At SunPower, we strive to not only produce the highest efficiency panels in the industry, but also the most sustainably made. In other words, we deliver panels as clean as the energy they produce.
This Earth Day, as we review our updated 2018 Metrics Report, I’d like to focus on some of the specific data proving that our customers are changing the way our world is powered.
2018 Product Impact Update
SunPower customers around the world now enjoy more than 10.3 GW of panels that have cumulatively generated about 75 terawatt hours of clean energy, avoiding 43.6 million tonnes of CO2. To put these numbers into perspective, this is equivalent to removing 11 million cars from the road for one year.1
SunPower’s sustainability benefits derive from leading the industry in high efficiency and low degradation rate.2 By producing up to 60% more energy than conventional panels in the same space over 25 years,3 our panels help customers minimize the physical and environmental footprints of their solar solutions. Our higher lifetime energy can also offset significantly more GHG emissions.
Here is what our customers helped to accomplish in 2018 by choosing SunPower® panels:
- Solar Energy Generation: 14.5 terawatts (+24% from 2017)
- CO2 Avoided: 9.0 million tonnes (+18% from 2017)
2018 SunPower Product Sustainability Update
Solar panels produce energy sustainably and SunPower wants to ensure our manufacturing processes are as sustainable as the energy our products generate. We envision a circular model in which resources are carefully chosen and conserved upfront (energy, water and materials), then kept in use as long as possible. We have pioneered sustainability efforts around this idea of circular economy -prioritizing high recycled content components (24% in our glass and 20% in our frames, which together represent about 85% of the weight of a SunPower panel). Further, we are the first and only solar manufacturer to disclose our panel ingredients through the Declare label.
Our 2018 metrics demonstrate that while our panels are efficient, so are our manufacturing practices. As our products helped hundreds of thousands of new customers lower their emissions, we focused on lowering our own. We also reduced our global manufacturing energy and water footprint, becoming more efficient in our processes. Here are key ways SunPower improved its own sustainable practices in 2018:
- GHG Emissions: 11% Reduction of CO2/MW shipped (Scope 1 and Scope 2)
- Total Energy Use: 14% Reduction in MWh
- Solid Waste Generated: 13% Reduction in Metric Tonnes
- Percent Solid Waste Recycled: 89%
While there is always more to be done, we are proud of these sustainable achievements and hope that our customers take pride in choosing the sustainable option.
Already this year, in January 2019, our Mexicali, Mexico plant was re-certified by NSF Sustainability as Zero Waste to Landfill. This means that this facility diverts more than 99% of its waste, with 1% or less going to landfills. We also updated our Declare labels for all Maxeon® DC panels this April. Finally, we have maintained our commitment to SunPower’s Global Takeback and Recycling Program Policy.
Changing the way our world is powered is a commitment we share with our customers. Together, we can truly make a difference, and we think the future has never looked brighter.
- 1. US EPA Greenhouse Gas Equivalancies Calculator, https://www.epa.gov/energy/greenhouse-gas-equivalencies-calculator.
- 2. Based on search of datasheet values from websites of top 20 manufacturers per IHS, as of January 2019
- 3. SunPower 360W compared to a Conventional Panel on same sized arrays (260W, 16% efficient, approx. 1.6 m2), 4% more energy per watt (based on 3pty module characterization and PVSim), 0.75%/yr slower degradation (Campeau, Z. et al. "SunPower Module Degradation Rate," SunPower white paper, 2013).