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SunPower's American expansion more than it seems?
SunPower agreed to acquire 100 percent of the Hillsboro, Oregon-based SolarWorld Americas. Consistent with the "desire to revitalize the U.S. high-technology manufacturing sector, SunPower plans to inject fresh capital into the SolarWorld Americas facility".
That is the official line. But make no mistake, the acquisition is foremost about politics, financial gains come second. One only has to consider the fact that - not so long ago - the Trump administration imposed tariffs on high-efficiency solar cells and panels made in Asia. This would affect SunPower; which up until now did not have manufacturing operations in the US. And the manufacturer has already applied for exclusion from the tariffs. In turn, should such an exclusion be granted to SunPower, it could equate to an approximately USD 100 million annual windfall for the company and would warrant any expenses made now. At a minimum; the deal could be see as trying to appease the administration. "We are thrilled to announce this agreement to acquire SolarWorld Americas, one of the most respected manufacturers of high-quality solar panels for more than 40 years," said Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and chairman of the board. "The time is right for SunPower to invest in U.S. manufacturing, and SolarWorld Americas provides a great platform for us to implement our advanced P-Series solar panel manufacturing technology right here in our home market. P-Series technology was invented and perfected in Silicon Valley, and will now be built in SolarWorld Americas' factory, helping to reshape solar manufacturing in America." SunPower plans to invest in factory improvements and increased working capital, while retrofitting a portion of the facility to produce P-Series solar panels, in addition to continuing to produce and ship SolarWorld Americas' legacy products. The agreement is still subject to necessary U.S. and German regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.
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