SunPower has invested $25 million in its Silicon Valley Research Facility in the past 12 months. Its pilot production line team is working on driving down costs. It has already started producing cells and panels that will be used in residential and commercial applications, the US company said. (Photo Credit: SunPower Corporation)
- SunPower has started pilot production for its next-gen panels at its Silicon Valley Research Facility in California
- Cells used in the X-Series panels have already achieved a record 25% efficiency in mass production
- SunPower aims to produce cells and panels with this production line that can be used in residential and commercial applications, specifically homes, schools and businesses
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As a decision on looming import taxes following the Suniva petition comes closer in the US, SunPower Corporation has highlighted in a release its Silicon Valley Pilot Manufacturing Line for high efficiency solar panels in which it invested approximately $25 million over the last 12 months.
SunPower is working on a technology it refers to as next-gen panels. It hopes to bring down cost with this new pilot production line as cost has been always the main issue for its high-efficiency back-contact cells. In its recent Q2/2017 financial report, SunPower’s management shared it is making strong progress on the initiative with production already launched on this line.
In a press release, the management informed that the best cells used in the X-Series technology have achieved record 25% efficiencies in mass production. SunPower plans to ultimately ramp up to produce cells and panels that can be used in residential and commercial applications. “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 US solar market,” the company said.
As for the customer base, SunPower plans to start with schools districts interested in carport applications and residential rooftops. Construction and installation is slated for later this year, it said.
SunPower says that over 100 people work on-site at the research facility, what it calls the “ world’s best collection of solar experts.” It also emphasizes that it has over 30 parts suppliers and manufacturers, which have headquarters in 33 US cities across nine states and that the esearch facility equipment includes several high-volume production-sized manufacturing tools and automation, and specialized testing equipment, sourced from different locations in the US.
Headquartered in the US, SunPower produces its cells on the Philippines and Malaysia. It also produces solar modules in France. In February, it became public that SunPower plans to set up a joint venture in China with Tianjin Zhongzhuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (TZS) and China Eastern Electric Group Co (Dongfang Electric Company, DEC) under the name SunPower Systems International Limited to establish a 5 GW module factory in China (see SunPower 5 GW JV in China)