SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) today announced its definitive agreement with Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (TZS); Sichuan Development Holding Co., Ltd.; Leshan Electric Power Co., Ltd.; and Tianjin Tsinlien Investment Holding Co., Ltd. to form a joint venture with plans to develop and own at least three gigawatts of photovoltaic (PV) power plants in the People’s Republic of China (PRC). The power plants, to be located in the Sichuan Province, are expected to be built primarily with high-efficiency, low-concentration photovoltaic (LCPV) technology.
The joint venture, Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co., Ltd., based inChengdu, Sichuan, PRC, is expected to incorporate the proprietary LCPV SunPower™ C7 Tracker (C7) technology into the power plants planned for development. The definitive agreement provides that SunPower will invest up to approximately $20 million, amounting to a 4.6 percent ownership stake in the venture. The joint venture is subject to the approval of the PRC government, with initial LCPV deployment expected to begin in 2015.
“In a short period of time, SunPower has begun to tap into China’s tremendous, growing market, where our leading technology is well suited to the environment and is in demand,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO, following an agreement signing ceremony in Chengdu. “Once again, this new joint venture brings together the strength and expertise of each partner to achieve a common goal of providing clean solar energy to the people of China. With an expected pipeline of more than three gigawatts, we see tremendous opportunity for SunPower and our partners.”
“Today, our five partners together realized the dream of investing in environmentally friendly, resource saving, high efficiency PV power plant projects,” said Qu Defu, Tianjin Zhonghuan Electronic and Information (Group) Co., Ltd. general manager. “I believe that with each partner’s strong collaboration, continuous effort, efficient planning, effective execution, as well as our common vision of providing reliable and highly efficient renewable energy projects, we can realize our common goal to build high quality PV projects and boost local economy.”
Today’s announcement marks SunPower’s second joint venture agreement in China. In December of 2012, SunPower signed a definitive agreement to form the Huaxia CPV (Inner Mongolia) Power Co., Ltd. joint venture. It was officially approved and registered in November of 2013 and includes SunPower, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Inner Mongolia Power (Group) Co., Ltd. and Hohhot Jinqiao City Development Company, Ltd.
To date, a 300-megawatt (MW) C7 cell receiver manufacturing facility has been constructed in the Jinqiao Development Zone, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, and three 50-MW production lines are now in operation in connection with the Huaxia joint venture. Last March, SunPower announced the sale of more than 70 MW of cell packages to the joint venture. These packages are being used for the first phase of the SunPower LCPV projects, which includes a 20-MW project in Saihan and a 100-MW project in Wuchuan. Both are located in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, and completion is expected in 2015.
SunPower’s LCPV technology combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors that reflect light onto SunPower’s high-efficiency, third-generation Maxeon solar cells with efficiencies of up to 24.5 percent. The mirrors reduce the number of cells required to generate electricity, lowering the levelized cost of energy when compared with competing technologies.
The capacity of cell packages in this release are described in approximate megawatts on a direct current (dc) basis.
About SunPower Corporation
SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) designs, manufactures and delivers the highest efficiency, highest reliability solar panels and systems available today. Residential, business, government and utility customers rely on the company’s quarter century of experience and guaranteed performance to provide maximum return on investment throughout the life of the solar system. Headquartered in San Jose, Calif., SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia, Africa and Asia. For more information, visit www.sunpower.com.
About Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor
Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd. (TZS) is a Tianjin-based PRC listed company with a registered capital of RMB 724,244,412. TZS is committed to the semiconductor energy-efficiency industry and the new energy industry, and is an integrated high-tech enterprise with research, production, operation and venture capital functions. Its main products include vertical pulling monocrystalline, zone melting monocrystalline, polished wafer, semiconductor power devices and rectifiers used in the semiconductor energy-efficiency sector; and monocrystalline silicon used in the new energy sector. These products are widely applied in smart grid transmission, new-energy vehicles, high-speed railways, inverters for wind power, integrated circuits, consumer electronics, aerospace, photovoltaic power, and other areas.
About Sichuan Development Holding Co., Ltd.
Sichuan Development Holding is an investment arm of Sichuan provincial government. Sichuan Development invests and manages over RMB23 billion of assets in various infrastructure projects.
About Leshan Electric Power Co., Ltd.
Leshan Electric Power Co., Ltd is a China-based company primarily engaged in the electric power generation and distribution, as well as natural gas purchase and distribution. Through its subsidiaries, the company is involved in the generation of hydroelectric power, production and sale of polysilicon, mining and sale of coals, supply of civil water as well as operation of hotels. The company primarily operates its businesses within domestic market.
About Tianjin Tsinlien Investment Holding Co., Ltd
Tianjin Tsinlien Investment Holding Co., Ltd. is an investment company established with the investment of the state-owned Assets Supervision and Administrative Commission of the Tianjin Municipal Government.
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: (a) the formation of a new joint venture company; (b) development and ownership of up to three gigawatts of PV power plants; (c) deployment of SunPower’s LCPV tracker technology in the PRC; (d) SunPower investing up to approximately $20 million in the joint venture; (e) expected demand in China; and (f) the projected completion dates of projects contemplated under both joint ventures. 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: (i) the establishment of the joint venture not being approved by the relevant authorities of the PRC government; (ii) the joint venture’s ability to successfully develop, construct, operate and maintain photovoltaic power plants in the PRC; (iii) the impact of regulatory changes and the continuation of governmental and related economic incentives promoting the use of solar power, including the timing and magnitude of feed-in-tariff policy in the PRC; (iv) potential difficulties associated with operating the joint venture; (v) SunPower or its joint venture in Inner Mongolia creating a low cost supply chain for LCPV tracker technology and meeting cost reduction targets; (vi) the joint venture’s ability to obtain financing for power plant projects; (vii) general business and economic conditions, including seasonality of the solar industry and growth trends in the solar industry; (viii) construction difficulties or potential delays, including obtaining land use rights, permits, licenses, or other governmental approvals; (ix) trade barriers and potential duties; and (x) the success of SunPower’s ongoing research and development efforts and commercialization of new products and services. 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 Form 10-K and Form 10-Q, particularly under the heading “Risk Factors.” Copies of these filings are available online from the SEC or on the SEC Filings section of our Investor Relations website at investors.sunpower.com. 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.
SOURCE SunPower Corp.