The manufacturer of the solar panels on Boeing's roof in North Charleston filed for bankruptcy last week, but if the airframer or SCE&G are concerned about warranties on the thousands of panels that are supposed to run for decades, they're not saying.
Boeing, which hopes to get as much as 20 percent of its plant's power from the sun, is paying South Carolina Electric & Gas for the installation cost over the course of 20 years. But if anything goes awry in the wake of Michigan-based Energy Conversion Devices' and subsidiary United Solar Ovonic's bankruptcies, it seems to be on the local utility company, which owns and maintains the 18,000 panels.
"We have every confidence that our partner, SCE&G, will continue to support project requirements to maintain Boeing South Carolina's 100 percent renewable energy status," Boeing spokeswoman Candy Eslinger said in a statement.
Bob Long, general manager of resource planning for SCE&G parent SCANA Corp., confirmed that confidence, but said it won't come to that.
"There's a proven performance with the product, Uni-Solar will find itself making more in the future, it's very appropriate for rooftops like this, we have spares, we have surplus, and we have great belief that not only will the solar perform well but the commitment for a 100 percent renewable site at Boeing will be fulfilled by SCE&G," he said.
The 2.6 megawatt installation, which went live late last year, is one of the largest in the United States. Neither Boeing nor SCE&G has said how much it cost, but industry analysts estimate the cost ran to eight figures.
Spares aside, I bet Boeing, and especially SCE&G, will be keeping a sharp eye on the planned sale of Uni-Solar. Sunglasses are optional.
Reach Brendan Kearney at 937-5906 and follow him at twitter.com/kearney_ brendan.