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Sunpower continues its Innovative Streak

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SunPower pairs Solar Installations with lithium ion batteries

SunPower (SPWR) plans to add storage options to its solar energy installations, most probably lithium ion batteries. The company has experience with advanced lead acid and zinc bromide batteries as it has already pilot run such energy storage projects in recent years. Lithium ion batteries are however believed to be a breakthrough in this segment. Companies like SolarCity, Hanwha Solar, SunEdison are also working on developing this technology. SunPower plans to enter into PPAs with project developers, dealers and customers and leases for homeowners. 

SunPower is eyeing the countries where Government incentives are available like Germany, Japan and California. Lithium ion batteries are an expensive technology and hence financial aid is needed. The Governments should encourage such practices and inventions more as they will serve the dual purpose of going green and conserving energy. Solar installations if paired by storage options, will eliminate the need to look back upon the grid for energy needs. The battery can be used to store the solar energy which can be used later, when there is no sunlight.

Sunpower is a vertically integrated solar energy company known more for its highest efficiency solar panels.The company bought Powerlight a few years ago to enter the solar systems market and has bolstered the business constantly to become a major global installer. Sunpower is present in all 3 segments of the solar systems business namely a) residential b) commercial and c) utility. It is one of the largest US installers and also won a number of large utility contracts for building solar farms.

SPWR Chart

The graph above shows the Price/ sales ratio of SPWR. As we can see it was very high during 2009. This was due to the boom during that time in the solar industry. However the graph shows a steady decline during the next couple of years, reaching the all time lows during 2012-13. Good signs are again seen, with the ratio increasing since 2013.
SunPower has made an innovative and efficient move. Though it has to keep an eye on competition. SolarCity is one of the biggest competitors of SunPower, since it entered into the utility sector after earlier being into the pure solar installation business. SunCity was also sued by SunPower for corporate espionage.

CEO Tom Werner told analysts that selling energy increasingly will require more comprehensive solutions, including energy storage technologies, and explained “this is a fundamental change in how solar companies compete.”

 Adding energy storage reflects the evolution of the company, which started off as a solar cell and panel maker before it entered the power plant development business. But lithium-ion batteries “will likely be the first technology to have an impact,” said Jack Peurach, executive vice president of products. The emergence of electric cars plays a role in making lithium-ion battery the front runner for being paired with solar, he added.

Sneha Shah

I am Sneha, the Editor-in-chief for the Blog. We would be glad to receive suggestions, inputs & comments on GWI from you guys to keep it going! You can contact me for consultancy/trade inquires by writing an email to

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