Solar brightens dreary day

It’s cloudy and rainy in Chicago, but the solar market seems to be getting brighter for at least one EMS company. Last week, Flextronics said it will build Petra Solar’s SunWave smart energy modules, adding momentum to trend that’s predicted to become a hot market for the EMS industry.

Petra, a startup founded in 2006 makes a module that generates power and provides communications. Flextronics will help it address a global market.

That’s not the first solar win for Flextronics, which established its solar operations in 2008. SunPower Corp. also tapped the EMS giant earlier this year, saying Flextronics will produce 75 megawatts worth of SunPower solar panels annually.

Industry analysts at iSuppli Corp. predict that the link between solar production and EMS suppliers will become quite strong. Contract manufacturers will make 1.1 Gigawatts worth of solar panels this year, up 200 percent from 369 Megawatts in 2009. By 2014, contract manufacturing of solar panels will nearly quadruple, rising to 4.1GW, according to iSuppli.

iSuppli analyst Greg Sheppard expects a boom that’s similar to the takeoff in the 1990s when electronics suppliers began outsourcing. Whether it’s sunny or rainy, that’s a trend worth paying attention to.

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