TotalEnergies acquiring SunPower’s CIS unit for US$250m

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TotalEnergies said the deal will create synergies with its utility-scale PV portfolio in the US. Image. SunPower.

French energy major TotalEnergies is acquiring US solar installer SunPower’s Commercial and Industrial Solutions (CIS) business for US$250 million.

TotalEnergies, which owns a 50.83% stake in SunPower, said the deal will allow it to extend its distributed generation footprint to the US and to develop more than 100MW of additional capacity per year.

Due to close early in the second quarter, the deal is not expected to reduce TotalEnergies’ ownership in the installer, the companies said.

California-headquartered SunPower announced in October that it was exploring strategic options for the CIS unit as it looks to double down on growth in the residential solar sector, having completed the spin-off of its manufacturing operations to Maxeon Solar Technologies and sale of its operations and maintenance business in 2020.

SunPower CEO Peter Faricy said the sale of CIS will enhance the company’s strategic clarity while enabling it to increase investment in its products and to reach more homeowners.

The company’s residential footprint has been boosted by its US$165 million acquisition last year of Utah-based residential solar provider Blue Raven, a deal it said would enhance its presence in 14 US states.

Publishing its preliminary Q4 results last month, SunPower said it saw a 33% increase in the number of households within its serviceable market in the fourth quarter, thanks in part to business acquisitions, as its residential lead generation hit new highs.

However, the company warned that its Q4 performance will be below the midpoint of its previous guidance after poor weather in California was blamed for installations being pushed back into 2022, while it has also been hit by a cracking issue discovered in connectors associated with equipment installed in some C&I projects, resulting in charges of around US$31 million. The connectors are due to be largely replaced this year.

For TotalEnergies, the CIS acquisition forms part of efforts to develop its distributed generation business, which currently has close to 500MW in operation worldwide. The deal is also expected to create synergies with its large-scale PV portfolio in the US while helping its business customers meet their sustainable development goals.

Vincent Stoquart, senior vice president of renewables for TotalEnergies, said the acquisition “is a new milestone in our renewable development” in the US, where the company is targeting 4GW of solar capacity by 2025.

Early last year, the company formed a joint venture with 174 Power to develop 12 utility-scale solar and energy storage projects in the US before going on to acquire a development pipeline of 2.2GW of solar and 600MW of battery storage assets in Texas.

TotalEnergies was the fourth largest corporate clean energy buyer globally in 2021, behind Amazon, Microsoft, Meta and chemicals company BASF, according to recent research from BloombergNEF.

Publishing its 2021 financial results today, TotalEnergies revealed it plans to add 6GW of gross renewables capacity this year, taking its total to 16GW. Thanks to surging oil and gas prices, the company posted 2021 net income of US$16 billion.

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