Big Changes At SunPower

SunPower - Maxeon Solar Technologies

SunPower has announced it will spin off much of its solar panel manufacturing into a new company – Maxeon Solar Technologies.

After the split, SunPower will primarily focus on product innovation, solar system installations, plus high-growth storage and energy services. SunPower’s Q3 2019 results noted record residential and new homes installation bookings and its Equinox residential battery storage solution was launched during the quarter.

Maxeon Solar Technologies will be engaged in solar panel R&D, manufacturing and marketing; with solar panels produced by Maxeon manufactured in France, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines still to be marketed under the SunPower brand.

SunPower will still be involved in early stage research for the development and commercialising of next generation solar panel technologies, but leaving deployment-focused innovation and scale-up to be executed by Maxeon Solar.

Tom Werner is to continue as CEO and Chairman of SunPower, while current chief executive officer of SunPower’s Technologies business unit, Jeff Waters, has been tapped to be Maxeon Solar’s CEO.

Like SunPower, Maxeon Solar Technologies will also be a publicly traded company.

Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor’s Involvement

Helping to fund the setup of Maxeon Solar Technologies will be a USD $298 million equity investment by China’s Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (TZS), which has had a long association with SunPower.

“They bring not only the capital necessary to fast-track scale-up our Maxeon® 5 technology, but also have deep experience across the upstream Asia supply chain,” said Mr. Waters. “SunPower has a long strategic relationship with TZS, having cooperated on seven joint ventures and joint development projects since 2012.”

SunPower released its A-Series solar panels, based on the company’s Maxeon Gen 5 cells, in March this year in the USA. The 400W/415W panels feature a factory-integrated microinverter manufactured by Enphase Energy. Enphase acquired SunPower’s microinverter business in 2018.

What About Hillsboro?

It was only last year SunPower acquired what was SolarWorld Americas’ manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon. The company says it will maintain its commitment to American manufacturing at Hillsboro, which is currently its Performance Series module assembly facility. By the time the split occurs, SunPower and Maxeon Solar will have entered into a multi-year exclusive supply agreement covering sales within the U.S. and Canada.

As well as approval of SunPower’s Board of Directors and a special committee of independent directors, the split has the blessing of the company’s main shareholder, Total.

“During the last years, SunPower has successfully adapted the company and its products in a challenging global solar market,” said Total CEO Patrick Pouyanné. “As the main shareholder of Sunpower, we support this transaction which will bring clarity and focus for both entities on their respective activities.”

About Michael Bloch

Michael caught the solar power bug after purchasing components to cobble together a small off-grid PV system in 2008. He's been reporting on Australian and international solar energy news ever since.

Comments

  1. This is a PR spin from SunPower. They lost a lot of money over the past years,.. the played the spin that the utility business did it – lets loose this and all will be good, then they dreamed that the Chinese made P19 would save the day – but it did not. Now they flog all their patens for $300 million to the Chinese and pretend this is a way forward. SunPower got smacked and are on their way out – simple – stop spinning the PR crap. How can they succeed in their American installation arm without the manufacturing cloud? The reason that US families buy SunPower is because they were an US manufacturer.. but now NO More. Now that they become Chinese that loyalty will be gone and so is that business’s advantage. China 1: USA 0 What is the value of that 25 year product warranty? No much it seems. Disappointing – because their panels used to be good.

  2. Interesting! I did expect something like that and choose German Solarwatt panels for my PV. But all the large companies who did a quote for me were pushing for Sun Power. Chinese production could not be as good I do not trust any Chinese product and avoid it at any cost.
    Want to mention the Bradford solar VIC. Bad sales little knowledge and do not give you a piece of true information. Also Energy Australia Vic. Not a proper investigation and little knowledge of the products.
    Can recommend Solar Dynamics, they are a small family business with a passion and a super helpful.

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