SunPower: Pilot Manufacturing Line for High Efficiency Solar Panels
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SAN JOSE, California - Solar technology design, manufacturing and installation methods have come a long way in just 20 years, and as a trailblazing solar energy company, SunPower has witnessed the trajectory first-hand. Globally, there is now 305 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity, up from around 50 GW in 2010 and virtually nothing at the turn of the millennium.
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Innovation is central to SunPower's DNA, and with years of experience, researchers have been emboldened to create new manufacturing technologies and processes while continuing to break solar panel efficiency records that fuel creative solar applications – from solar power racecars to airplanes. The nucleus of SunPower's technological solar panel expertise is headquartered in San Jose, Calif., on the SunPower Campus.
"We continue to make the world's best solar panels with technology developed and tested right here in Silicon Valley," said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. "These efforts result in domestic job creation, capital investments from our equipment manufacturers and dealers, and more affordable solar energy options for homes and businesses across the U.S. and around the world."
This summer, SunPower engineers began producing the company's latest generation of solar cells in a pilot production line installed in the heart of Silicon Valley. The research facility, which runs from silicon to panel, utilizes a revolutionary manufacturing approach. The cells extend on the leading X-Series technology which currently achieves a record 25 percent efficiency in mass production, further positioning SunPower on the cutting edge of innovation. The line, which has begun production, will ultimately ramp to producing cells and panels used in both residential and commercial applications. First planned customers include school districts interested in carport applications and residential rooftops. Construction and installation is slated for later this year.
SunPower has a long history of developing and ramping world-record breaking technologies in California and is investing even further to make solar cost-competitive with all U.S. power sources. The SunPower® Signature™ Black solar panels, which are researched, developed, and now also produced at SunPower's research facility, are being extensively tested to ensure it is the world's most reliable product, backed by SunPower's industry-leading 25-year Combined Power and Product Warranty.
The new pilot manufacturing location will enhance SunPower's ability to quickly and cost-effectively scale and supply panels to solar installations at homes, businesses and schools throughout the growing U.S. solar market.
Silicon Valley Research Facility Quick Facts
Over 100 people on-site at the research facility, arguably employing the world's best collection of solar experts.
Approximately $25 million invested in the facility within the past 12 months, demonstrating the commitment to innovation at the site.
Over 30 parts suppliers and manufacturers, which have headquarters in 33 U.S. cities across nine states.
o Research facility equipment includes several high-volume production-sized manufacturing tools and automation, and specialized testing equipment, sourced from Boulder, Colo., Hudsonville, Mich., and various parts of California, Massachusetts, Ohio, Texas, Illinois and elsewhere.
SunPower's Economic Footprint Across the Country
Over 1,000 people are employed in SunPower offices and related facilities in San Jose and Richmond, Calif., Austin, Texas, and elsewhere.
Over 12,000 people are indirectly employed by more than 515 independent SunPower dealers across 38 states.
Solar as an Affordable Clean Energy Source
Over the past decade, the cost of solar in general has dramatically reduced with scale by more than 50 percent. New manufacturing techniques employed in SunPower's Silicon Valley research facility aim to instill customer centricity by focusing on efficiency and performance of the panel while cutting overall cost to the consumer.
As one of the world's most innovative and sustainable energy companies, SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) provides a diverse group of customers with complete solar solutions and services. Residential customers, businesses, governments, schools and utilities around the globe rely on SunPower's more than 30 years of proven experience. From the first flip of the switch, SunPower delivers maximum value and superb performance throughout the long life of every solar system. Headquartered in Silicon Valley, SunPower has dedicated, customer-focused employees in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, and North and South America. For more information about how SunPower is changing the way our world is powered, visit www.sunpower.com.