SunPower Acquires SolarWorld Americas

US-based SunPower Eyes Home Production With Trade Tariffs In the Way And Announces Acquisition Of SolarWorld Americas
05:27 AM (Beijing Time) - 20. April 2018

With the acquisition of SolarWorld Americas, SunPower will add to its portfolio SolarWorld's Hilsboro production capacity of 430 MW for cells and 550 MW for modules. (Photo Credit: SolarWorld Americas)

Key Takeaways

  • SunPower has announced 100% acquisition of SolarWorld Amercias and its Hillsboro, Oregon based ingot to module fab
  • SunPower will inject fresh capital into the module facility and retrofit a portion for P-series solar panel manufacturing technology
  • It will carry out factory improvements, while also manufacturing existing product line of SolarWorld
  • Next several months will see necessary regulatory approvals from the US and German authorities for the deal to achieve closure

US-based SunPower Corp. will finally have a large manufacturing facility on its home turf. It has fully acquired the SolarWorld Americas, headquartered in Hillsboro, Oregon. This one adds to SunPower’s production facilities in the Philippines, Malaysia and Mexico.

SolarWorld Americas has an annual production capacity of 430 MW for cells and 550 MW for modules, as per information available on its website. The ingot/wafer fab has not been in operations.

SunPower’s management did not reveal the financial terms of the acquisition, but it will inject fresh capital into the newly acquired facility and ‘implement its leading-edge, high-efficiency P-series solar panel manufacturing technology’. Factory improvements will be carried out by SunPower. The company will continue with the existing product line of the SolarWorld Americas, which produces PERC modules in the US, but will retrofit a portion to produce its P-Series shingle-technology panels.

“The time is right for SunPower to invest in US manufacturing, and 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,” said  Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and Chairman of the board.

Regulatory approvals from the US and German authorities are needed before the deal can be finalized. SunPower expects the deal to close in the next several months.

Germany’s insolvent SolarWorld part, SolarWorld Americas and now bust Suniva Inc., which was owned mostly by a Chinese investor, had petitioned the US government for trade tariffs on imported solar cell and modules, which led into President Donald Trump announcing a 30% import tariff in January 2018 (see Trump Slaps 30% Tariff On Imported Cells & Modules).

Before the decision was announced, Tom Werner in a blog post had made a seething remark against the petitioners, “This case has been presented by some as protecting American industry from foreign manufacturers. However, as the Administration begins its formal review, I’m confident that they will recognize that the companies asking for help are German- and China-owned. They are not creating jobs for themselves or others.”

 Now, as Reuters reports ‘The White House cheered the deal, saying it was proof that Trump’s trade policies were stimulating US investment’. In an interview with GTM Research, Werner said, “This move aligns us … with the current administration. So that’s really the catalyst.”

Stock-listed but with French energy company Total as its major shareholder, SunPower has requested the US government to allow for specific products to be exempted from the tariffs, as hitherto it did not have a US based manufacturing facility (see Strong Q4, Weak 2017 For SunPower). The government is yet to provide a response to this.

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani