Prana Power acquires 108MW Mexican C&I solar park from Dhamma Energy and Sunpower

Prana Power acquires 108MW Mexican C&I solar park from Dhamma Energy and Sunpower

Mexican asset manager Prana Power has acquired a 108MW Mexican solar project from Madrid-based Dhamma Energy and US-headquarted firm Sunpower, who partnered on developing the project since 2015.

This ready-to-build PV system, located in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, holds private power purchase agreements (PPAs) under a self-consumption scheme in place prior to Mexico’s energy reform. This scheme offers advantages to solar projects such as reduced transmission rates and the use of the public grid under the energy bank scheme. This scheme also allows the use of electricity from the solar park at any time of the day within a period of 12 months.

This is the second solar project under the self-consumption scheme for which Dhamma Energy has transferred the rights in the last few weeks in Mexico, after it recently closed the sale of a 37MW solar project in the state of San Luis Potosí.

Cofounder of Dhamma Energy, Philippe Esposito, said: “Mexico is one of the most dynamic markets for corporate solar PPAs. We are very pleased to participate in one of the most advanced large-scale self-consumption solar projects currently in the country.”

In Mexico, Dhamma Energy has a pipeline of over 1GW of solar projects, of which over 300MW already hold all the permits required to begin construction.

Enphase Says Share Price Headed ‘to the Moon’ With SunPower Microinverter Acquisition

Enphase Says Share Price Headed ‘to the Moon’ With SunPower Microinverter Acquisition

Enphase says it is poised for profitable growth. A month after announcing its surprise acquisition of SunPower’s microinverter business, Enphase said the boost to its AC module partnerships will buoy its bottom line. After a scary dip in share prices over the past few years and the risk of […]

A month after announcing its surprise acquisition of SunPower’s microinverter business, Enphase said the boost to its AC module partnerships will buoy its bottom line.

After a scary dip in share prices over the past few years and the risk of a Nasdaq delisting* last summer, the acquisition marks an upward trajectory that will continue, according to Enphase Vice President of Marketing and Pricing JD Dillon, during an interview at Intersolar North America.

“The amount of profitable growth in front of the company, we know how to do it, the path is clear,” he said, adding that the share price is “going to go up — higher. Quote me on that. To the moon!”

The acquisition of what could be viewed as a competitor, from a company that looked to be in a tricky financial spot, took many in the industry by surprise.

Historically, Enphase products were not powerful enough to work with SunPower products. Then SunPower’s 2014 acquisition of microinverter company SolarBridge meant that that company’s products became part of SunPower’s vertically integrated line of AC modules. Meanwhile, Enphase went on to work on other AC module partnerships with companies like LG, JinkoSolar and Solaria.

But Greentech Media had heard rumblings that the two companies were working to make a collaboration official. A former Enphase employee who asked to speak anonymously said the growth of SunPower’s market share, as well as new management at Enphase — including some SunPower alums — shifted the company’s position on a partnership.

Enphase’s Dillon said that though conversations had been ongoing, the business case for an acquisition clarified in November. Because the two companies share a vision about the importance of AC modules and both use 25-year warranties, working together made sense, Dillon said.

“A quality and reliability mindset and a belief in the business future of AC modules can overcome any past animosity,” Dillon said. “In the end, business reasons trump all.”

It also didn’t hurt that at the beginning of last year SunPower investor TJ Rodgers dropped $10 million on Enphase. Dillon said the overlap in staff between the two companies is “no mystery.” While he added that it didn’t push the sale, prior working relationships certainly made it more of a natural fit.

As Greentech Media previously reported, SunPower modules will no longer include SolarBridge microinverters. Dillon said the transition from that technology to Enphase products should start in Q4 of this year, after the sale closes, and be complete by Q1 2019. Enphase will develop a completely custom product for integration into SunPower modules.

Enphase won’t ditch SolarBridge’s technology altogether. The company brings a line of over 140 patents and some could be integrated into Enphase’s products, though Dillon said decisions on which to include have not been made.

“It’s more choices for our engineers,” he said. “If you think of patents…as a buffet, our engineers will have more and different things to eat at the buffet when they create a new technology.”

Dillon also said there are no planned changes for Enphase’s existing partnership with SolarWorld, which SunPower acquired in April.

Recently Enphase seems to be clawing its way back to a comfortable position. In its Q1 2018 earnings, the company reported its 2017 net loss decreased from the year prior and that its revenue was up 11 percent from the same quarter in 2017.

