It is a family-owned business, with Krzysztof Olszewski as co-owner and his wife Solange as CEO. It is located in a former weapons factory, and was featured by BBC World in a program related to EU expansion in May 2004, as an example of a post-communist success in Poland.
Solaris started as Neoplan Polska, founded in 1994 by Krzysztof Olszewski. Neoplan Polska was selling, and since January 1996 also building under German licence, low-floor Neoplan city buses. In 1999 it released first buses under its own Solaris brand (model Urbino). On 1 September 2001 Neoplan Polska was renamed to Solaris Bus & Coach Sp. z o.o. In 2005 it was transformed into a joint stock company.
In the 1990s, the company developed its own research office and used computer software originally developed for the design of space shuttles. It reduced the time needed to design and build new prototypes to about six months. Another six months are needed to build a new bus prototype.
Trolleybuses are made in co-operation with the Hungarian company Ganz Electro or (the Czech division of) the company Cegelec and Polish company Medcom. Both companies make the electric devices for the vehicles. Solaris produced the first European bus model using hybrid technology, the Solaris Urbino 18 Hybrid. That hybrid model was delivered in November 2008 to the Polish city of Poznań.
In 2007 Solaris was employing about 1,200 workers, in 2009 about 1,600 workers. Now "Solaris Bus & Coach" builds about 1,000-1,200 buses a year.