Banner Image

Good News for the Earth

Striving for Panels as Clean as the Energy they Produce

May 19, 2020

SunPower solar panels installed on homes, businesses and in power plants have to date generated enough clean energy to offset the equivalent carbon emissions of approximately 14 million cars driven for a year. But beyond these direct effects, SunPower also ensures a closed-loop sustainability strategy – continuously improving the way our products are made, used and recycled – starting at the inception of every product and continuing through every stage of the lifecycle and beyond, extending to employees, suppliers and communities around the world.

As part of our continuing journey in sustainability, SunPower annually tracks and records key metrics associated with manufacturing our products. The results for this year are in and we are pleased to report progress on key measurements.

Water Use: Every Drop Counts

Lack of access to safe drinking water is one of the defining issues of our time. In fact, the United Nations predicts a 40 percent shortfall in freshwater resources by 2028 if our population continues to grow at the current pace. That's why the UN calls this the Water Action Decade. And it's why SunPower tracks its water usage at every manufacturing facility and sets a high standard for reducing water use.

This year, SunPower reduced our manufacturing water use per MW by 13.8% -- well past SunPower's internal goal of 5% per year. Since 2016, manufacturing water use has gone down a whopping 39% percent.

Sustainable Solar Panels Water Use Graph

Source: SunPower data

Carbon Emissions: A New Low

In 2019, SunPower reduced our Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions emitted by 9.0% per megawatt (CO2/MW).1 SunPower's CO2 emissions went down 15.74 metric tons for every megawatt of solar panels produced. This means that had we produced the same volume of panels last year, we would have emitted 20,038 MT CO2 more than we did this year. That savings is equivalent to the carbon sequestered by roughly 10,590 hectares of forest in a year. Since 2016, Scope 1 and 2 GHG emissions associated with SunPower's manufacturing facilities have been reduced 22 percent.

Sustainable Solar Panels Carbon Emissions Graph

Source: SunPower data

Energy Use: A Positive Trendline

As a solar company, SunPower places a high priority on reducing the energy used to produce its products. We track the amount of energy use by the megawatt-hour (MWh) used per megawatt (MW) of high-efficiency panels produced. This year, SunPower sailed past both goals to reduce energy use per MW by 8.4% -- the equivalent of driving an average car more than approximately 80 million kilometers. Since 2016, we've reduced energy use by 25%.

SunPower also monitors the renewable energy in the grid at all of our module manufacturing facilities, working to increase the percentage of renewable energy used by purchasing RECs as well as increasing opportunities for onsite renewable energy generation.

Sustainable Solar Panels Energy Use Graph

Source: SunPower data

All of these accomplishments would not have been possible without everyone in the extended SunPower family working together to build a more sustainable world. SunPower celebrates the hard work and achievements of our employees, customers and partners to fundamentally change the way the world is powered – and rethink the way our products are made, used and recycled.

* Carbon emission offsets and equivalencies throughout are calculated on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Greenhouse Gas Equivalencies Calculator.