Dillon paints the future as rosy. He said he’s not concerned about Trump administration solar tariffs; all he sees is growth.

“There are tremendous opportunities for growth, and we know what they are,” he said, “The stock has to go up, just math tells you that.”

With its next-generation products, the IQ 8 and Ensemble, Enphase will focus more heavily on the off-grid and grid-agnostic market, where Dillon said appetite is growing tremendously. He predicts that more customers investigating those options will bring a “sea change” in the solar market. Enphase plans to get ahead of it.

As for further consolidation in the inverter space, Dillon said he hopes the landscape doesn’t tighten too much, lest it restrict innovation.

“The market is large enough that there needs to be a healthy number of different companies competing in different niches and ways of skinning the cat,” said Dillon.

But, he added, motioning to the trade show floor, “Our industry is an acquiring industry. If you look around, a whole bunch of these folks will probably buy each other.”

SunPower’s solar panels to power the first piloted stratospheric solar flight

SunPower’s solar panels to power the first piloted stratospheric solar flight

SolarStratos (prototype pictured) aims to reach the stratosphere more than 80,000 feet above Earth using SunPower solar technology /SunPower SunPower has joined the “Mission SolarStratos” expedition as the exclusive solar cell provider for its aircraft. […]

Known as one of the world’s most innovative and sustainable energy companies headquartered in California’s Silicon Valley, SunPower has a pioneering legacy of powering unique solar projects.

Within the next two years, SolarStratos is expected to be the first solar-powered plane to soar above the Earth’s troposphere and into the stratosphere – flying twice as high as a commercial airliner’s typical cruising altitude – without a drop of fossil fuel.

SunPower® Maxeon® solar cells were selected for SolarStratos aircraft’s because they are highly efficient, durable, lightweight, and about as thin as a human hair.

On the next generation SolarStratos plane, SunPower’s 24-percent efficient cells will be incorporated into the wings and horizontal stabilizer to power an electrical engine and charge a 20-kilowatt-hour (kWh) lithium-ion battery for energy supply when the sun is out of sight.

SunPower, First Solar close on sale of yieldco 8point3

SunPower, First Solar close on sale of yieldco 8point3

Pixabay The story of yieldco 8point3 Energy Partners is coming to a conclusion. Born as the result of a tryst between two large solar companies that never really saw eye to eye and had other priorities, it experienced a promising but ultimately troubled youth, and is now wed to wed to a conservative, stable asset manager. Any rumors that it has moved to the suburbs have not been substantiated.[…]

Yesterday SunPower and First Solar closed on the sale of their respective shares of 8point3 Energy Partners to Capital Dynamics, as revealed in SEC filings. First Solar received $240 million from the sale, and SunPower $360 million.

The sale of 8point3 comes as both companies have moved away from project development and back to their original mission of manufacturing. Both First Solar and SunPower are expanding their manufacturing in different ways, which inevitably burns through cash, although the circumstances of each are different.

First Solar is currently in the midst of a billion-dollar retooling of its factories to produce the new, large-format Series 6. Along with this, it is expanding its capacity at two new factories in Vietnam and a new 1.2 GW plant in Ohio, which broke ground earlier this month.

All of this activity is expensive, and First Solar has burned through nearly 1.3 billion in cash during the last three quarters. However, at the end of the first quarter the company was still sitting on a war chest of $1.9 billion in cash and equivalents to fund its ongoing work.

SunPower is in a very different situation. Despite its technological successes, even before the Section 201 tariffs the company had been consistently unable to turn a profit. SunPower was down to $261,000 in cash and equivalents at the end of Q1, and has chosen to quit its utility-scale development activities and sell off its microinverter business to Enphase.

As such, for SunPower the sale of 8point3 brings in much-needed cash. The funds have already been committed to pay off a bridge loan that SunPower secured from a French bank a month ago. This in turn allowed SunPower to pay off convertible loan certificates, much of which were held by its majority owner, Total.

While the bridge loan was for only $300 million in principal, it is unclear how much will be left over after SunPower pays for interest and fees. But this is not the end of SunPower’s financial obligations, as it is planning to acquire SolarWorld Americas’ Oregon factory for an undisclosed price.

As for 8point3, its shares will no longer be traded on the NASDAQ, and shareholders received only $12.48 per share. This was a bitter pill for independent shareholders, and the company’s stock price collapsed in early February on the news of the terms.

At last count 8point3 held 946 MW-AC of U.S. solar projects, the vast majority of which were utility-scale and located in California.

