SunPower in late-stage discussions with First Solar to produce solar modules with tandem technology


Evolving from a single-product company, SunPower is now moving to provide the “full energy product eco-system” by providing storage, EV charging, smart home solutions. And soon SunPower will offer choices in solar modules. SunPower CEO, chairman and director, Peter Faricy, announced its new partnership with First Solar, calling it “Tandem Technology” that will combine First Solar’s thin-film semiconductor design with crystalline silicon. The stacked tandem solar module could be available to customers as soon as 18 months.

SunPower/First Solar’s tandem technology design

Image: SunPower

The design differs from traditional silicon or thin film modules, using two different photovoltaic absorbers to harvest more energy. SunPower says that it will be the most sophisticated technology commercially available to residential customers and that it will significantly raise the bar for solar module efficiency and aesthetics.

Meanwhile, SunPower has ambitious plans for the residential market, having recently sold its Commercial & Industrial Solutions (CIS) to TotalEnergies, majority owner of SunPower. In November of last year SunPower hinted at its move away from commercial and more deeply into residential. In February of this year, the company signed the definitive agreement with TotalEnergies, and confirmed that SunPower was putting its eggs in the residential basket

“The sale enables SunPower to focus on creating a superior residential experience, increase our investment in product and digital innovation, and reach more homeowners,” said Peter FaricyCEO of SunPower.

In the analyst briefing, Nate Coleman, chief products officer, said that having a diverse panel offering would help First Solar reach more residential customers. He stated that the company plans to make solar available to 100 million homes (or more), and that by introducing new products the company will maintain its #1 position. “We expect to  obtain the same market share in the mainstream market as we currently have I premium segment over an approximate 6 quarter ramp,” said Coleman.

Coleman also presented the new SunVault whole home backup solution. SunVault Storage, in the form of 26 kWh and 52 kWh configurations, allowing the system to provide customers with backup power for every device in their homes in the event of an outage.

SunPower CEO Peter Faricy kicked off the analyst day presentation saying that by 2026 100 million homeowners will save money with solar. He noted that the two factors working in favor of this growth are increasing utility rates and the positive outlook for clean energy policies. Because policy changes have yet to go into effect, Faricy said that SunPower wouldn’t see a “deal progression” until late in Q2 or early Q3 2022.

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