Rack ’em up! AET adapts auto technology to manufacture solar panel racks

Applied Energy Technologies (AET), headquartered outside Detroit in Clinton Township, Mich., is leveraging American ingenuity from the auto industry into a different sector: solar manufacturing.

Founded several years go by current president and CEO, Craig Winn, and his team of three engineers from the automotive industry, AET has grown rapidly. In only three years, the business has increased from just two employees to nearly 50.

The secret to AET’s success is in their manufacturing process, which employs precision techniques used in automotive manufacturing to make high-quality solar racking systems. These are the metal frames used to prop up solar panels either on the ground or on rooftops.

AET’s workforce includes many who were formerly employed in the auto industry, but lost their jobs during the recession. In 2012, AET doubled its production capacity by opening a new plant in Ohio.