From Airplanes to Turbines

Solar Turbines History

Solar Turbines started as an aircraft company in 1927. The company grew through several wars and the Great Depression. Solar’s growth led the company to develop a wide range of innovative products. Today Solar is a key player in the 1,000 to 30,000 horsepower (hp) segment of the global gas turbine market, making it a world-class energy solutions provider. Building on the accomplishments below, Solar Turbines continues to power the future as ONE team.


A pioneering San Diego Company, Solar Aircraft, designed and manufactured aircraft at the dawn of air travel.



Solar leased a plant in National City, CA housing an industrial products company that manufactured automotive air cleaners.



With the end of the war came new efforts to diversify the company’s product line, including milk truck tanks, dairy pasteurizers, film processing machines, coffee brewers, kitchen sinks, popsicle trays, and mini race cars.


History Solar Turbines


Solar developed the Jupiter engine and the 50-hp Mars gas turbine.


History Solar Turbines


Solar went to the moon! The company’s research department crafted exotic metal beryllium cases for the GE 26 System for Nuclear Auxiliary Power 70W electric generators. Five of these cases were placed on the moon by Apollo 12.


History Solar Turbines


Solar developed Solimide high-temperature non-toxic foam. The company also changed its control system to employ integrated circuit and began development of the 10,000 hp Mars engine. This was also the year that Solar phased out the aerospace components and subcontracting business.


History Solar Turbines


The company developed a trailer mounted Saturn 1000 generator, which was capable of providing dual frequency and voltage for use anywhere. It was built for the U.S. Air Force.


History Solar Turbines


After being named an official subsidiary of Caterpillar Inc., the first Turbotronic control console was introduced. Two years later Solar placed a Turbotronic control system on a Mars engine.


History Solar Turbines


Solar launches three new gas turbine models in the late 80s and early 90s: Taurus™ 60, Taurus™ 70, Mars® 100. All three models each have more than 1000 installations and today are part of Solar’s core product lineup.


History Solar Turbines


Solar introduced the 18,300-hp Titan 130 engine featuring new blade and combustion technology, improving part-load heat rate performance and achieving thermal efficiency above 35% on both the single and dual-shaft configurations.


History Solar Turbines


Solar launched Equipment Health Management, known today as InSight Platform™. It has evolved into an entire ecosystem of digital tools, capabilities and analytics for maximizing machinery uptime and lower lifecycle costs.



Solar introduced the 30,000-hp Titan 250 gas turbine. This design features a compact engine footprint, delivering an impressive power density in a package.


History Solar Turbines


The company installed a 3D virtual immersion lab to assist in rapid development, design and prototype of packaged products.


History Solar Turbines


Solar adds Power Generation Module (PGM) to its product line-up. A simplified design to minimize maintenance and maximize productivity, these factory pre-assembled modules reduce installation and commissioning time on-site.


History Solar Turbines


Solar introduces Solar Mobile Turbomachinery (SMT), a complete mobile power plant for short-term power generation. SMT is ideal for oil field power, remote power, trailer power, and in emergencies, such as natural disasters.





Explore The Solar Turbines Difference


Products for Every Solution, In Every Industry

Solar Turbines provides best in class energy solutions with turbomachinery for power generation and motor driven compression products and packages. Our wide range of solutions maximize availability, reliability and value throughout your equipment's life cycle. 


Optimizing Equipment Value, Anywhere and Anytime

Customer support extends beyond maintenance and repairs to include broad offerings that help enhance performance and safety, extend equipment life and prevent obsolescence.


Innovations for Energy Solutions

Solar Turbines has been innovating the energy industry for more than 60 years and we will continue to push what is possible.