San Jose-based SunPower inks joint venture in China

San Jose-based SunPower announced Monday it has signed a joint venture agreement with three partners in China: TZS, Inner Mongolia Power and Hohhot City. The deal, if approved by the Chinese government, allows SunPower to manufacture and deploy its C7 Tracker systems in Inner Mongolia.

Under the terms of the agreement, SunPower will invest $15 million in the $60 million join venture for a 25 percent ownership stake.

Chinese manufacturers like Suntech, Trina and Yingli dominate the photovoltaic solar industry, and manufacturers like SunPower, which is majority-owned by French oil giant Total, have been struggling to cut costs.

But China itself is expected to become a booming solar market as China turns from making solar panels to installing them.

“We believe that we can deploy significant volumes of C7 power plants to help serve China’s growing need for clean power,” said SunPower CEO Tom Werner in a statement. “We also expect that this venture will facilitate the development of a low cost, high volume C7 supply chain and accelerate our C7 cost reduction road map.”

Dana Hull Dana Hull (235 Posts)

Dana Hull covers clean technology and energy policy for the San Jose Mercury News. She often writes about electric vehicles, the smart grid, the solar industry and California energy policy, from RPS goals to Gov. Jerry Brown's big dreams for distributed generation.