While other companies are pulling back from the residential and commercial solar markets, citing tough conditions and sluggish growth, SunPower continues its expansion in both markets thanks to generous funding partners.
The panel manufacturer announced Friday it had raised $53 million from South African bank Investec Plc to fund residential projects in eight states, according to a Bloomberg Markets news report. This follows on its $140 million deal with True Green Capital Management earlier this month to fund commercial projects in five states.
This is a bold move for SunPower, and comes as two of the three largest residential solar installers – Tesla and Vivint Solar – have scaled back their ambitions for the residential market.
It also comes at a time when dedicated funds to deploy residential and commercial solar are on the decline. According to Mercom Capital’s most recent report, funds to deploy residential and commercial solar fell during 2017 through September from $3.5 billion to $2.2 billion year-on-year.
One other dark cloud that could be slowing funding growth – despite the likelihood that the commercial and residential sectors will be the least affected – is the Section 201 trade action filed by bankrupt panel manufacturer Suniva and joined by struggling panel manufacturer SolarWorld a month later.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has found that Suniva and SolarWorld have suffered enough injury from international competition to warrant imposing penalties on imports. It will announce its recommendations in eight days, after which it will deliver a report to President Donald J. Trump on Nov. 13.
The commission’s recommendations are not legally binding, and Trump can impose whatever tariffs he deems appropriate. He has indicated in multiple reports he is not only open to imposing tariffs but is anxious to do so.
pv magazine has requested details from SunPower and will add updates as possible.
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