Solar PV module maker SunPower says it is splitting the company in two: SunPower on one side, and the newly formed Maxeon Solar Technologies on the other. Both will be publicly traded, independent companies.
“We believe that the solar industry is entering a period of extended growth, where success will be driven by value-chain specialization, technology innovation and economies of scale,” says Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower. “This new structure and investment will create two focused businesses, each with unique expertise to excel in their part of the value chain.”
Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co. Ltd. (TZS), a longtime SunPower partner and supplier of silicon wafers, has made a $298 million equity investment to help finance the scale‐up of Maxeon 5 production capacity.
Tom Werner will continue as CEO and chairman of the board of SunPower, and the company will maintain its corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley, as well as its employee and economic investment footprint across the U.S. and Canada, and its large, exclusive dealer network.
SunPower will focus on “product innovation, downstream high-efficiency solar systems and high-growth storage and energy services.” The company also will continue its commitment to American manufacturing with its Hillsboro, Ore., Performance Series module assembly facility.
At the time of the separation, SunPower and Maxeon Solar will enter into a multi-year exclusive supply agreement covering sales within the U.S. and Canada of products manufactured by Maxeon Solar. Under the new structure, SunPower will continue to develop its dealer network.
The two companies will cooperate to develop and commercialize next generation solar panel technologies, with early stage research conducted by SunPower’s Silicon Valley-based research and development group, and deployment-focused innovation and scale-up carried out by Maxeon Solar.
Jeff Waters, currently CEO of SunPower’s Technologies business unit, has been named Maxeon Solar’s CEO. Maxeon Solar has been incorporated and will be headquartered in Singapore, and its ordinary shares are expected to be traded on NASDAQ.
Maxeon Solar will own and operate solar cell and panel manufacturing facilities located in France, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines. It will also maintain its R&D, marketing and sales footprint outside of the U.S. and Canada.
Maxeon Solar will focus on bringing panel technology to high-volume scale. It will market its high-efficiency solar panels under the SunPower brand into the global marketplace. Maxeon Solar will also maintain 20% ownership of the Performance Series manufacturing joint venture with Huansheng Photovoltaic [Jiangsu] Company Ltd. and will continue to market those panels globally.
SunPower expects to complete the separation and Maxeon Solar equity investment in the second quarter of 2020.