SunPower Corporation, a large solar technology and energy services provider, announced on March 25th the sale of more than 70 megawatts (MW) of cell packages to the Huaxia Concentrated Photovoltaic Power Co., Ltd., joint venture in Inner Mongolia, China. These packages will be used for the first phase of two SunPower™ C7 Tracker 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.
"Today's announcement is a first step in our aggressive efforts to break into the Chinese market," said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. "Working together with our strong local partners, we believe that we can deploy significant volumes of our SunPower C7 Tracker power plants to help serve China's growing need for clean power."
The definitive agreement for the Huaxia Concentrated Photovoltaic Power JV was initially signed in December of 2012, and officially approved and registered in November of 2013. The JV includes SunPower, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Inner Mongolia Power (Group) Co., Ltd. and Hohhot Jinqiao City Development Company, Ltd. Its focus is to manufacture and deploy SunPower's proprietary C7 concentrator technology in the Chinese market. To date, a 300-MW C7 receiver manufacturing facility has been set up in Jinqiao Development Zone, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, and a 50-MW production line is now in operation.
The C7 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. These mirrors will reduce the number of cells required to generate electricity, lowering the levelized cost of energy when compared to competing technologies. For example, a 400-MW C7 power plant requires less than 70 MW of SunPower cells. Through significant localization of C7 manufacturing and supply chain, and deployment of the C7 for large-scale power plant projects, it is expected that this venture will facilitate the development of a low cost, high volume supply chain and accelerate the cost reduction roadmap of this product.
The capacity of cell packages and power plant projects in this release are described in approximate megawatts on a direct current (dc) basis.