SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) 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 in Chengdu, 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.
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.