New England Renewable Energy’s (NERE) solar panel assembly plant is now open for business, and the team has already hit the ground running. The new facility, located at Meriden Housing Authority’s workshop at 34 Maynard Street in Meriden, is being used for the team to assemble solar panel shingles which will be used for projects in the northeast. Gary and Marcus Allen of LUMA Resources came to Connecticut from Michigan to train the NERE crew on all stations of the “assembly line” and showed them what a proper finished product looks like. The emphasis was on quality rather than speed. It is the only plant in the northeast that can assemble these kinds of panels.
The decision was made to put solar shingles on the roofs of all the Meriden projects because they are more aesthetically pleasing than redoing a regular roof with shingles and standard solar panels, as well as the fact that the shingles will last for 40 -50 years. By opening this assembly plant, it will make it easier and more cost effective for anyone in the northeast to obtain these solar shingles, versus having them assembled and shipped from elsewhere. We can now provide a high-end product at a lower cost to clients. In addition, it can provide jobs. The NERE team did not have any prior experience with solar panel assembly and installation, and went through an extensive training process. It is our hope that once renewable energy becomes more prominent in the northeast, more jobs like this will be available.