Shining a light on Sharp Solar

Down in Memphis, Tennessee, Sharp Solar and its 385 union workers are bringing good manufacturing jobs back to the United States, all while providing residential, commercial, and utility customers access to clean energy. The company assembles solar panels with the partnership of its skilled employees and their union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW).

At a time when many jobs are being shipped overseas, Sharp sees the value of manufacturing here at home. In 2003, Sharp Corporation capitalized on the expanding U.S. solar energy market by bringing solar panel production to Memphis. The company re-tooled one of its television manufacturing plants, hiring many of the same workers and continuing its relationship with the IBEW, which has represented Sharp’s Memphis workers since 1983. The company has provided solar modules for many large-scale solar projects, including those at Google and Denver International Airport, and produces enough solar panels every year to power more than 16,000 homes. All that good work is getting the company noticed. Sharp has received awards for its environmental leadership from Energy Star, the EPA, and the U.S. General Services Administration.

Now one of the world’s fastest-growing renewable energy companies, Sharp attributes its growth to its strong relationship with its workers’ union. Management and the union meet monthly to discuss workplace issues, and have together improved manufacturing capability by investing in plant equipment and technology. As solar division Vice President Ron Kenedi puts it,

Who says working with unions is unproductive or unprofitable: look at our growth!

Customers seek out Sharp products because they are quality products made in the USA by proud union members. The National Photovoltaic Construction Project (NPCP) uses Sharp Solar products exclusively, because Sharp’s Memphis facility can deliver a product more quickly than an overseas factory and, as NPCP’s managing director puts it, “An experienced crew of unionized workers will outperform non-union day laborers any day of the week.” For this renewable energy leader, environmental sustainability, workers’ rights, and business success go hand in hand.

Check out the rest of our Labor Day List here.

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This entry was posted on Thursday, September 9th, 2010 at 4:05 pm and is filed under General, Jobs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

One Response to “Shining a light on Sharp Solar”

  1. Laurel Gaud says:

    Well, I have just two things to comment about today. Firstly. my adventure with magellan began Oct. 15th and ends today. Everything I owned with the magellan name on it has been sold and is no longer on my property. What a relief to be rid of it all! Secondly, I’d like to thank Ben for this website. Without it I would have had to face magellan alone with no knowledge of just how pitiful they truly are and probably would have never seen my gps again. As they say here in good ol’ Tennessee, “You’re the man!”. Hopefully all of you will resolve your beef with them to your satisfaction as well. Now I’ve got to decide between a Garmin and the new Bushnell that has live weather radar via XM satellite. By the way both of these companys’ customer service departments are here in the US. So magellan did actually teach me something. Best of luck to everybody!

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