ABQ solar industry firm to be acquired in $80M deal - Albuquerque Journal

ABQ solar industry firm to be acquired in $80M deal

Workers in one of the cleanrooms at SolAero Technologies in Albuquerque on May 26, 2017. The company is set to be acquired by California-based Rocket Lab USA, Inc. (Jim Thompson/Albuquerque Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SolAero Technologies Corp., an Albuquerque-based company that manufactures solar cells and panels for spacecraft, will be acquired by an out-of-state company for $80 million.

Rocket Lab USA Inc., a space technology company based in Long Beach, California, announced the planned acquisition of SolAero Holdings Inc. on Monday. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

In a conference call with investors on Monday, Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck said SolAero’s expertise in solar technology and connections within the space industry will make it a good fit for the California company’s network of space technology businesses.

“Honestly, we feel privileged to be able to bring the collective capabilities of SolAero’s intellectual property and 425 employees into the Rocket Lab family,” Beck said during the conference call.

Meanwhile, SolAero president and CEO Brad Clevenger told the Journal that he expects the deal to provide the Albuquerque manufacturer with the resources needed to scale up its production capacity and meet the demands of the growing space industry.

“What Rocket Lab has done effectively is scale the businesses they’ve acquired,” Clevenger said.

Originally part of communications technology firm Emcore Corp., SolAero became a standalone company in 2014 after buying Emcore’s solar space division, according to previous Journal reporting. Beck said products made by SolAero have powered more than 1,000 satellites over the past two decades.

Clevenger added that SolAero is one of just two companies manufacturing space-grade solar cells in the United States, and said there will be a greater need for the technology as the industry grows. He cited industry projections showing that the commercial space industry could quadruple in size by 2030.

Following an initial public offering earlier this year, Clevenger said Rocket Lab has the financial resources to grow to meet the market demand. He declined to provide a potential job total associated with the acquisition, but said scaling up capacity would require additional growth.

Clevenger confirmed that he will be staying onboard in his current role, and said SolAero is planning to maintain its presence in Albuquerque. He added that the acquisition speaks to New Mexico’s depth of space industry talent in the private and public sectors.

“There’s an environment here that’s drawing companies like Rocket Lab,” Clevenger said. And I think when it does that, it … grows the space sector’s footprint, which is going to attract more companies.”

During the conference call, Beck referred to SolAero’s 156,000-square-foot manufacturing center in Albuquerque as an “impressive manufacturing footprint in one of the most space tech-talent-rich locations in the world.”

“Albuquerque is home to a great number of space-related businesses, as well as broader technology manufacturing companies, which we believe will serve as a great talent location to further scale and support the broader Rocket Lab development,” Beck said.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » ABQ solar industry firm to be acquired in $80M deal


Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

1
Oil worker charged in killing of best friend
ABQnews Seeker
Man allegedly shot victim following a ... Man allegedly shot victim following a dispute over religion at a cookout
2
Brazos resident is charged in killing of neighbor
ABQnews Seeker
Suspect and victim have a history ... Suspect and victim have a history of prior dispute
3
Sandia workers raise $100K for fire aid
ABQnews Seeker
Employees pitch in to help people ... Employees pitch in to help people impacted by fires in NM
4
Annual evaluation for APS superintendent underway
ABQnews Seeker
Board members will decide in June ... Board members will decide in June whether to update Scott Elder's contract
5
Hot, smoky weather for the city this week
ABQnews Seeker
Winds in ABQ are expected to ... Winds in ABQ are expected to pick up again on Thursday
6
Governor estimates over 1,000 structures lost in blaze
ABQnews Seeker
Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire nears 300,000 ... Calf Canyon/Hermits Peak Fire nears 300,000 acres burned
7
Settlement reached in archdiocese bankruptcy case
ABQnews Seeker
Representatives agree on a $121.5M fund ... Representatives agree on a $121.5M fund to compensate survivors of sexual abuse
8
Santa Fe, Carson national forests closing to the public
ABQnews Seeker
Portions of Cibola Forest are also ... Portions of Cibola Forest are also closing, but the tram remains open
9
Jurors find teen guilty of murder in shooting death ...
ABQnews Seeker
Claim of self-defense during fight at ... Claim of self-defense during fight at party near Santa Fe was rejected