In a press conference with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Flextronics, SunPower Corp., a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels, and solar systems, has announced that it has partnered with Flextronics to begin manufacturing solar panels in Milpitas, California by the end of this year. The announcement comes 25 years to the week since SunPower was founded in Silicon Valley in 1985.
The SunPower and Flextronics partnership is expected to create approximately 100 new jobs this year, and produce 75 megawatts of SunPower solar panels annually. The West Coast location will allow SunPower to quickly and cost-effectively supply SunPower panels to solar installations at homes, commercial and public facilities, and power plants throughout the Western U.S.
“I can think of no better way to celebrate Earth Day than to highlight action that is good for both California’s environment and its economy. SunPower is not only enabling homes and businesses to conserve energy and save money by going solar, they are also creating jobs at a time when they are needed most,” said Governor Schwarzenegger. “Today’s announcement is another example 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 for creating the long-term stability and visibility we need in the solar market 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 back manufacturing jobs and generate new economic opportunity in Silicon Valley, where SunPower was founded 25 years ago.”
Establishing a U.S. manufacturing facility is a direct result of SunPower’s three-year agreement with the US Department of Energy (DOE) under the Solar Energy Technologies Program. Under the agreement, which was initiated in 2007, SunPower may receive up to $24 million of federal funding to implement improvements across the value chain that reduce solar system costs through improvements in the design and manufacture of integrated solar power systems. Funding from the DOE supports the research and development of both the solar panel manufacturing equipment ordered for this facility as well as commercial rooftop and tracking power plant systems which will incorporate the solar panels. Four of the equipment suppliers for SunPower’s solar panel manufacturing line manufacture their tools in the United States. The equipment set used in U.S. will also be exported to a solar panel manufacturing facility located in Europe. SunPower plans to apply a U.S. federal manufacturing tax credit awarded to it from federal
stimulus dollars by the DOE to support its investment 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 the SAI program and less than two years after the company began receiving DOE research and development funding. To date, SunPower has delivered T5 Solar Roof Tile installations for customers such as Agilent Technologies and Harvard University, and recently announced a contract to 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 were received under the California Solar Initiative (CSI) last month than in any 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 the state and around the world – from rooftops to parking lots to power plants – and this manufacturing facility will help supply the growing demand for all of these applications, providing emission-free, renewable solar power.”
“We are proud to have been selected as SunPower’s manufacturing partner in California,” said E.C. Sykes, president of Flextronics Industrial. “Today’s announcement solidifies Flextronics’ leading position as the clean tech supply chain partner of choice for OEMs participating in this important and rapidly growing market sector.”
Founded in 1985, SunPower Corp. designs, manufactures, and delivers the planet’s most powerful solar technology broadly available today. Residential, business, government, and utility customers rely on the company’s experience and proven results to maximize return on investment. With headquarters in San Jose, California, SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia.
Headquartered in Singapore, Flextronics is a leading Electronics Manufacturing Services (EMS) provider focused on delivering complete design, engineering, and manufacturing services to automotive, computing, consumer, industrial, infrastructure, medical, and mobile OEMs. Flextronics helps customers design, build, ship, and service electronics products through a network of facilities in 30 countries on four continents. This global presence provides design and engineering solutions that are combined with core electronics manufacturing and logistics services, and vertically integrated with components technologies, to optimize customer operations by lowering costs and reducing time to market.
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