Thursday, March 27, 2014

SunPower Sells 70 MW Packages in China

SunPower Corp. (SPWR - Analyst Report) has plans to supply 70 megawatts (MW) of cell packages comprising C7 solar concentrator photovoltaic technology to a Chinese consortium, the Huaxia Concentrated Photovoltaic Power Co., Ltd., a joint venture (JV) in Inner Mongolia, China. The move marks the company’s endeavor to enhance its foothold in the Chinese market. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed by the companies.

The company will supply the cell packages for the initial phase of two SunPower C7 Tracker (C7) projects. These include a 20 MW project in Saihan and another to be located in Wuchuan with a capacity of 100 MW. Both the projects are located in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia and are slated for completion in 2015.

The C7 utilizes the single-axis tracking technology and rows of parabolic mirrors. It uses SunPower’s most efficient third-generation Maxeon solar cells with efficiencies of up to 24.5%. C7 empowered plants will generate more electricity by using less number of cells compared to other existing technologies. For example, such a plant can generate 400 MW of power using less than 70 MW of SunPower cells.

The latest deal with Huaxia Concentrated Photovoltaic Power JV was initially signed in Dec 2012. Apart from SunPower, the consortium consists of Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Inner Mongolia Power (Group) Co., Ltd. and Hohhot Jinqiao City Development Company, Ltd. The deal gained its final approval in Nov 2013.

Last year, China installed a record 12 GW of solar panels, making it the world's largest solar market in 2013, overtaking longtime leader Germany. The solar product manufacturing companies are speeding up their operations in China thanks to the government turning more and more stringent on environmental issues. The electricity generators are implementing new measures to bring down emission levels of greenhouse gases. At present, nearly 70% of China’s electricity is generated from coal-fired power plants. The country is taking active steps to idle the high operating cost coal mines. China aims to double its generating capacity by 2030, with half of all new plants having renewable sources of power. China is anticipated to install up to 14 GW of solar power this year.

The company currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Players in the solar industry with a favorable Zacks Rank include Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ - Analyst Report), JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (JKS - Snapshot Report) and Trina Solar Limited (TSL - Snapshot Report). While Canadian Solar holds a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), JinkoSolar Holding and Trina Solar carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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