North American solar module manufacturer, Silfab Solar, has announced a direct investment in Itek Energy to initiate its US operations and meet growing demand for its photovoltaic (PV) products. With the $40 million investment, Silfab will integrate its leading-edge technology to Itek’s Bellingham, Washington production facility. Addition of a second production line at the facility is expected to more than double solar module production from 150 megawatts to near 350 megawatts.
The Silfab announcement comes as Washington state is charting record installation numbers of residential and commercial solar PV systems. The market expansion is fueled by falling equipment production costs, increased consumer awareness, net metering, and the reformed Renewable Energy System Incentive Program. The incentive program, passed by Washington’s legislature last summer, pays renewable energy adopters for the clean energy their systems generate.
“The out-of-state investment Washington’s solar industry has attracted from Silfab Solar underscores the value of Washington lawmakers’ decisions to support solar energy innovation and deployment. Funds the state has invested in solar energy are leveraging substantial private investment throughout Washington’s solar value chain,” said Dana Brandt, Board President of Solar Installers of Washington, the state’s solar trade association.
“We are excited by the expanded solar module production capabilities the Silfab investment makes possible at the Washington factory. The investment will help meet the strong demand for clean, affordable, and reliable solar electricity here in Washington state and in export markets,” said John Flanagan, President and Founding Principal of Itek.
The Yes on I-1631 campaign and Washington’s solar industry are celebrating a milestone. This week Washington’s Secretary of State announced that Initiative 1631 has qualified for the ballot in the November 2018 election. The initiative would protect local health and build a cleaner future for Washington by putting a pollution fee on the state's largest polluters, like the oil industry and utilities that have not yet switched to clean energy. It would invest in clean energy infrastructure, protecting and improving our state’s clean water and healthy forests, and transitioning local communities to a clean energy economy.
Yes on 1631 volunteers and coalition leaders delivered roughly 375,000 signatures to the Secretary of State’s Election Office last month. 260,000 verified signatures are required to qualify for the General Election Ballot. More than 2000 volunteers, organized through more than 200 organizations across Washington, worked over 12 weeks to gather signatures for this initiative.
Initiative 1631 is supported by the broadest coalition in Washington state initiative history, including labor unions, health professionals, businesses, communities of color organizations, tribal nations, faith organizations and environmental and clean energy advocates. The Solar Installers of Washington has endorsed the initiative, as have many of its member companies.
“Passage of I-1631 would dramatically accelerate the deployment of renewable energy in Washington. Funds generated by the carbon fee would support a multi-fold increase in solar installations and create thousands of new local jobs in the solar industry,” said Allison Arnold, Executive Director of Solar Installers of Washington.