As a person who believes in shopping “local,” I feel there is more to making a purchase than just feeling like you have received the best price possible.
Our purchasing has power. It’s often a vote for what we believe in with every dollar we spend. All of us in the renewable energy and solar industry know the current market is flooded with low cost solar panel manufacturers looking to gain market share. There is nothing wrong with that. In fact, it may have even helped get more renewable energy systems installed, and ultimately, this is what’s truly important.
Although, when you have USA made equipment options that offer just as good a technology (and usually better) at a cost comparable to other non-USA made options, I personally believe you should choose USA made/local options. By doing so, you may be helping a neighbor or friend and decreasing the amount of fossil fuel it takes to ship the product across our great oceans. Additionally, when you take into account the cost of an entire system, choosing USA made doesn’t usually increase the cost of your installation very much, if at all.. In fact, it’s a great marketing idea for companies to offer USA made choices, since most of us believe in keeping our dollars local. Of course, one can argue from many different vantage points about the cost/benefits of USA vs. foreign made equipment. Many make it their life’s mission to be contradictory forces, but we can only rely upon ourselves to do the right thing. In the end, if we can support USA made products and still accomplish our renewable energy goals, then even better.
For those that don’t know each part of a system and which equipment to choose, I can offer many suggestions since I’ve been in the Solar distribution field now for over nine years. For panels, there are a lot to choose from that are made in the USA. Below are a couple of choices I have experience with working at altE. I can say that with all the choices out there, altE has picked a few to partner with that we feel provide the best level of technology and long term viability needed in this competitive and tumultuous market we’re currently in.
Quality USA made products with great technology and competitive pricing:
PV Manufacturers: SolarWorld and Kyocera (select models),
Combiners and BOS: Midnight, Outback Power and Wiley Electronics/Burndy Products
Racking: IronRidge, DPW
Off-Grid Inverters: Apollo Solar, Outback Power, Magnum Energy
Grid-tie Inverters: Solectria
Charge Controllers: Apollo Solar, Outback Power, and Blue Sky Energy
Batteries: Trojan and MK/Deka
Regardless of which manufacturer you buy from, if they have a solid brand name, build USA made equipment and are competitive in today’s marketplace, then you’ll have used your purchasing power to not only support your local Manufacturers, you’ll also have made your choice to do what’s right by sourcing what you need locally.