This 32kW plane will fly twice as high as commercial jets on SunPower

This 32kW plane will fly twice as high as commercial jets on SunPower

  SunPower isn’t just powering roofs and solar farms these days. The company, which touts its solar panels as the most durable and efficient on the market, is looking at other applications. I’d be hard pressed to find one as awesome as the upcoming Mission SolarStratos expedition which will be powered by its 22-24% efficient Maxeon™ solar cells.[…]

The SolarStratos is an electric plane that has the flight characteristics of a low drag glider. It has extremely long thin wings and a very small profile. However it is outfitted with an electric motor, a very efficient front propeller, and wings and tail covered with around 24 square meters of solar panels. Inside fit up to 2 pilots in fighter configuration and what appears to be a 20kWh battery (nearly the same size as the 125 mile Hyundai IONIQ).

Interestingly this plane will not be pressurized, requiring the pilots to wear space suits that are also powered by the energy from the solar panels and stored in the battery.

Some stats from the press release (below):

  • Length: 8.5 meters – about 30 feet, or the distance from the end zone to the 10-yard line on an American football field
  • Wingspan: 24.8 meters – about 81 feet, or the length of two standard city buses
  • Weight: 450 kilograms – about as heavy as a grand piano; to make SolarStratos its lightest, the cabin will not be pressurized, requiring pilots to wear astronaut suits that are pressurized by solar energy
  • Engine: 32-kilowatt electrical engine, about one-third the size of what would power an electric vehicle
  • Energy: 22 square meters of SunPower Maxeon solar cells, each reaching 22 to 24 percent efficiency
  • Batteries: One 20-kilowatt lithium ion battery
  • Autonomy: Self-generates electricity with solar to power the plane for more than 12 hours

SunPower has been part of the solar industry consolidation of late amid lower profits, tax uncertainty and squeezing margins. Pairing up with SolarStratos is likely more marketing than actual new business model, however.

That said, and the reason it is interesting to us, is that we’re slowly moving toward electric powered flight being a reality for long haul aviation. Right now, electric aviation is limited to short flights with limited cargo but with improving battery technologies, stronger, lighter building materials and theoretically solar wings, range could be improved to where electric flight makes sense for many more applications.

Solar panels as thin as a hair, almost weightless and durable that can deliver 22-24% efficiency are an important part of that mix.

If this thing can get up to 60,000 feet and fly all day, we’re on our way.

SunPower debuts the newest record breaking 370-watt X-Series panels at Intersolar Europe

“Building on over 30 years of experience and more than 9 gigawatts of solar generating clean energy worldwide, SunPower continues to raise the bar with record-setting solar technology,” said Gabi Bunea, SunPower vice president, research and development. “By engineering greater efficiency solar panels, we can fit more watts on the roof in the same amount of space when compared to conventional solar, offering customers the best value for energy.”[…]

The 370-watt X-Series solar panel offers 60 percent more power than a conventional solar panel from the same amount of roof space over 25 years. It only takes 15 SunPower panels to produce as much energy as 22 conventional panels, which means homeowners require fewer panels to generate an equal amount of electricity. Made with third-generation SunPower® Maxeon® solar cells that are built on a solid metal foundation for high reliability and performance, SunPower panels are virtually impervious to the corrosion and cracking that typically degrade conventional panels allowing the company to offer an industry-leading 25-year Combined Power and Product Warranty.

“In mature solar markets such as Europe, our customers expect high-quality, proven technology, and we’re meeting those demands with SunPower’s record-setting solar panels,” said Chris de Jong, director of Netherlands’ Isogoed Duurzaam Besparen B.V. and one of SunPower’s 1,400 installation partners operating around the world. “We look forward to helping more homeowners save on monthly electric bills with a growing range of high-efficiency, reliable solar solutions from SunPower.”

In addition, this year SunPower is expanding its suite of residential solar solutions for homeowners in EMEA and parts of APAC with the P-19 Series (P-19) solar panel offering 19 percent efficiency, which is currently available to commercial customers in select APAC markets. Engineered with the same innovative shingled cell design as the 17-percent efficient P-Series solar panel used in commercial applications, P-19 uses monocrystaline PERC solar cells to generate up to 32 percent more energy in the same space over 25 years when compared to conventional panels. The P-19 solar panel is a lower cost option compared to SunPower’s E-Series and X-Series panels, yet still delivers high quality and reliability to customers, and is also backed by SunPower’s 25-year Combined Power and Product Warranty.

