use "less embedded material without sacrificing strength, durability, or aesthetics.”
According to Star Tribune, Silicon Energy has received USD 5.1 million (EUR 3.8m) in state loans.
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