SAN JOSE — GAF Energy, a maker of integrated rooftop solar systems, has decided to shift its manufacturing operations — from Asia to San Jose — creating hundreds of new jobs in the South Bay.
The company has leased about 112,000 square feet at 5981 Optical Court in south San Jose, according to information provided by GAF Energy and the city of San Jose.
“We’re extremely excited to have found a home for our first combination R&D and manufacturing facility,” said Martin DeBono, president of GAF Energy.
The facility will employ about 400 people in manufacturing, engineering, and research, according to the company.
GAF Energy is a subsidiary of Standard Industries, a 140-year-old manufacturing company whose origins date back to 1886 when Standard Paint Co. was founded. GAF Energy also is a sibling company of GAF, which is a roofing company.
As a result of these corporate connections, GAF Energy believes it can tap both the industrial and manufacturing expertise of New York City-based Standard Industries as well as the roofing know-how of GAF.
“Driving the next generation of solar innovation is a top priority for our business,” Standard Industries said in a prepared release. “We’re proud to be making this investment here in the U.S.”
GAF Energy solar components manufacturing and research center at 5981 Optical Ct. in south San Jose. GAF Energy
GAF Energy is undertaking interior improvements at the Optical Court building, which once was the location of Jabil Wolfe manufacturing operations, according to city officials.
“The buildout of the property and its ongoing operations will result in hundreds of U.S.-based, clean energy manufacturing jobs and a solar roof product that is made in America,” according to GAF Energy.
The new complex is expected to be capable of producing about 50 megawatts of solar panels a year, the company said.
GAF Energy at present undertakes manufacturing in South Korea and the United States. It’s unusual for a solar components maker to shift its factory operations from Asia to a prohibitively expensive locale such as California.
The company hopes to save money by locating both research and manufacturing in the same large building.
GAF Energy aims to open the new solar production center by the end of 2021, the company said.
“With this facility, GAF Energy is advancing our vision of an integrated product that’s attractive, affordable, reliable, and easily installed, so that every new roof has the option to generate solar power,” the company and its owner, Standard Industries said.
California has lost 78,000 manufacturing jobs, or a 5.9% decline, during the 13 months of coronavirus-linked employment losses.
Despite the brutal government-orchestrated obstacles to manufacturing in California, GAF Energy believes it can make a go of it with the new solar products factory and research center.
“The co-location of R&D and manufacturing is a huge benefit for the scientists pushing the envelope on what’s possible for the product, and the engineers responsible for rolling it off the line,” DeBono said.
Originally Appeared On: https://www.mercurynews.com/2021/05/11/solar-maker-hundreds-jobs-san-jose-green-energy-economy-real-estate/