SolarWorld Solar Panels Power Largest U.S. Solar-Equipped Affordable Housing Project

SolarWorld solar panels supply power to the Guadalupe Ranch Acres complex in Santa Maria, Calif., and 20 other affordable housing sites in Santa Barbara County. (Photo courtesy of Planet Solar.)

CAMARILLO, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–A solar installation believed to be the nation’s largest for a government-sponsored affordable housing project features high-performance photovoltaic panels from SolarWorld, the largest U.S. solar manufacturer for more than 35 years. The 2-megawatt project owned and operated by the Housing Authority of the County of Santa Barbara (HACSB) will bring the energy- and cost-saving benefits of solar technology to more than 1,000 low-income families in the California county.

“HACSB is a recognized industry leader in its approach to affordable housing and the first to embark on a project of this magnitude. We are pleased HACSB trusted Planet Solar and SolarWorld to pioneer this together.”

HACSB will unveil the project today at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the L.C. Grossman Homes complex in Goleta, a community just north of the city of Santa Barbara. The ambitious solar installation encompasses 21 sites around the county, 250 separate structures, five municipal permitting jurisdictions and three utilities. All told, more than 7,200 SolarWorld panels will offset 100 percent of the energy consumption of 863 units of affordable housing, including both tenant and common areas, and trim power costs for both HACSB and residents.

“SolarWorld is heartened to be part of a project that delivers the benefits of solar technology to low-income members of our community,” said Kevin Kilkelly, president of SolarWorld Americas. “Universally applicable, solar power holds the promise of putting clean, affordable energy in the hands of everyone everywhere.”

SolarWorld installer Planet Solar, headquartered in Santa Barbara, handled the installation. Planet Solar is a solar integrator that employs 30 people nationwide. Both SolarWorld and Planet Solar maintain major operational hubs in Southern California. SolarWorld employs about 250 people at its Camarillo, Calif. facility, where it has operated a solar-panel manufacturing site since the late 1970s. It also employs more than 1,000 workers at its American manufacturing headquarters in Hillsboro, Ore.

The HACSB project is the latest in a series of affordable housing projects to feature SolarWorld panels. In 2010, SolarWorld and Planet Solar collaborated on a 100-kilowatt system for the Housing Authority of the City of Santa Barbara. The system was the first multi-family affordable housing project involving solar in Southern California Edison’s service territory. SolarWorld’s solar panels also supply power to low-income housing projects nationwide, from Tampa, Fla., to Sacramento, Calif.

“We are honored to have been selected by HACSB to perform this unprecedented project in our community based on our prior track record in affordable housing,” said Paul Metzner, chief operating officer of Planet Solar. “HACSB is a recognized industry leader in its approach to affordable housing and the first to embark on a project of this magnitude. We are pleased HACSB trusted Planet Solar and SolarWorld to pioneer this together.”

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A high-resolution, downloadable photo is available here.

About SolarWorld (

SolarWorld is a worldwide leader in offering brand-name, high quality, crystalline solar-power technology. Its strength is its fully integrated solar production. From silicon as the raw material through wafers, cells and modules all the way to turn-key solar systems of all sizes, the group combines all stages of the solar value chain. The central business activity is selling quality modules into the installation and distribution trades and crystalline wafers to the international solar cell industry. Group headquarters are located in Bonn, Germany. The group’s largest production facilities operate in Freiberg, Germany, and Hillsboro in the U.S. state of Oregon. Sustainability is the basis of the group strategy. Under the name Solar2World, the group supports care projects using off-grid solar-power solutions in developing countries, exemplifying sustainable economic development. Worldwide, SolarWorld employs more than 3,800 people. SolarWorld AG has been quoted on the stock exchange since 1999 and today is listed on, among others, the TecDAX and ÖkoDAX as well as in the sustainability index NAI.

About Planet Solar (

Planet Solar is one of the fastest-growing solar design and integration companies in the United States. Headquartered in Santa Barbara, Calif., Planet Solar has offices throughout the state and regionally across the country. Serving all major market segments, Planet Solar specializes in high-quality, customized solutions for complex and multisite commercial and governmental projects. Planet Solar is recognized as one of the largest affordable housing solar integrators in the nation and for its understanding of complex funding, logistical and design requirements of this large and growing market segment.

Media Contact: Devon Cichoski, Media Relations Manager, SolarWorld Americas, 4650 Adohr Ln., Camarillo, CA 93012; Mobile: 805-377-2905; Office: 805-388-6388;

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