SunPower sets sights on major manufacturing milestones in 2008

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On posting a 227.6 percent year-on-year revenue growth with sales topping $774.8 million for 2007, SunPower Corporation has set its sights on doubling solar cell manufacturing capacity from 214 megawatts at the end of 2007 to 414 megawatts at the end of 2008. A key reason for the ability to expand production is due to SunPower’s belief that silicon feedstock supply constraints will ease and support lower prices through the supply chain.

“We expect SunPower’s median solar cell efficiency to increase over the course of 2008 as we add five more Gen 2 lines in Fab 2,” commented Tom Werner, SunPower’s CEO.
“Our Fab 2 expansion will nearly double our nameplate solar cell manufacturing capacity from 214 megawatts at the end of 2007 to 414 megawatts at the end 2008. Our start-up team has done a tremendous job transferring our learning from Fab 1 to Fab 2. We have now completed our production ramp on the first two lines in Fab 2 which will exclusively produce our industry-leading Gen 2 solar cells. Our Gen 2 solar cells increase the power generated by each solar cell by 10 percent compared to our A-300 solar cell. Concurrently we are reducing our manufacturing unit cost by increasing equipment throughput and achieving manufacturing scale,” added Werner.

Werner also said in a prepared statement that SunPower had started production on a further two automated module manufacturing lines with a third starting to ramp in 4Q07, which are allocated to its larger 96-cell solar panel design.

The company also touted that 2008 should see the company make a successful transition to second-generation products and to thinner, 145 micron wafers that will contribute to overall lower manufacturing costs that are coupled to its silicon supply price reductions and greater manufacturing scale in the year.

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