The Solyndra solar panel manufacturing facility in Fremont, California involved two buildings that were designed and constructed at a record pace in 2009 – 2010. Construction for the Front End facility, called Fab 2, began within 16 weeks of the start of design and the building was ready for tool installation ten months later. The 600,000 square-foot building, includes manufacturing and interstitial space, along with a two-story utility pad and hazmat area. The building achieved the 300 MW production goal and was designed by Degenkolb to meet the company’s seismic performance goal of immediate occupancy, as well as LEED Silver rating. The lateral force resisting system was comprised of buckling restrained braced frames. Degenkolb worked in a highly collaborative manner with the owner, with the general contractor (Rudolph and Sletten), the prime design consultant (CH2M Hill) and the architect (Studios) using Lean design principles to achieve the successful result.
The Back End facility utilized an existing 500,000 square-foot building, formerly a computer technology facility, located two blocks from the Front End. In the planning stage, Degenkolb provided the owner with a series of seismic upgrade options tied to seismic performance and construction cost, and a Damage Control performance level (midway between Life Safety and Immediate Occupancy) was selected. In less than 10 months, both the design and construction of the facility were complete. In addition to the building upgrade, various production-related components were added, such as utility racks and tank farms, and existing nonstructural components were completed. The project was delivered within the original target value budget, on schedule, and without compromise to stringent solar panel requirements. The project utilized a design-build delivery method, with the design team working as sub-consultants to the general contractor, Rudolph and Sletten, and engineering consultants coordinated by the architect, CAS.