SunPower recently announced that it plans to separate into two independent, complementary companies: SunPower and Maxeon Solar Technologies (Maxeon Solar). SunPower will continue as a distributed generation, storage and energy services company, while the new Maxeon Solar will be the innovator, manufacturer and marketer of solar panels.
Concurrent with the transaction, an equity investment of $298 million will be made in Maxeon Solar by partner Tianjin Shonghuman Semiconductor Co, Ltd., a global supplier of silicon wafers, to help finance the scale-up of Maxeon 5 production capacity.
"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," said 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."
At the time of separation, SunPower and Maxeon Solar will have entered into a multi-year exclusive supply agreement, covering sales within the U.S. and Canada of products manufactured by Maxeon Solar. The two companies will cooperate to develop and commercialize solar panel technologies, with early-stage research conducted by SunPower’s research and development (R&D) group and deployment-focused innovation and scale-up carried out by Maxeon Solar.
Werner will continue as CEO and chairman of the board of SunPower, and the company will remain headquartered in Silicon Valley (CA), as well as its employee and economic investment footprint across the U.S. and Canada, and its exclusive dealer network.
SunPower will focus on product innovation, downstream high-efficiency solar systems plus high-growth storage and energy services. It will continue its manufacturing at its Hillsboro, OR, Performance Series module assembly facility. Under the new structure, it will continue to develop its dealer network.
Jeff Waters, current CEO of SunPower’s technologies business unit, has been named as Maxeon Solar’s CEO. It will be headquartered in Singapore with its ordinary shares expected to be traded on NASDAQ. It will own and operate solar cell and panel manufacturing facilities 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 continuing to bring its panel technology to high volume scale. It will market its high-efficiency solar panels under the SunPower brand into the global marketplace and into the U.S. and Canada via their exclusive supply agreement. Maxeon Solar will maintain 20% ownership of the Performance Series manufacturing joint venture and will continue to market those panels globally.