A shining light in solar innovation: SunPower Corporation

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SunPower Corporation is a company that’s always been ahead of its time. The brainchild of Dr Richard Swanson in the 1970s, its remit was to find an answer to the oil crisis, which was widely ignored by many at the time. Intrigued by the use of solar panels on satellites, he set out to make the cells more cost-effective for commercial and residential use.

By 1985, Dr Swanson had secured enough funding, thanks largely to the U.S. Department of Energy, to support his solar power explorations. As a result, SunPower was born.

The 1990s saw many successes. SunPower’s high-efficiency cells powered unmanned NASA aircraft and notably powered Honda to a first-place finish in the Race Across Australia.

Fast forward to the 2000s, and SunPower would begin breaking world records, first with its A-300 solar cells in 2001. By 2007, its newly record-breaking solar cell, averaging 22.4% conversion efficiency, was in mass production. Just one year later, the company broke their record again, producing a world-record monocrystalline silicon prototype solar cell with efficiency of 23.4%.

Today, SunPower offers a vast and diversified portfolio of leading residential and solar storage solutions, with exclusive access to the world’s highest efficiency solar panels featuring SunPower® Maxeon® cell technology. It is an industry leader in solar sustainability and social responsibility and has received more than 1,000 patents for solar innovation.

In recent years, SunPower has secured USD 1bn in funding for a ground-breaking residential solar and storage solution and has partnered with IKEA to sell directly to consumers through the Swedish retail giant’s U.S. stores. The company has also been crowned the number one commercial direct solar solutions provider in the U.S. for capacity for three years in a row.

And all of this has helped SunPower reach USD 1.3bn in annual revenues – with many financial analysts suggesting things are just getting started for this solar powering powerhouse.

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