Visit booth A2.171 at Intersolar Europe in Germany from June 20 to 22 to speak with a SunPower expert or view the solar technology in person. To find out if the new 370-watt X-Series and P-19 solar panels are available in your area, contact your nearest SunPower installer or visit

SunPower’s Forward-Looking Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, but not limited to, statements regarding projected energy output, cost savings, and product performance availability and efficiency. These forward-looking statements are based on our current assumptions, expectations, and beliefs and involve substantial risks and uncertainties that may cause results, performance, or achievement to materially differ from those expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. Factors that could cause or contribute to such differences include, but are not limited to: regulatory changes and the availability of economic incentives promoting use of solar energy, competition and market conditions in the solar and general energy industry, and fluctuations or declines in the performance of our solar panels and other products and solutions. A detailed discussion of these factors and other risks that affect our business is included in filings we make with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) from time to time, including our most recent reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, particularly under the heading “Risk Factors.” A copy of this filing is available online from the SEC or on the SEC Filings section of our Investor Relations website at All forward-looking statements in this press release are based on information currently available to us, and we assume no obligation to update these forward-looking statements in light of new information or future events.

SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) has high hopes for Hillsboro SolarWorld factory - Portland Business Journal

SunPower Corp. (Nasdaq: SPWR) has high hopes for Hillsboro SolarWorld factory – Portland Business Journal

In SunPower Corp.’s first earnings call since announcing a deal to acquire SolarWorld Americas Inc. , analysts trying to figure out the effect of the transaction on shareholder value weren’t able to wring a purchase price out of executives. […]

But they did get hints, in addition to more information about how the San Jose-based company thinks the Hillsboro plant can help its bottom line.

“For various reasons, I cannot give the specifics of the purchase price, but we do not consider the cash consideration material to our financials,” Chairman and CEO Tom Werner said Tuesday.

Later in the call, Executive Vice President and CFO Chuck Boynton reiterated that, but did talk about the upside potential of the deal.

“What I would tell you is the bull case is extremely accretive,” Boynton said. “And again, that will unfold over the next couple of years.”

Boynton went on to say: “We think the technical synergies are quite high. We know how to run factories at a world-class level, and we can improve operations and improve reliability and quality. And so there’s a very great bull case, and we don’t put the downside cases very high. And so I would say neutral from a planning standpoint, but we think that we can do better and really drive good profits and make it significantly accretive over time.”

SunPower executives said again that they were motivated to make the deal by the Trump administration’s solar tariffs — sought by SolarWorld after its parent company SolarWorld AG went bankrupt last year.

Werner was asked by an analyst: “Simple question, would you do the SolarWorld deal if there were no Section 201 tariff?”

His one-word answer: “Unlikely.”

SunPower has said that it expects the deal to close after regulatory review by the end of June.

SunPower to buy SolarWorld Americas in deal that will blunt impact of Trump tariffs on imported panels

SunPower to buy SolarWorld Americas in deal that will blunt impact of Trump tariffs on imported panels

SunPower plans to ‘inject fresh capital’ in SolarWorld’s plant in Oregon SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) has agreed to acquire competitor SolarWorld Americas of Hillsboro, Oregon, as SunPower looks to capitalize on what it called “strong U.S. market demand” for solar panels and to reduce the impact of Trump administration […]

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) has agreed to acquire competitor SolarWorld Americas of Hillsboro, Oregon, as SunPower looks to capitalize on what it called “strong U.S. market demand” for solar panels and to reduce the impact of Trump administration tariffs on imported panels.

SunPower did not say what it will pay for SolarWorld Americas. However, it did say it plans to “inject fresh capital” into the SolarWorld Americas facility in Oregon, though it did not specify the size of the planned investment.

Reuters noted that while SunPower is based in San Jose, California, most of its manufacturing is in Mexico and the Philippines. Reuters said the Trump administration tariffs were the result in part of a solar trade case brought by U.S. manufacturers, including SolarWorld, which claimed they could not compete with cheap imports.

Shares of SunPower were down around 5% in premarket trading on Monday, at US$9.20 a share.

Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and chairman, said SolarWorld Americas “provides a great platform for us to implement our advanced P-Series solar panel manufacturing technology right here in our home market.”

“P-Series technology was invented and perfected in Silicon Valley, and will now be built in SolarWorld Americas’ factory, helping to reshape solar manufacturing in America,” Werner said.

Jürgen Stein, CEO of SolarWorld Americas, said the company is “thrilled about this acquisition as it means quite simply that our company can look forward to redoubled strength as it continues to innovate and expand into the future.”

