Case Study: SolAero Technologies

14 Feb, 2018

SolAero is a homegrown company started in 1997 with technology from Sandia National Laboratories.  In 2017, SolAero Technologies moved manufacturing operations from California to Albuquerque with the help of JTIP. It is the parent company of Alliance Spacesystems and one of the world's leading manufacturers of highly efficient radiation hard solar cells, Coverglass Interconnectied Cells (CICs), and solar panels for space applications.  In 1998 the company developed and commercialized a 23% efficient dual-junction solar cell in 12 months.  In SolAero's first three years it drove the displacement of silicon solar cells as the primary source of space power after it had been in continuous use since 1958.  SolAero currently manufactures 300,000 flight solar cells annually.  SolAero products currently power more than 320 satellites in orbit.  Approximately 1,000 more satellites are scheduled to launch in the next few years.

This expansion project is a result of a contract with OneWeb Satellites, which will be a constellation of low earth orbit (LEO) satellites.  The constellation will be a global gateway to affordable internet access worldwide. 

SolAero has facilities located in Los Alamitos and San Diego, California, and Albuquerque.

About the Albuquerque Facility

  • World's largest space solar cell production line
  • 12,000 m^2 Cleanroom Facility
  • Production capacity of  ˃500 kWe per year for space missions
  • Solar panel facility is a Class 10,000 cleanroom with 7 meter high ceilings and houses our LAPSS, TVAC, LED Solar Simulator and other ATP/QTP facilities

About the Expansion

  • 100 new high-tech jobs
  • $10 million private investment
  • 40,000 square foot building renovation creating a vertically integrated solar panel manufacturing facility

Economic Development Toolbox

  • JTIP commitment of $182,090 for new employee training

    More about SolAero
SolAero Technologies
"Without powerful incentives like LEDA and JTIP, and a multitude of strong tax incentives, an expansion of this scale would not be possible."
Dr. Brad Clevenger, CEO
New Mexico is first in Non-industry Investment in Research & Development. (2014 State New Economy Index)
9th in High Tech Jobs (2014 State New Economy Index)
Thanks to JTIP, New Mexico is ranked 5th in Workforce Training Leaders. (Business Facilities’ 12th Annual State Rankings Report, 2016)
Since 2001, SolAero products have powered 170 successful space missions with zero on-orbit failures.

New Mexico’s electricity prices are very competitive.  The average industrial price for a kWh is 19% less than the U.S. average. (EIA, 2017)

In 2014 Ernst & Young found that New Mexico has the best tax climate in the West for manufacturers.