SunPower Fab 4 LEED solar panels

Solar Panels Made by a Green Builder, for Green Builders

100% of our Maxeon IBC solar cells now come from LEED Gold-certified facilities
Company
Solar Technology

By Lindsey Wiedmann, Chief Legal Officer and ESG Executive Sponsor

The fight against climate change is not for the faint of heart. It takes courage, determination, and most of all, a desire to hold yourself to a higher standard. Our SunPower Maxeon solar panels are not just the most efficient and reliable panels available in the industry1Based on datasheet review of websites of top 20 manufacturers per IHS, as of June 2020. ,2Jordan, et. al. Robust PV Degradation Methodology and Application. PVSC 2018. SunPower Maxeon DC solar panels were also the first in the industry to offer green builders additional LEED points for their projects thanks to our Cradle to Cradle Certified™ Bronze3Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a certification mark licensed by the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute.  Cradle to Cradle Certified™ is a multi-attribute certification program that assesses products and materials for safety to human and environmental health, design for future use cycles, and sustainable manufacturing.  recognition and unique Declare label ingredient transparency for panels manufactured in Mexico.

Earlier this year, we extended our legacy of sustainability leadership when our solar cell fabrication facility in Laguna, Philippines ("Fab 4") earned LEED® Gold4LEED is a registered trademark of the U.S. Green Building Council.  certification – our fifth LEED-certified facility. We are now proud to say that, as of August 2020, 100% of the cells powering SunPower Maxeon solar panels come from LEED Gold-certified facilities. 

SunPower's 5 LEED Gold-certified facilities map

Why is this significant? This achievement means that our customers – many of whom are award-winning green builders themselves  – can be confident that their solar panels were made by a company with values that match their own. 

Sustainability is a Journey 

We began construction on Fab 4 in 2015, and over the next five years our team worked tirelessly to excel across every measure of the certification's six categories, shown below. 

LEED Certification Categories

LEED Gold certification categories

We'd like to share a few examples of our efforts at Fab 4 that led to certification. 

Sustainable Site

SunPower Fab 4 facility in Laguna Phillippines

Fab 4 Facility in Laguna, Philippines

Fab 4 is located in Laguna TechnoPark, a central business hub in the Philippines.  A 60,850-square-meter facility, the Maxeon Gen 3 cells produced here are used in SunPower Maxeon 3 panels installed around the world.  

Under the LEED certification for Building Design, Construction (LEED BD&C), points are earned for Sustainable Sites if the project can show minimal impact from its construction to the environment. During the site development phase, we were able to maintain about 20% vegetated open space. The site also includes easy access for public transport, bicycles and other efficient transportation. Importantly, more than 50% of Fab 4 Administration Building's energy use is offset with an onsite solar system utilizing our own SunPower Maxeon panels. This consists of a Solar Carport and rooftop installation at our canteen building. When it comes to solar, we also believe in thriving together with our community, and also donated a small off-grid solar panel system to "Bahay ni Maria" a home for abandoned elderly and children with special needs located in nearby Calamba Laguna.  

LEED solar panels, solar carport

Solar carport at Fab 4 Facility in Laguna, Philippines

Energy and Water Efficiency

Energy and Water usage are critically important areas where we have demonstrated long-term progress. Fab 4 was able to demonstrate a 50.45% reduction in water use for all plumbing fixtures over conventional use. The team eliminated the need for a permanent landscape irrigation system by maintaining trees and replacing mono-cultural turf grass to three types of grasses native to the Philippines.  

At the same time, we've made our building's energy systems, such as lighting, chillers and cooling towers, much more efficient – demonstrating a 16.7% improvement in energy consumption over the ASHRAE 90.1 – 2007 requirement.  

Materials and Resources

The site's construction waste management plan ensured that 93% of construction waste was diverted from the landfill. The building's envelope retains 96% of the previous building's structure.

Indoor Air Quality

Best practices were implemented to prevent indoor air pollution during construction, and employee surveys are regularly conducted to continue to ensure staff comfort and health. 

Innovation

The team is taking its innovation mindset forward in the ongoing operation of Fab 4, through new policies in green cleaning, green purchasing (for example, furniture with recycled content), solid waste management and of course, further reductions in water and energy use. Fab4 is in the midst of completing a 225kWp planned solar panel grid-tie system on its Manufacturing Rooftop. 

I'm extremely proud of our accomplishments and what they say about our company's leadership in sustainability and commitment to Powering Positive Change™. Our goal is to produce solar panels as clear as the energy they produce – and give people everywhere the power to make a positive impact on our world. 

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