On January 22, 2018, the Trump Administration announced a 30 percent tariff on solar panels and cells imported into the United States. This announcement raised a lot of questions for solar customers on the EnergySage Solar Marketplace. One of the most popular questions: where can I find solar panels that are made in America?
While the majority of solar projects in the United States use imported panels, there are more U.S. manufacturers than you might think. The following solar panel companies do some (or all) of their manufacturing in the United States.
U.S. solar panel manufacturers (2018)
- Heliene – Mountain Iron, MN (U.S. manufacturing facility)
- Itek Energy – Bellingham, WA
- Mission Solar – San Antonio, TX
- Seraphim – Jackson, MS (U.S. headquarters)
- Solaria – Fremont, CA (U.S. headquarters)
- SolarTech Universal – Riviera Beach, FL
- SolarWorld Americas – Hillsboro, OR
- Suniva – Norcross, GA
- SunSpark – Riverside, CA
- Tesla/Panasonic – Buffalo, NY (U.S. manufacturing facility)
Is our list missing any U.S. companies? Leave us a note in the comments – we’ll update with new additions as they come in.
There are two things that we should mention about our list of American-made solar panel companies.
First, many of these companies assemble their solar panels in the U.S., but import the key components from other countries. These components also fall under the solar tariff, but there is an exception for the first 2.5 gigawatts (GW) of solar cells imported each year. (For context, the United States installed 12 GW of solar in all of 2017, of which an estimated 2.5 GW was U.S.-made solar panels.)
Second, not every company on this list is headquartered in the United States. Some, like Heliene, have headquarters elsewhere. Others, like SolarWorld Americas, are subsidiaries of foreign manufacturers. However, they all manufacture some of their panels in the United States.
Read on for more information about the companies that make solar panels in America.
SolarWorld Americas and Suniva
Out of all the U.S. solar panel manufacturers on the list, these two might be the most recognizable. Both SolarWorld Americas and Suniva have featured in the news lately as the two companies that asked the government to consider tariffs on foreign solar panel companies.
There is disagreement in the solar industry about whether the tariffs will actually encourage more manufacturing in the United States in the long term. Some industry groups expect that the resulting increased costs will have an overall negative impact on solar in the United States. The Solar Energy Industries Association estimates that there will be some increase in manufacturing jobs, but that there will be an even bigger loss of jobs in the solar installation business.
Heliene is based in Sault St. Marie, Ontario, Canada, and manufactures most of its solar panels there. However, Heliene also has a manufacturing facility in Minnesota. The company’s solar panels are eligible for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, which offers a cash payment to Minnesota solar system owners who install solar panels manufactured in state.
Following the White House’s announcement of the solar tariff, Heliene announced that it is investing in a new equipment line at its Minnesota facility.
Itek Energy manufactures solar panels in both Washington State and Minnesota. Like Heliene, the company also qualifies for the Made in Minnesota Solar Incentive Program, as well as a similar Washington program to support in state solar manufacturing. Itek opened a new facility in Bellingham, WA in October 2017.
Mission Solar is based in San Antonio, Texas, where they design, engineer, and assemble all of their solar panels. They make panels for both small-scale (rooftop) and large-scale solar projects.
Like other companies on this list, Mission Solar has announced that they will be ramping up production in 2018. However, their plans have been in the works since 2017 as a result of increased production, and are not a direct result of the trade case.
Seraphim Solar USA is a U.S. owned subsidiary of Seraphim Energy Group, which is based in China. Seraphim Solar USA manufactures all of its panels in the United States at its facility in Jackson, Mississippi.
Solaria is based in Fremont, California, and manufactures its solar panels both in the United States and in South Korea. At the beginning of January (prior to the final tariff decision), Solaria announced that they had raised $23 million to expand manufacturing capabilities.
You can read EnergySage’s full Solaria review for more about the company’s products.
SolarTech Universal is a U.S.-owned solar panel company. It’s the only solar panel manufacturer in Florida, and owns its manufacturing facility in Riviera Beach, Florida. The company expects the tariff to have a positive impact on its business in the short term, but also thinks that long-term costs will outweigh the benefits.
SunSpark Technology is based in Riverside, California, and its parent company is based in China. SunSpark has a manufacturing facility in Riverside, but hasn’t publicly commented on the tariff.
Tesla Energy has partnered with Panasonic to manufacture solar panels in the United States at the Tesla Gigafactory 2 in Buffalo, New York. In early January 2018, the company confirmed that Panasonic has started manufacturing solar cells at the factory, both for the Tesla solar roof and for Panasonic solar panels.
Panasonic manufactures most of its panels abroad, and so far, it isn’t able to manufacture enough solar panels to meet all of Tesla Energy’s needs. However, Panasonic and Tesla expect to increase production over the next year. Tesla stated its opposition to the tariff in summer 2017, and reiterated its commitment to U.S. manufacturing after the tariff was announced.
You can read EnergySage’s full Panasonic review for more on the company’s solar panels.
Compare quotes from U.S. solar panel companies on EnergySage
Solar shoppers across the country are understandably concerned about how the solar tariff will impact the cost of installing solar. The good news is that EnergySage can help both residential and commercial solar shoppers minimize the impact of these tariffs on their solar costs.
The power of using EnergySage is that solar-interested consumers can more than offset the impact of the solar tariff by simple online comparison-shopping. (You can read more in EnergySage’s analysis of the tariff and how it will affect prices.)
If you’re thinking about installing solar and want your project to include American-made solar panels, you may have to talk to a few installers. You can use the EnergySage Solar Marketplace to compare quotes from pre-vetted installers local to you. If you’re interested in getting quotes with American-made solar panels, you can simply enter that information into your account preferences when you register.