SunPower Gets 70 MW CPV Deal In Inner Mongolia

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Originally published on Solar Love.


SunPower* has long been an efficiency leader in commercially available solar PV cells and modules. It also routinely ranks in the top 10 for global solar module sales. If the even-higher-efficiency concentrated solar PV market ever takes off, it seems SunPower will also be a leader there. It just landed a huge (70 megawatt) deal to supply Huaxia Concentrated Photovoltaic Power Co., Ltd., with solar cell packages for the first phase of two SunPower™ C7 Tracker (C7) projects in Inner Mongolia, China.

These two projects are a 20-MW project in Saihan and a 100-MW project in Wuchuan. Both are expected to be completed in 2015.

“Today’s announcement is a first step in our aggressive efforts to break into the Chinese market,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. “Working together with our strong local partners, we believe that we can deploy significant volumes of our SunPower C7 Tracker power plants to help serve China’s growing need for clean power.”

Here are some more details on the partnership and technology from a press release about the topic:

The definitive agreement for the Huaxia Concentrated Photovoltaic Power JV was initially signed in December of 2012, and officially approved and registered in November of 2013. The JV includes SunPower, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Inner Mongolia Power (Group) Co., Ltd. and Hohhot Jinqiao City Development Company, Ltd. Its focus is to manufacture and deploy SunPower’s proprietary C7 concentrator technology in the Chinese market. To date, a 300-MW C7 receiver manufacturing facility has been set up in Jinqiao Development Zone, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, and a 50-MW production line is now in operation.

The C7 combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors that reflect light onto SunPower’s high efficiency, third-generation Maxeon solar cells with efficiencies of up to 24.5 percent. These mirrors will reduce the number of cells required to generate electricity, lowering the levelized cost of energy when compared to competing technologies. For example, a 400-MW C7 power plant requires less than 70 MW of SunPower cells. Through significant localization of C7 manufacturing and supply chain, and deployment of the C7 for large-scale power plant projects, it is expected that this venture will facilitate the development of a low cost, high volume supply chain and accelerate the cost reduction roadmap of this product.

After covering the solar energy market for several years, I’ve come to the conclusion that there will be a sizable market for a number of different solar technologies — crystalline PV, thin-film, concentrated solar thermal power, and concentrated photovoltaics (CPV). However, I think one of the sectors most likely to see explosive growth in the coming five years or so is CPV. It seems to be getting to the level where the cost-efficiency tradeoff can make CPV commercially competitive in some applications.

*Full disclosure: I hold stock in SunPower (SPWR). I’m “long” Yingli, as they would say.

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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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2 thoughts on “SunPower Gets 70 MW CPV Deal In Inner Mongolia

  • China has the land mass to make Solar of all flavors THE source of their clean electricity and I believe that the only thing keeping China from doing this right now is their powerful military industrial complex which (just like Japan, the UK, the USA and France) is pushing the use of nuclear energy.

    Now that China’s nuclear engineers have been given only 15 years to get MSR working, I expect that, baring a breakthrough in nuclear physics, China is now shifting gears and will start to install solar at a pace that has never before been seen.

    China is now also starting to increase the pace they are installing/updating their Grid to allow the Solar they will be generating to be transmitted to where it is needed. I expect to see Copper’s value increase as China need for wiring will make Copper ever more expensive. BTW: The Chinese are building a railway to a huge Copper deposit in Afghanistan which they will both mine and smelt the ore on site before transporting only the raw Copper ingots back to China’s industries, which will also save them from polluting their own air from the smelting of the Copper.

    These factors will lead to a Global Solarization Race since the Countries that Solarize first will have a very important economic advantage over those Countries that are still burning Coal and/or even worse, still using aging Nuclear Power Plants that will soon have to be decommissioned at great cost! Left unsaid, is that is if something BAD happens like a Fukushima-type accident to any one of their nuclear power plants, they like Japan, will have a trillion dollar environmental disaster to deal with for decades if not much longer! This risk is no longer acceptable, since a few more nuclear accidents for any reason whatsoever, could change life as we know it, especially for everyone living downwind…

  • RE: “I think one of the sectors most likely to see explosive growth in the coming five years or so is CPV. It seems to be getting to the level where the cost-efficiency tradeoff can make CPV commercially competitive in some applications.”

    I believe that the next BIG THING after CPV will be the deployment of underwater turbines that will take advantage of tidal and/or ocean currents, like this project:

    The Tide Is High · Lockheed Martin:

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