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tva invests in efficiency 12 review: Passive Solar Architecture 15 Pushing thermoelectric cell Performance 16
courtesy oF sunPower corP.
In late April, French oil and gas giant Total assumed 60 percent ownership of SunPower, the second- largest solar manufacturer in the United States.
Total’s tendered offer of $23.25 per share — a 46
percent premium over the “A” share price the day
before the announcement — values the San Jose,
Calif.-based company at $2.3 billion.
SunPower, which is in the midst of ramping its
production capacity from 580 megawatts (MW)
today to 1 gigawatt (GW) by year’s end, praised the
$1 billion in credit support the arrangement will pro-
vide. “Total’s commitment and global presence will
help accelerate our growth,” SunPower CEO Tom
Werner said in a statement. “Our relationship with
Total will improve our capital structure, enabling Sun-
Power to accelerate our power plant and commercial
development businesses, and expand our manufac-
turing capacity with lower cash requirements.”
On Total’s part, the move is not all that surprising.
The sixth-largest oil corporation in the world, Total
moved into solar in the early 1980s, and has since
established affiliations with Tenesol, a French panel
producer, and Photovoltech, a Belgian back-contact
crystalline solar cell manufacturer. Total was also a
minority shareholder in U.S. solar companies Konarka
and AE Polysilicon.
For SunPower, the move promises to shake up
a company that reported relatively grim first-quar-
ter 2011 results. On the year, revenue had risen 30
percent to $451.4 million, but overall profits fell by
$14.7 million, for a loss of $2.1 million. Following the
Total announcement, SunPower shares soared almost
40 percent, moving from a close of $16.21 to $22.60
the next day. — MIkE kOSHMRL
Total Bids $1.4 Billion for
Controlling Stake in SunPower
SunPower designed and
built this 17-megawatt
tracking array, commissioned in December in
Alamosa County, Colo.