US-based SunPower, a solar technology and energy services provider, announced plans to own and operate a solar panel manufacturing facility in Cape Town, to meet the growing demand for solar in that region.
At this new plant, SunPower will manufacture its high efficiency SunPower E20/440 Solar Panels and expects to produce up to 160 megawatts (MW) annually. The company estimates that it will create up to 150 local jobs and will begin recruitment efforts in the first quarter of 2015. This facility will also house SunPower’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) and Operations and Management (O&M) offices, consolidating its South African business into one building.
“SunPower has a significant presence in the South African solar market, including two large power plants built this year and another one that will begin construction soon. By manufacturing our high efficiency solar panels at this new facility, we will not only help the local economy, but continue to deliver clean, renewable energy to this region,” said Marty Neese, SunPower COO.
“Our investment in this new plant is part of our commitment to the local South African PV market, and meets our objective to build a sustainable business through local investment and create jobs in the medium- and long-term.”
Earlier this year, SunPower completed construction of two ground-mounted solar projects totalling 33MW located near Douglas in the Northern Cape Town province. Additionally, SunPower has been appointed as the preferred EPC and O&M contractor for an 86MW dc project in the round three Renewable Energy Independent Power Producer Procurement (REIPPP) program by the MULILO-TOTAL consortium.
SunPower, an affiliate of Total, operates solar panel manufacturing plants in North America, Europe and Asia, and plans to open its factory in South Africa in 2015. These facilities bring solar panels to local projects worldwide, minimizing expensive transportation costs while reducing environmental impact.