In August, Itek Energy, the only manufacturer of certified Made-in-Washington solar modules, announced they were being purchased by Canadian company Silfab Solar. What does this mean for homeowners and installers in Washington?
There have been rumors circulating about what’s happening at what was Itek’s factory in Bellingham and how this would impact solar installers and homeowners in Washington. I reached out to Silfab Solar to get some answers. I corresponded with Silfab executive Geoff Atkins, and I’m happy to be able to share his answers with you.
Are Itek modules still being made?
Silfab took possession of Itek’s assets on October 1st. Itek modules have not been produced since that date.
Is anything being made at the factory?
After taking possession, Silfab spent 15 days upgrading the factory to get ISO9001:2015 certification. During this time there was no module production.
Production started on October 16th of Silfab’s product line. Silfab’s products are premium solar modules very similar in design to Itek’s, so I expect these to be very comparable and suitable for anyone who was expecting to get Itek panels.
We wanted to evaluate the manufacturing process, upgrade and implement ISO 9001-2015 operating standards and modify the process so that we can stand behind any product manufactured in the Bellingham facility in order to provide our industry leading warranty.Geoff Atkins, Silfab Solar
Are Silfab’s modules “Made in Washington” certified?
Silfab obtained conditional “Made in Washington” approval for their modules on October 18th, so their modules will qualify for the higher levels of incentives provided by Washington’s Renewable Energy System Incentive Program that I wrote about before.
Will Silfab be able to meet the demand?
There’s a big demand for solar in Washington right now as installers rush to install systems before the January 31st deadline on the incentive program (as the program is reaching its $110 million total limit).
Other than the 15-day delay mentioned above, Silfab is committed to providing for the Washington solar market.
As of this week, Silfab is recording new levels of module production which will ensure that an even greater number of Made In Washington modules are available. In addition, Silfab has begun the plans and coordination to more than double the capacity of the facility. So we have essentially doubled the previous commitment and we are committed to the current and any future incentive that benefits solar growth in Washington.
Silfab is on a path to produce more higher efficiency, premium Washington Made modules than ever produced in the past.Geoff Atkins, Silfab Solar
Will Silfab honor Itek’s warranty?
No. The previous owners will still provide warranty services for Itek panels.
Silfab did not assume any responsibility for Itek warranty on modules produced prior to October 1 and it is our understanding that the previous owners will maintain an inventory for any warranty claimsGeoff Atkins, Silfab Solar
What kind of warranty does Silfab provide on their own products?
Silfab has an excellent warranty on their products. They recently announced that they have extended their manufacturing warranty to 25 years with a 30-year production warranty. Itek’s warranty was 12 years with a 25-year production warranty.
What can we expect from Silfab in the future?
I think we will see Silfab continue to enhance their modules to remain competitive, and to be involved in Washington politics to help us get the incentives extended.
Silfab is the largest manufacturer of PV modules operating in North America – we have a committed supply chain and a team dedicated to manufacturing high efficiency, premium quality modules and customer support.
I also want to point out that we are actively working with industry and political leaders to help extend the Washington incentive so that we can continue down the road for more solar in Washington.Geoff Atkins, Silfab Solar
If you have any comments or additional questions about the Silfab acquisition of Itek’s assets, feel free to use the comments section below, or stop by the Seattle Solar Homeowners Facebook group.