A Look Behind the Panel: A Tour of Zamp Solar


Last Fall, we found ourselves traveling through Bend, Oregon, when we realized…

Hey – isn’t this where Zamp Solar is?

Being the “anything-RV-related nerd” I am, we reached out to Zamp and asked if we could swing by.  I have to admit, I sort of wondered whether their facility might be nothing more than an office or warehouse for managing shipments of Chinese made solar panels, with maybe a small service department.

Imagine how delighted we were to find that Zamp actually manufactures their solar panels themselves, right here in the good old USA!  Heck Yeah!!  Besides getting a little work done on our own solar setup, we got a factory tour from one of their engineering staff.  Watch the video to get a behind-the-scenes look at how these solar panels are made.

 

 

I won’t pretend to be an expert on solar panel manufacturing after our one visit, but I will tell you a couple things that stood out to us from this tour.

1.  They do everything practical here in the US.

Besides actually assembling the panels in Oregon, Zamp tries to source as much of the material as they can locally.  Their aluminum extrusions, for example, come from Portland, and some of their solar cells are also locally sourced.  I don’t know how they can do it and be competitive with foreign manufactured panels that come over by the thousands in shipping containers… but I’m glad they’ve figured it out.

2.  They take pride in their work.

Each of their solar panels are signed by the people who made them.  Who does that anymore?!  It’s a small thing maybe, but heck – I only put my name on things I think I can be proud of.  I’d bet other folks are like that, too.

3.  We really like Dutch Bros. coffee.

OK, that has nothing at all to do with Zamp, and more to do with my coffee addiction.  Nonetheless, if you’re out RVing and you happen to see a Dutch Bros. Coffee like the ones we visited in Bend- stop by to try it out.  You won’t regret it.

Anyways, hope you’ll take a look at the video and see Zamp’s manufacturing process for yourself. We thank Zamp for the hospitality, and for taking the time to give us an impromptu tour! Stef was especially excited for the newest sticker she got to add to her collection:

 

Feel free to leave comments or questions in the comments below, and happy travels, all!



James is a former rocket scientist, a USA Cycling coach, and lifelong fitness buff. When he's not driving the RV, or modifying the RV (or - that one time - doing both at once), you can find him racing bicycles, or building furniture, or making music. In his spare time, he works for a large IT company.


    4 thoughts on “A Look Behind the Panel: A Tour of Zamp Solar

    1. Paul McPhillips

      We were in Bend last fall for the xscapers convergence, we tried to go see the Zamp factory, as many of us use these panels, either roof mounted, or ground deployed. (we use both) we could not get in. Instead, we visited flyte camp trailers. what a cool shop they have, if you get a chance to be in the area again, it’s worth a stop. http://www.flytecamp.com. And yes Dutch Bros is 300% better than Sbucks IMHO

      Reply
    2. Marilyn L Forestell

      Hi, I’m just wondering if you’ve ever seen van lifers using their door panels for storage? I have a Promaster and it seems there could be about 3″ of room if you remove the panels. Thanks!

      Reply
      1. James - Post author

        Yes, we’ve seen it. You have to be careful storing things in there – there are mechanical parts that allow the doors to lock and latch in there.
        There’s a little room there, but not a ton. It’s never seemed important or necessary enough for me to pursue it.
        Best solution I ever saw that way relied on magnets to take the panels off and on easily.

        Reply

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