Kyocera hits 2 million solar panels in North America

Kyocera Solar manufactures 2 million panels in North AmericaIt took Kyocera Solar five years to produce its first 1 million solar modules in its two North American plants.

The second million only took three years, said Cecilia Aguillon, director of media relations and government affairs for Kyocera.

"I don't know how long the next million will take," Aguillon said. "But I'd like to say a year to a year and a half."

The company recently announced that it reached a milestone -- 2 million solar modules manufactured at its plants in Mexico and San Diego, Calif.  Kyocera opened its Mexican plant in 2004 and the California facility in 2010.

"It's important for us to be close to our market," Aguillon said. "And we believe the U.S. is going to become one of the biggest solar markets in the world."

Despite relatively low electricity costs and a struggling economy, the United States has seen demand for solar installations skyrocket. There are even places where people are installing solar without any extra government incentives or utility rebates, Aguillon said.

The U.S. market is predicted to grow by gigawatts in the coming years and Kyocera is ready with local supply.

The Japanese company has been producing solar panels for more than 30 years. It's diversified in product lines and in locations. "We're truly a global company," Aguillon said.

Having manufacturing facilities spread throughout the world enables Kyocera to respond to need and market changes more quickly, Aguillon said.

It also gives clients the option of buying Made in The USA solar panels. Not all clients are looking for that. Many want cost-effectiveness over patriotism. But there is definitely demand for the U.S.-made panels.

Aguillon said she expects that demand will continue to grow and the company will be able to ramp up production and gain greater cost advantages over time.

"We see solar not as a boom and bust industry," Aguillon said. "I see it changing the way we think about energy. Distributed rooftop energy generation like solar will change the way people think about energy the way cell phones changed the way people thought about communication."

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