Information around the Seraphim Solar brand in the United States has always been a little confusing. Jiangsu Seraphim Solar System Co., Ltd. is a Chinese Tier 1 solar panel manufacturer with a global manufacturing capacity of 5 GW. The Chinese company has module and cell manufacturing locations in China and South Africa, and plans to expand module assembly into Vietnam and Indonesia. The company formed in 2011 and makes high-efficiency solar panels and recently entered the bifacial market.
Seraphim Solar USA Manufacturing, headquartered in Texas, set up a solar panel assembly plant in Jackson, Mississippi, sometime in the mid-2010s, and in 2017 was added to approved U.S. vendor lists by finance companies Sungage, Dividend and Sunnova. The company stated in news releases that it was a “U.S. owned and managed organization with exclusive territorial manufacturing, sales, and distribution of Seraphim Solar’s globally manufactured products for the Americas.” It initially started with a 160-MW plant before confirming to Solar Power World in 2017 that it would expand the facility by an additional 200 MW to accommodate production of its 72- and 60-cell modules. It was reported in October 2018 that the 160-MW Mississippi facility was being shut down to expand to a full 500 MW, but Solar Power World was never able to verify this claim, and you might understand why as we explain things below.
Just last week, Solar Power World was informed that Nevada-based company Seraphim Solar Holdings (SSH) is suing Seraphim Solar USA and all other known and unknown companies using the Seraphim name in the Americas. SSH claims in a press release that it executed a trademark and technology license agreement with the Chinese Seraphim Solar System Co. on Feb. 2, 2015, that granted SSH the exclusive right to license the Chinese “Seraphim” trademarks and products for sale and distribution throughout North, Central and South America. A-Society Marketing, which is representing SSH, has not returned our requests for further comment. The lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of California on July 15, 2019.
During our research process, we did find a number of lawsuits against the Texas/Mississippi manufacturing outfit Seraphim Solar USA Manufacturing.
IGS Solar sued Seraphim Solar USA in Ohio, Staten Solar Corporation sued in Mississippi, Spotts Brothers Inc. sued in Pennsylvania, and others have issued their own lawsuits. In these three specific cases, the solar installation companies pre-paid for modules from Seraphim Solar USA, insufficient panels were delivered (or no panels were delivered at all) and Seraphim alerted the companies in October 2018 that it was canceling the orders and did not have enough cash flow to return the invoiced amounts. The solar companies filed lawsuits in late 2018 or early 2019 on breach of contract.
So while Seraphim Solar USA was losing money and not making efficient and effective solar modules, it told one solar website that it was shutting down the company to expand even bigger. That doesn’t seem to be the case. Attempts to reach the Mississippi manufacturer were unsuccessful. Now a Nevada-based holding company that claims to have ownership on the Seraphim license in the Americas is suing Seraphim Solar USA (and anyone else trying to use the Seraphim name) on trademark infringement.
Solar Power World will continue to follow this story as it develops.