Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Solar Panel Manufacturing Brings New Jobs to Bellingham

By Karen Robes Meeks

Itek Energy recently celebrated its new 48,000-square-foot solar panel manufacturing facility on Bellingham’s downtown waterfront, according to the Port of Bellingham.

The ribbon-cutting ceremony, which took place earlier this month, highlighted the $6 million project to turn a former pulp and tissue warehouse Itek bought from the port last year into a new plant.

Itek, which began production in 2011 in the Irongate neighborhood, will add about 30 more jobs to its current operations for a total of 125 positions based in downtown Bellingham.

“Itek Energy is a tremendous local success story,” said Port Commission President Dan Robbins. “The Port sold property to Itek to stimulate job growth and it’s wonderful to see all of the construction jobs this project is creating as well as new manufacturing opportunities for Whatcom County residents.”

Itek Founder and CEO John Flanagan said his company now has the capacity to generate up to 200 megawatts of highly efficient panels annually.

“Solar panel manufacturing has never been done to this scale in the State of Washington,” he said.

He also spoke of the product’s potential market growth.

“The US solar market had its biggest year ever in 2016, and is projected to nearly triple in size over the next five years,” said Flanagan.