Sunpower completes high-efficiency 1.3-MW solar-power system



Click image to enlarge: Solar panels on top of the Exploratorium at Pier 15

SunPower has completed a 1.3-MW high-efficiency solar-power system on the roof of the Exploratorium's future home on San Francisco's Embarcadero. The system was designed to ultimately generate 100% of the electricity demand at the new state-of-the-art facility, which is scheduled to open in spring 2013. "The SunPower system is a critical piece of the puzzle in meeting our net-zero energy goal, reducing our impact on the environment, and eliminating a significant operational cost," said Dennis Bartels, executive director of the Exploratorium. "The savings will allow us to invest more in the innovative learning experiences for which we are known worldwide, as well as create learning opportunities about the physics of energy." The system uses SunPower solar panels that are up to 50% more efficient than conventional panels. System performance, updated every 15 minutes, will be displayed in the lobby of the new facility. According to estimates from the U.S. EPA, the SunPower solar power system will avoid the emissions of 33,150 tons of carbon dioxide over the 30-year life of the system, which is equivalent to removing 5,910 cars from California's highways. "Only with SunPower's high-efficiency technology will the Exploratorium be able to generate all of its electricity demand from a rooftop system—no other solar panel on the market today can achieve the same results within the limited roof area," said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. To meet its net-zero energy goal, as well as to qualify as a LEED gold facility, a number of additional features have been integrated into the design of the new Exploratorium facility, including an innovative heating and cooling system using filtered water from the San Francisco Bay, high performance glass to limit heat gain, maximized use of natural light, and use of low-emitting materials and materials with recycled content SunPower Corp