SunPower said it will invest in factory improvements while retrofitting a portion of the Oregon facility to produce P-Series solar panels, “in addition to continuing to produce and ship SolarWorld Americas’ legacy products.”

SunPower said the agreement is subject to U.S. and German regulatory approvals and other closing conditions. At closing, which is expected in the next several months, SunPower said it will become the largest U.S. solar panel manufacturer.

SunPower Set to Create New Photovoltaic Production Facility in U.S.

(Bloomberg) — President Donald Trump wanted more U.S. solar-power manufacturing jobs when he cracked down on imports — now he’s getting them.

SunPower Corp. will announce in about three weeks plans for a U.S. photovoltaic production plant to make some of the panels it now makes abroad, Chief Executive Officer Tom Werner said Friday in a phone interview. The U.S.-based company currently makes most of its power-generating panels in Asia and Mexico.

The choice of location is between two sites in two western states, Werner said. Production would begin in less than 10 months, and the company will speed that up by selecting an unused, existing plant. But it’s too soon to disclose manufacturing capacity or employment at the new facility, he said.

“This is a decision driven by the direction that this administration wants to go,” Werner said.

Tariffs were a factor, and SunPower, based in San Jose, California, will continue a tariff exemption request for other equipment it imports, Werner said. So was capturing market share in the U.S. West, where panels are most in demand, he said. Photovoltaic Production in the United States would partially exempt SunPower from the 30% tariff’s that President Trump levied earlier this year against solar panel importers whose Photovoltaic Production is done in foreign markets.

photovoltaic production by country

The news comes hours after China-based JinkoSolar Holding Co. said it will open a plant in Jacksonville, Florida, that will employ 200 people making 7 million solar panels over four years for NextEra Energy Inc., owner of the state’s largest utility.

When he enacted the tariffs in January, Trump said the duties will encourage solar manufacturing in the U.S. “Our action today helps to create jobs in America, for Americans,” he said.

Should SunPower build the photovoltaic production plant in the U.S. they can make the claim that thier panels are made in America, potentially removing the tariffs levied by the President earlier this year.

SunPower seeks tariff waiver, cites plan for U.S. expansion

SunPower seeks tariff waiver, cites plan for U.S. expansion

(Reuters) – SunPower Corp ( SPWR.O ) on Friday asked the Trump administration to exempt a segment of its solar panel imports from new tariffs, saying the move would allow it to reverse proposed investment cuts and ease plans to expand U.S. panel manufacturing. […]

The request by SunPower, which is majority owned by France’s Total SA (TOTF.PA), marks the first attempt by a major U.S. solar company to sidestep a controversial 30 percent levy on imported panels announced by President Donald Trump in January.

Trump had said the tariff would boost U.S. manufacturing, but many in the industry have warned of higher costs and thousands of layoffs in the much-bigger installation end of the solar industry.

“We understand the administration’s goals,” SunPower Chief Executive Tom Werner said in an interview. “We think we can contribute positively to those objectives.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

It could not determined which other companies had filed such requests with the U.S. Trade Representative by the deadline on Friday.

SunPower’s request covers only its imported premium, high-efficiency panels, and not the less efficient and cheaper “P-series” panels which dominate the market, Werner said.

San Jose, California-based SunPower manufactures most of its panels in the Philippines and Mexico.

Werner said an exemption would allow SunPower to “materially” reverse a decision made immediately after the tariff announcement in January to cancel a $20 million investment in its next-generation cell technology that would have created hundreds of jobs in California and Texas . SunPower last month said the tariff would force it to cut 150 to 250 non-manufacturing jobs.

The cheaper P-series panels could be made at a new U.S. facility that the company would build, probably in the Southwest, Werner said, noting that SunPower was in the process of narrowing down its options to two locations.

“This is not hypothetical. We’re ready to make this happen,” he said, adding that an exemption for premium panel imports would “facilitate” this plan.

A big investment in solar panel manufacturing as a result of the tariff would mark a win for the Trump administration, but so far the industry remains focused on the fate of the installation business, which employs tens of thousands of people.

Only China’s JinkoSolar (JKS.N) has said it plans to build a U.S. manufacturing facility, and SolarWorld, one of the panel producers behind the trade case that resulted in the tariffs, has said it will hire 200 employees this year.

Suniva, the bankrupt company that first petitioned the administration in April to impose tariffs, has not publicly outlined its plans.

The exemption request will undergo a 30-day comment period before the U.S. Trade Representative makes a decision.