SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 15, 2010 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWRA, SPWRB), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today announced the inauguration of AUO SunPower Sdn. Bhd., the company's joint venture solar cell fabrication facility (Fab 3) in Malaysia with AU Optronics Corp. (TAIEX: 2409; NYSE: AUO). Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Abdul Razak, Datuk Seri Ali Rustam, Chief Minister of Melaka, AUO Chairman K.Y. Lee, SunPower CEO Tom Werner, and federal and state government officials attended today's dedication.
The construction and ramp of Fab 3, located in Melaka, south of Kuala Lumpur, will continue through 2013 and, when completed, is expected to generate more than 1,400 megawatts annually of high-efficiency solar cells. The two-building facility will be 108,000 square meters (more than 1 million square feet), which is approximately the size of seven U.S. football fields, and will house 28 solar cell production lines when fully online. In production since October of this year, Fab 3 has already produced approximately 5 megawatts of Gen 2 solar cells with up to 22.5 percent conversion efficiency.
"We are pleased to dedicate this facility and celebrate the success of the AUO SunPower joint venture," said K.Y. Lee, chairman of AUO. "The AUO SunPower Fab is already operational, benefiting from our leading manufacturing technology, and efficiently-run global operations and management. We welcome Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib to our facility today, and thank him and the Malaysian government for their full support of our joint venture."
As with SunPower's Fab 2, fully online since January of 2009, Fab 3 has been recognized by the International Energy Agency for its superior energy-efficient design. In addition, Fab 3 has applied for both gold and silver Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certifications for its administration building and cell Fab, respectively. Fab 3 was engineered with a variety of energy efficient features that will help increase operations efficiency and reduce energy costs. These features include:
- Solar covered parking that will provide up to 2.6 megawatts of annual power generation
- Rooftop solar on all site facilities that will total more than 10 megawatts of annual power generation
- Rain water retention ponds for environmental protection and water recycling
- Improved HVAC cooling and heating systems that offers a much lower carbon footprint for a facility of this size and type
- 100 percent of the hot water heating capacity is generated by heat recovery air compressors
- Cooling system efficiency that uses approximately 40 percent less electricity compared to typical systems in the Melaka area
"Fab 3 will enable us to significantly increase the production of our high-efficiency solar cells in this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility," said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO. "Malaysia's investment in the AUO SunPower joint venture, an excellent talent pool and a positive business investment climate, has given us the opportunity to significantly expand solar cell production that will meet the demand for solar worldwide, which has grown nearly eight fold over the past four years. We appreciate our partnership with the Malaysian government."
Founded in 1985, SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) 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, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpowercorp.com.
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements are statements that do not represent historical facts and may be based on underlying assumptions. SunPower uses words and phrases such as "expected," "will" and similar expressions to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this press release include the company's expectation (a) that Fab 3 will generate more than 1,400 megawatts capacity annually upon completion of construction in 2013, (b) of the size of the facility and number of solar cell production lines housed at Fab 3, and (c) that Fab 3 will significantly increase production of the company's high-efficiency solar cells. Such forward-looking statements are based on information available to SunPower as of the date of this press release and involve a number of risks and uncertainties, some beyond SunPower's control, that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated by these forward-looking statements, including risks and uncertainties such as: (i) AUO SunPower's ability to ramp new production lines in Fab 3; (ii) manufacturing difficulties that could arise, including equipment delays; (iii) construction difficulties or delays in building Fab 3; (iv) unanticipated delays or difficulties securing necessary permits, licenses or other governmental approvals or incentives; (v) potential difficulties associated with operating the joint venture with AUO; (vi) AUO SunPower's ability to obtain and maintain an adequate supply of raw materials, components, as well as the price it pays for such items; (vii) general business and economic conditions, including seasonality of the industry; (viii) growth trends in the solar power industry; (ix) the continuation of governmental and related economic incentives promoting the use of solar power; (x) AUO SunPower's ability to obtain financing for the construction of Fab 3; and (xi) other risks described in SunPower's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended January 3, 2010 and Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended October 3, 2010, and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing SunPower's views as of any subsequent date, and SunPower is under no obligation to, and expressly disclaims any responsibility to, update or alter its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SunPower is a registered trademark of SunPower Corp. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.
SOURCE SunPower Corp.