Founded by John Flanagan in 2011, Itek Energy manufactures solar photovoltaic (PV) panels, or modules, and grid-tie inverters at its 48,000-square-foot plant in Bellingham.
A solar module is a lamination of 10 separate materials, including prismatic solar glass panels manufactured with ultra-low levels of iron to increase sunlight capture; thermal plastic to encapsulate a matrix of PV cells; and string wire that connects the cells electrically. In the top photograph, a “tab and string” machine precisely solders conductors to silicon cells. A layup robot, above right, positions strings of cells. Above left, a close-up of a high-power solar PV module.
Itek Energy employs 120 persons at the Bellingham plant and is one of the top five crystalline solar module producers in the United States. Its factory has the capacity to produce 120 megawatts of solar power — or roughly 400,000 solar modules — per year.
Scroll through bonus photos from the shoot at Itek Energy below, or click through the slideshow above. See more Made in Washington photo galleries here.