CEO Rob Bushman and President Eric Baldwin
CEO Rob Bushman told the Business Times in a March interview.Â "We're recycling for the solar industry."Â Bushman started the firm in 1996 after owning and operating a scrap metal business where he realized that silicon was simply being tossed into landfills "I jrot my start because Siemens solar was just throwing this stuff away," he said at the company's old 20,000 square-foot facility in Camarillo.Â Solarsilicon has since outgrown that facility and is making the move over to its new 90.000-squarefoot headquarters at 2433 Eastman Ave. in Ventura .Â It will invest between $3 million and $5million in the property, which it will use as an incubator for refining its siliconcleaning process, its executives said.
The firm hopes to be able to produce silicon soon at a high enough grade for the semiconductor industry to use.Â The
company had 50 employees by 2006, when Bushman
sold it Ersol
, which was later acquired by tech conglomerate Bosch.Â Â In
Bushman and company President Eric Baldwin bought the firm back.
has no clients in the stale, Bushman
said, and most of its scrap metal comes from outside the state or even overseas, but Bushman
made a lifestyle choice tn stay in theregion.
"You've got to pay that heavy weather tax if you want to stay here," he
Over the years, Solarsilicon
has seen the solar industry take off, in the U.S. and abroad Countries such as Germany are light years ahead of the United States in terms of solar-energy development, Bushman
"While the US solar industry has grown substantially over the past few years, both Europe and Asia have dramatically outpaced that growth rate.
The solar industry remains in its infancy and should experience enormous growth over the next 10 to 20 years," he
said in a recent email "SRS
will have expanded international operations in key markets around the world over the next few years."Â An additional facility in
the US "makes good sense,"he
"We are being driven by our customers to support growing efforts overseas, primarily in Asia "But he
also sees that as an opportunity for growth, as solar remains a part of the US.' continued push to find better renewable energy sources.Â Â "We see a verybright future or we wouldn't have invested in this facility," he
We wanted to stay in Southern California and city officials there made it easy with the transition," said Robert Bushman, SRS founder and CEO.
Mike Tingus, president of Lee & Associates, said that Bushman was his first client when Tingus began in the commercial real estate business more than 20 years ago.
SRS began when Bushman was co-owner of a scrap metal company, and got the idea for SRS when he noticed a customer was throwing away silicon.
Bushman began experimenting with processes to clean and reuse silicon and founded SRS in 1996.
The company had 50 employees by 2006, when he
sold it to Ersol
, later acquired by global technology conglomerate Bosch.
In March 2010, Bushman, along with SRS President Eric Baldwin, bought the company back.
"Our business is heavily influenced by the price of polysilicon on the commodities market, and it requires an entrepreneurial approach," Bushman
"We saw that under its former ownership the company was not able to adapt to market fluctuations as quickly as needed, and we were concerned about the future for the business and our employees, so we bought it back," he
Since March, the company has grown from 43 employees to 70.
said it has also has been operating its 20,000-square-foot Camarillo facility on a 24-hour, six-day-a-week schedule to meet the demand for its products since September.
"We ran out of room.
We ran out of power and we ran out of parking," Bushman
said that more room in the new 13,000-square-foot, two-story facility and the ability to hire more employees to do everything from administrative to labor work allows the company to have a shorter work shift than it currently operates.
said the facility also gives the company the ability to upgrade its processes and sell in a much larger market.
said the company has begun development on another process for cleaning silicon, but wouldn't discuss it because it's proprietary information.
said the company will begin operations in its new Ventura facility in May, but will run both the new facility and the Camarillo plant until the end of the year.
said once the Ventura facility is operational, it will become a flagship for the company's expansion throughout the Pacific Northwest, Midwest, and Europe.
"We deal with most of the major solar manufacturers and polysilicon manufacturers and we have zero customers in California," Bushman
A Management Buyout is completed by Robert Bushman
and Eric Baldwin and the company is renamed Solarsilicon Recycling Services, LLC.