ESG in Real Estate Interview series: Matthew Kasdin.
FuturePlace interviewed Matthew Kasdin, Director, Senior Counsel at SunPower from Maxeon Solar Technologies. We spoke to Matthew about everything solar and its contribution to today’s built world and ESG strategies.
FuturePlace: Do we have the technology to create energy positive buildings today?
Matthew Kasdin: Yes, we absolutely do and the technology is already on the market. For instance, Maxeon Solar Technologies has some fantastic showpiece projects for energy positive buildings, including the Powerhouse Brattørkaia, an energy positive office building in the northern most reaches of Norway, which doesn’t get that much sunlight, yet is an energy positive building. If we can do it in Norway, we could definitely do it in Australia which has some of the most intense year-round sunlight in the world.
Indeed, Australia is one of the best places in the world for solar. You can have a building that’s energy positive by multiples and giving back to the grid even. It’s important to consider the logistics of doing a solar installation during the design phase of a building to make sure that solar can cover as much of it as possible and facing the right direction.
If you use SunPower Maxeon panels, not only can you have energy positive buildings, you can also get points towards your LEED certification which is a credential that many developers strive for.
How do you think we get the percentage down?
Matthew: We can get it down by using solar panels with higher efficiency and lower degradation. We have a 40-year warranty on our flagship panel, this has higher efficiency and degrades at a lower rate than our competitors. It is possible to put it up on a building and it will keep producing electricity at a very high rate over a very long period of time. In addition, you can also use complementary technologies such as electric vehicles and other energy efficient devices and materials in the construction in order to minimize the amount of emissions that go into a building.
What do you think are the challenges facing the solar industry?
Matthew: There are many challenges. The biggest one at this stage is the supply chain, to make sure that we have all the supplies we need and importantly to make sure that the supplies are reliable and free of indications of forced labour. It is a big issue for many consumers and an emerging issue for governments to regulate.
The solar supply chain is quite complex. As a producer, we need to monitor it quite closely and make sure we have robust controls to ensure that there are no human rights violations no matter how far down you go. We need to make sure that the social part is not lost in ESG. Ensuring all the solar is produced with very good standards of labour, meeting all the international standards, and auditing using the international best practices as a baseline.
What are you most excited to discuss at this year’s ESG in Real Estate Summit?
Matthew: I’m very excited to discuss everything, from the ‘E’ to the ‘S’ to ‘G’ and also going to the concept of the circular economy which is a concept we have embraced as a company. We are about to release a document called ‘Powering a Circular Economy’ that looks into what we’re doing with lean manufacturing for our flagship products: creating a lot less waste, and also preparing for in 40-years – when our panels are ready to be put to bed – recycling to make sure that our panels are very clean in the way that they don’t have toxic chemicals and produce as little waste as possible. This holistic view of the entire life cycle of a solar panel is a critical part of the story and one we think about every day to ensure that our company is doing the right thing by the world and that we are proud of.
ESG in Real Estate Summit
SunPower from Maxeon Solar Technologies are proudly sponsoring the 3rd annual ESG in Real Estate Summit, taking place on 17-18 May 2023 in Sydney. Bringing together senior real estate investors, owners, operators, developers, lenders and solution providers to examine how the commercial real estate industry can seize opportunities and overcome challenges related to developing and implementing ESG initiatives. The event is unique in its focus on ESG in commercial real estate and capital markets perspective.