While hardly a major player in the solar industry, Monarch Power is adept at capturing headlines. Monarchs latest venture is a crowdfunding campaign it has launched to raise $5 million, with which it plans to build the first phase of a GW-scale manufacturing facility for its solar products and a Solar Wonderland amusement park.
Monarch sets out its plan on its Indiegogo campaign page. First it plans to build a 4,000 square foot, 200 MW manufacturing facility in Phoenix Arizona. It hopes to hire 20 staff this year.
Adjacent to the fab, Monarch plans to build a 3D video exhibition called the "Circle of Energy," where a video called "Whats the Matter with Energy?" will explain solar power, "in terms of the relationship among mater, energy, space and time." The Circle of Energy is scheduled for completion in early 2015.
Along with the video exhibition, Solar Man plans holographic and hands on exhibitions explaining "the 5 forces of nature: Electric, Magnetic, Gravitation, Weak and Strong." A Solar Lotus beer garden will await visitors, where solar cooked food will be provided and the range of Solar Lotus products will be displayed.
The most ambitious part of the Monarch plan is its second stage, in which it plans to build a 40,000 square foot PV fab, with six 200 MW production lines. The facility will employ 100 people.
The Solar Wonderland will sit alongside of the fab, and will feature a 80-foot Solar Pyramid, topped with a golden sun. The amusement park will have five rides, "Maglev Back to the Future," "Doctor Frankenstein in the Tesla Tower," "Alice in the Optics Wonderland and "The Heat is On."
Monarch is offering a series of incentives for contributors to its Solar Wonderland and giga-fab proposal, including some of its Lotus solar products.
"Please contribute to the ‘Help Solar Man Build Solar Wonderland’ IndieGoGo Campaign," said Monarch founder and CEO Joe Hui. Together, we will bring back solar panel manufacturing jobs to Arizona, help power your homes and businesses with solar innovation, and empower our students with a love of science and sustainable living."
Monarch first caught headlines in April 2013, when it announced plans to purchase Suntechs U.S. manufacturing facilities in Arizona. The plan did not eventuate.
The Monarch crowdfunding campaign comes three months after the extremely successful Solar "Freakin" Roadways campaign, which raised over $2.2 million, becoming 220% oversubscribed.
Monarch have made a video to accompany its campaign, featuring Hui as Solar Man.
The company’s products include a mobile Lotus Mobile array, which features Teflon encapsulated solar cells. It also has a Solar Awning product, that is both a PV and solar thermal module. Both products are not grid tied. Hui also has integrated one of his Solar Lotus arrays in a Tesla Roadster. The 2.4 kW array contributes towards the charging of the e-sportscar.