Sunny Milpitas, California is the newly announced home of SunPower’s first domestic manufacturing operations. Yep, you heard right. More green manufacturing jobs right here in the U.S.A. (In November, Chinese solar powerhouse Suntech announced that its first U.S. manufacturing facility would be located near Phoenix, Arizona).
SunPower’s 75-megawatt production line is expected to employ 100 by the end of the year, and spread the wealth around even more by sourcing equipment and materials from a host of other states throughout the United States. At the Vote Solar Initiative, we like to remind folks that manufacturing is only a fraction of solar’s overall job creation opportunity. In fact, about 75 percent of solar employment is related to system installation, jobs that are inherently local in the first place. Nevertheless, manufacturing is near and dear to most Americans, and this new production facility is tangible proof that the green economy has a real role to play in bringing those jobs back home — with the right policies, that is.
As was the case with Suntech’s Arizona selection, SunPower’s decision to locate manufacturing in California is a testament to the state’s market-building solar policies. And so it is appropriate that stalwart renewable energy supporter, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, joined in making the announcement. During the event, Schwarzenegger highlighted a few initiatives that have been so instrumental to the state’s new energy economy that we think they bear repeating: