SolarWorld has been a key innovator and world leader in the production of high quality solar power technology, with a strong emphasis in research and development. Founded in 1988, and headquartered in Bonn, Germany, SolarWorld currently operates the largest solar cell manufacturing facilities in the United States. Chief Executive Officer and Engineer Frank Asbeck took the company public in August of 1999, and is publicly held and traded on the Xetra and Frankfurt stock exchanges. Shell has since divested its crystalline silicon market to SolarWorld, allowing the company to be represented at all stages of the production chain, combining industrial activities ranging from the raw material of silicon to fully assembled power plants.
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SolarWorld proudly claims the award for Germany's most sustainable production business in 2008. In April of 2011, The Silicon Valley Toxics Coalition released their annual Solar Scorecard and awarded SolarWorld with this year's highest rating. The Coalition rates companies on practices in four categories: recycling, green jobs, toxics, and disclosure. SolarWorld AG group has always been strongly oriented towards high quality, efficiency, and sustainability. The company's sustainable practices also include recycling programs for used modules.
Under the name Solar2World, the group supports humanitarian projects using off-grid photovoltaic solutions in developing countries, exemplifying sustainable economic development. As of January of 2011, SolarWorld had more than 3,600 employees worldwide. When the Hillsboro facility reaches full production, the group will provide about 1,000 new "green jobs" in the United States.
SolarWorld is the first company to offer a 25-year linear performance guarantee. Modules are guaranteed to produce at least 90 percent of the nameplate power, as opposed to the tiered industry standard guarantee of 90 and 80 percent. SolarWorlds Plus-Sorting method guarantees that SunModules™ meet or exceed their nameplate standard and ensures seamless integration, and reliability when piecing together extensive systems. SolarWorld's attention to detail and high quality workmanship is clearly evident on tests conducted by Photon magazine, in which SolarWorld panels outperformed all other major competitors for the last two years, in real world conditions.