Accelerate Your Custom Solar Solutions with a US-based Manufacturer

Posted on 12/06/2023 at 10:09 by Seth Hansen


a robotic arm picking up a thin-film solar panel with text overlayed Accelerate Your Custom Solar Solutions with a US-based Manufacturer


If you’re looking for a custom solar solution, you may think starting overseas makes the most sense, as many items we use daily come from outside the United States.


While this is true for many items, there are solar solution providers in the US that can assist you.


In today’s post, we’ll explore the benefits of working with a US-based custom solar provider, which includes: 


  • Saving time and money
  • Removing timeshift communication roadblocks
  • Streamlining the design process 
  • Increased shipping speeds
  • Lower carbon footprint 
  • Fostering innovation
  • Quality warranty support and long-term assistance


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We’ll also explore a specific case study where PowerFilm leveraged US-based operations to meet a Low-Speed Vehicle (LSV) company's needs.


Working with a US-based solar manufacturer can save companies money.

A chart showing how much United States currency a company is saving illustrated by quarters

Many companies are looking for ways to reduce costs and improve their bottom line. Collaborating with a US supplier can do just that.


One compelling advantage of partnering with a US-based solar manufacturer is the potential for reduced shipping costs. You can avoid expensive shipping fees related to importing products from overseas by sourcing solar panels from a domestic supplier. Furthermore, US-based companies can offer quicker turnaround times, allowing you to get your solar solutions up and running faster.


Removing the time shift of working with overseas companies

An email on a laptop that was received with a digital clock in the background showing 2AM

One challenge of working with companies located overseas is the time shift. A 10-plus hour time difference (or more) can make communication inefficient. 


Partnering with a US-based solar panel manufacturer eliminates this time difference, ensuring smoother communication, faster response times, and a more efficient project timeline. This is particularly important during the design process, as timely feedback and collaboration are crucial for meeting project deadlines. 


Streamlines the design process for custom solutions

Team working on a project with notes scribbled on a white board

The design process for custom solar solutions can be complex and requires careful coordination between various stakeholders. They must work closely with engineers, project managers, and other team members to ensure seamless integration and optimal performance of the solar solution.


Local manufacturers have an advantage in being able to travel directly to customer sites to observe product integration and collaborate on necessary modifications. If you encounter any issues in your preliminary process and have a deadline to meet, a US-based supplier can quickly visit your location to assist. This flexibility and agility play a crucial role in ensuring the success of your solution. Physically meeting with your team, observing your process, and suggesting changes speed up the path from pilot runs to full-scale manufacturing.


Reduced shipping times

Shipping manager handing a box to a man in a delivery truck

Localized manufacturing reduces shipping times and associated costs. When you work with a US-based manufacturer, the solar panels are delivered more quickly than those offered by overseas manufacturers, saving time and reducing the risk of damage during transportation. Faster delivery means your project can move forward without unnecessary delays, allowing you to meet project deadlines. 


Faster deliveries also make companies more nimble. They can order smaller quantities, which frees up cash flow tied up in large amounts of unsold inventory and be proactive to their customer’s changing needs. 


Lower carbon footprint

a semi-truck driving on the road with a green leaf hovering above it

Working with a local manufacturer reduces the carbon footprint associated with transportation. Minimizing the distance the solar panels need to travel decreases greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to a more sustainable future.






Fosters domestic solar innovation

A group of coworkers brainstorming idea

Investing in the local economy significantly impacts the solar industry by fostering innovation and technological advancements. Supporting the local economy creates a favorable environment for businesses to thrive and grow, which drives the overall growth of the renewable energy sector. With this growth comes more competitive US solar solutions in the global market. Supporting the local economy is beneficial not only for the community but also for the United States.





Quality warranty support and long-term assistance.

A customer service person wearing a headset helping a customer with an issue they are having

Selecting a solar manufacturer that offers extensive warranties and support services is essential. US-based solar panel manufacturers can provide peace of mind to customers by ensuring that their investment is protected and their panels perform at their best for years to come. Many US-based solar manufacturers offer robust warranties and comprehensive support services that give customers peace of mind in case of any questions or issues. 


In addition to warranties, many solar panel manufacturers offer comprehensive support services to their customers. This can include technical support and repair services. Customers can pick up the phone and know that someone will answer and assist them.


To make things more concrete, let’s walk through one of PowerFilm’s recent custom solar design projects, where being US-based proved critical in ensuring the success of GEM’s solar redesign process.


Case Study: Custom solar solution for California-based LSV company GEM

A person driving a small electric vehicle

GEM, a leading LSV company based in Anaheim, CA, faced a significant challenge in 2022 when they sought to enhance the solar integration feature in their cars. At that time, they ordered solar panels from an overseas company. While panels technically worked, this off-the-shelf solution failed to meet their needs. Even more pressing was that they could no longer purchase the product due to supply chain issues. Under pressure to fulfill orders, GEM was determined to meet their deadline and design an effective solution tailored to their requirements.


GEM was on the hunt for a solar partner that could assist them in developing the next generation of panels for their vehicles. They needed a US partner who could design a custom solution for GEM and guarantee timely delivery of small prototype orders to large production orders. Fortunately, they found PowerFilm, which met all of their requirements. The teams began exploring the design and manufacturing phases, paving the way for a successful partnership.


GEM and PowerFilm collaborated closely over the following weeks and months, exploring the best options and approaches for designing a solar solution that perfectly fits GEM cars. With PowerFilm's manufacturing facility in the US, GEM quickly sent an e4 vehicle that helped PowerFilm create an initial prototype within days. This allowed for in-house testing of solar performance as the teams continued to refine the design.


Thanks to this collaboration, GEM cars are now equipped with a custom solar solution that meets the highest performance and sustainability standards. PowerFilm’s rapid prototyping capabilities, 35-plus years in the industry, and collaborative culture took an initial concept to a manufacturing-ready high-volume solution in six months.


Selecting the best custom solar provider for a project is crucial. 


Do you have a solar project? We would love to connect and discuss how we can meet your needs.


Contact us, and let's get started on your custom solution today.


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Categories: Solar Education