SunPower increasing solar cell capacity by 150 percent in 2008

In announcing financial results for the first quarter of 2008, SunPower Corporation stated that it would be increasing solar cell capacity by 150 percent in 2008, compared to capacity levels in 2007. The company also said that nearly half of its cell production was its ‘Gen2’ solar cell technology that has a minimum conversion efficiency of 22 percent.

“Our proprietary technology delivers the highest output per unit area of any commercially available solar system and we intend to leverage this technology by aggressively expanding our solar cell production by more than 150 percent in 2008 compared to 2007,” commented Tom Werner, SunPower's CEO, in a financial statement. “This scale, combined with lower silicon costs, higher efficiencies, thinner wafers and on-going quality and cost improvements in our factories, will drive unit cost reduction. During the first quarter of 2008, we continued to meet or exceed our manufacturing targets across both of our fabs and our panel manufacturing facility.”

The company also noted that it has secured 100 percent of its required polysilicon supply through 2010 to meet its revised capacity expansion plans. Last year, SunPower projected that production would top 250MW in 2008. However, revised figures revealed by the company show that figure to be 255MW for 2008.

The same is true for 2009. SunPower previously stated that it would produce 430MW in 2009; that figure has been raised to 450MW-plus. For 2010, the company is still expecting production of 650MW-plus, but has not adjusted the baseline figure upwards.

SunPower also reiterated that its capacity ramp at Fab 2 remained on schedule and was expected to be completed by the end of 2009. Its fourth solar panel manufacturing line had also completed its production ramp allowing the company to produce more than half of its PV panels in-house.