Residential solar company SunPower Corp. is in late-stage discussions to jointly develop a panel aimed specifically at home rooftops with First Solar Inc., the largest U.S. manufacturer.
First Solar would produce the panels, and SunPower would be the exclusive provider. The panels would incorporate thin-film solar technology along with the more widely used crystalline silicon in an effort to capture more of the sun’s energy, Nate Coleman, SunPower’s chief products officer, said during an analyst day presentation Thursday. They could be available in 18 to 24 months.
SunPower was previously known for making some of the industry’s most efficient solar panels until it spun off off its manufacturing unit in 2020 to target residential installations. Chief Executive Officer Peter Faricy, who took over last year, has been focused on offering a suite of products that let consumers better manage their homes’ energy production and consumption. Offering customers a high-performance panel would aid that strategy by potentially increasing electricity output.
“Our goal is to develop a residential solar panel that will change the world,” Faricy said at the event.
SunPower also plans to sell 2.5 million of the shares it owns in Enphase Energy Inc. as part of a push to bring its investment capacity to more than $1 billion through 2025.
First Solar makes panels in Ohio and in Asia and has focused principally on supplying large solar farms. A representative declined to discuss the relationship.
First Solar jumped as much as 4.1% on Thursday. SunPower increased as much as 3.9%.
(Updates with SunPower’s investment capacity in the fifth paragraph.)
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