A small solar power company hopes to become a winner in a market littered with losers.
San Jose, Calif.-based SoloPower is opening a $60 million manufacturing facility in Portland, Ore., Thursday as it works toward receiving a major government loan — like the one given to now-bankrupt Solyndra. SoloPower thinks it has a strategy to succeed where Solyndra failed.
SoloPower makes a niche product in a highly competitive market. It's a lightweight and flexible solar panel, uniquely designed for commercial and industrial rooftops that can't bear the weight of the older, heavy traditional modules, says CEO Tim Harris.
"Customers really like our product," he says. "They like the fact that we understand how to design it for the lowest cost of installation."
SoloPower has to get its Portland plant up and running, and meet other undisclosed benchmarks before it can tap into a Department of Energy loan of $197 million. If all goes as planned, that will happen within a year.