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Solon is back–and with it, the ambition of offering superior PV products

The German photovoltaic manufacturer was once a trademark for German quality. After two bankruptcies, it is again active in Europe, primarily in the commercial and industrial rooftop segment. It sticks to the same philosophy: to offer superior solar solutions.

From pv magazine Germany

Founded in 1996 and known worldwide, Solon AG can boast of being one of the first module manufacturers in Germany and the world. Two years later, the company was listed on the German stock market and acquired the Berlin-based manufacturer Solarwerk. The company’s founder, Lars Podlowski, then took over the management of module production at Solon, a position he held until 2002, when Solarwerk merged with the distributor Energie Biss to form Solon Photovoltaik GmbH, the first subsidiary of Solon AG to focus on photovoltaics. Podlowski put his stamp on Solon for quality and innovation and went from head of research and development (2002-2005) to chief technology officer of Solon SE, which had some golden years.

At the end of 2011, Solon filed for bankruptcy in a horror year for the solar industry in which companies such as Solyndra and Q-Cells (founded by former Solon board members and taken over by the Korean conglomerate Hanwha in 2012) went bankrupt.

The Indian cell manufacturer Microsol International, based in the United Arab Emirates and at the time a supplier of Solon, took over the company and the subsidiaries in the USA and Italy in 2012, and the group was renamed Solon Energy GmbH. At the Intersolar 2012 trade fair in Munich, Solon Energy GmbH was “one of the first providers” to present an energy storage system for residential clients. Two years later, Solon Energy stopped production in Berlin and, in September 2014, the company’s German subsidiaries again filed for bankruptcy.

From 2020, however, Solon was present in Europe again. pv magazine has asked the new company whether the “new” Solon is related to the former German group or whether the new owners have just revived the brand. “We believe that Solon’s withdrawal from the European market in 2015 left a gap that we want to fill,” said Ramona Storck, a member of the management team of the new photovoltaic company, alongside Podlowski. “Over the years, Solon has developed numerous innovations that made the company unique. Since 2018, a team of former Solon R&D staff has been developing new products that we are now bringing to market, and we will continue to develop novel proposals that rely on the quality that made us famous,” she added.

In order to restart the company in Europe, former Solon employees including Podlowski and the then-sales manager for the DACH region (Germany, Austria and Switzerland) Storck, founded a new company, Solyco Solar AG, the parent company of the new Solon in Europe, whose name should avoid confusion with the still existing “Solon” companies in the USA and India. In the current corporate structure, Solyco Technologie GmbH is responsible for research and development and Solyco Solar AG for sales and marketing, as well as supply chain management.

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“Solyco Technology GmbH has been around for a long time. It is a former Solon research and development company that was taken over by Lars Podlowski in 2012 and has been active as a sales company since last year,” explained Storck. “All the people who were involved in building up the company come from the former Solon environment, which was also an incentive to revive the old name,” she stated.

The new Solon is active in Europe and focuses primarily on the residential, commercial and industrial segments. “The brand stands for high-quality photovoltaic products, both modules and systems,” explained Storck, adding that the company has new products in the pipeline that she can’t reveal yet.

Solon currently does not have its own production facilities but, rather, carefully selects the suppliers of all components–from the cell to the glass to the EVA–and prescribe what should be used. “The modules are manufactured in factories that we control,” Storck said.

Podlowski was most recently a member of the management of the engineering and consulting company Photovoltaik-Institut Berlin (PI Berlin), which specializes in production audits.

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Source: pv magazine