In a press conference with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Flextronics, SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer ofhigh-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, announcedthat it has partnered with Flextronics to begin manufacturing solarpanels in Milpitas, Calif. by the end of this year. The announcementcomes 25 years to the week since SunPower was founded in Silicon Valleyin 1985.
The SunPower and Flextronics partnership is expected tocreate approximately 100 new jobs this year, and produce 75 megawatts of SunPower solar panels annually. The West Coast location will allowSunPower to quickly and cost-effectively supply SunPower panels to solar installations at homes, commercial and public facilities, and powerplants throughout the Western US.
"I can think of no better wayto celebrate Earth Day than to highlight action that is good for bothCalifornia’s environment and its economy. SunPower is not only enablinghomes and businesses to conserve energy and save money by going solar,they are also creating jobs at a time when they are needed most," saidGovernor Schwarzenegger.
"Today’s announcement is anotherexample of how our state’s nation-leading green policies are encouraging nation-leading green businesses to ramp up investment in California."
"We commend Governor Schwarzenegger and our state and federal leaders forcreating the long-term stability and visibility we need in the solarmarket to open this facility," said SunPower CEO Tom Werner.
"The Governor’s leadership on the California Solar Initiative, the Renewable Portfolio Standard, incentives for green manufacturing equipment and AB 32 provide us with the confidence to further invest in our home state.We look forward to working with the city of Milpitas to bring backmanufacturing jobs and generate new economic opportunity in SiliconValley, where SunPower was founded 25 years ago."
Establishing aUS manufacturing facility is a direct result of SunPower’s three-yearagreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE) under the Solar EnergyTechnologies Program. Under the agreement, which was initiated in 2007,SunPower may receive up to $24 million of federal funding to implementimprovements across the value chain that reduce solar system coststhrough improvements in the design and manufacture of integrated solarpower systems.
Funding from the DOE supports the research anddevelopment of both the solar panel manufacturing equipment ordered forthis facility as well as commercial rooftop and tracking power plantsystems which will incorporate the solar panels. Four of the equipmentsuppliers for SunPower’s solar panel manufacturing line manufacturetheir tools in the United States.
The equipment set used in USwill also be exported to a solar panel manufacturing facility located in Europe. SunPower plans to apply a US federal manufacturing tax creditawarded to it from federal stimulus dollars by the DOE to support itsinvestment in the manufacturing equipment purchased for Silicon Valley.
Last year, SunPower launched its new SunPower T5 Solar Roof Tile product,the solar industry’s most powerful rooftop system, as a result of theSAI program and less than two years after the company began receivingDOE research and development funding.
To date, SunPower hasdelivered T5 Solar Roof Tile installations for customers such as Agilent Technologies and Harvard University, and recently announced a contractto deliver 200 megawatts of the technology to Southern California Edison for the utility’s large solar photovoltaic installation program.
"According to the California Public Utilities Commission, more applications werereceived under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) last month than inany month since the CSI was launched three years ago," Werner continued.
"Solar systems are affordable today for many kinds of customers in the private and public sectors. We are installing solar across thestate and around the world – from rooftops to parking lots to powerplants – and this manufacturing facility will help supply the growingdemand for all of these applications, providing emission-free, renewable solar power."
"We are proud to have been selected as SunPower’smanufacturing partner in California," said E.C. Sykes, president ofFlextronics Industrial. "Today’s announcement solidifies Flextronics’leading position as the clean tech supply chain partner of choice forOEMs participating in this important and rapidly growing market sector."