US-based solar panels designer and manufacturer SunPower has announced its plans to split into two independent publicly-traded companies, namely SunPower and Maxeon Solar Technologies.

SunPower will continue its operations as a distributed generation, storage and energy services company in North America, while the newly established Maxeon Solar will operate as a technology innovator, manufacturer, and marketer of premium solar panels.

SunPower president and CEO Tom Werner said: “We believe that the solar industry is entering a period of extended growth where success will be driven by value chain specialization, technology innovation and economies of scale. This new structure and investment will create two focused businesses, each with unique expertise to excel in their part of the value chain.”

In relation with the transaction, Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor (TZS), a silicon wafers supplier, will make an equity investment of $298m in Maxeon Solar, to help the scale‐up of production capacity of Maxeon 5.

SunPower will focus on DG energy services

SunPower CEO and chairman of the board Tom Werner will continue in the same position, and the company will continue using its corporate headquarters in Silicon Valley, California, US.

The company said that it intends to focus on product innovation, downstream high-efficiency solar systems along with high-growth storage and energy services.

During the separation, SunPower and Maxeon Solar would sign a multi-year exclusive supply agreement covering sales of products manufactured by Maxeon Solar within the US and Canada.

Maxeon Solar will focus on advanced technologies

SunPower technologies business unit chief executive officer Jeff Waters will be appointed as Maxeon Solar CEO, and the company will be headquartered in Singapore.

Following the separation, Maxeon will own and operate solar cell and panel manufacturing facilities located in France, Malaysia, Mexico and the Philippines, along with R&D, marketing and sales footprint outside of the US and Canada.

Maxeon Solar intends to focus on developing advanced panel technology to high volume scale and marketing its high-efficiency solar panels under the SunPower brand in the global marketplace.

Jeff Waters said: “TZS’s $298 million investment into Maxeon Solar will catalyze continued scale-up of Maxeon 5 capacity at our manufacturing facility in Malaysia, allowing us to increase our distributed generation market share and accelerate profit growth. This investment validates our industry-leading technology, brand and global channels to market.”