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SunPower Signs Joint Venture Agreement In China

SAN JOSE, Calif., Dec. 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today announced that it  signed a definitive agreement to form a joint venture with partners Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor (TZS), Inner Mongolia Power Group (IMP) and Hohhot Jinqiao City Development Company (HJCD) for the manufacturing and deployment of the company's proprietary SunPower® C7 Tracker (C7) concentrator technology in the Chinese market.

The joint venture, based in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia, PRC, will manufacture and deploy SunPower's high efficiency, C7 concentrator solar systems in Inner Mongolia and other regions in China.  Under the terms of the definitive agreement, SunPower will invest $15 million, of the total capitalization of the joint venture of $60 million, for a 25 percent ownership stake.  The joint venture is subject to the approval of the PRC government with initial C7 deployment expected to begin by the end of 2013.   

"This agreement capitalizes on the capability of SunPower's next generation C7 technology to deliver industry leading cost effective energy," said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO.  "Working together with our team of strong local partners who bring different strengths to this project, we believe that we can deploy significant volumes of C7 power plants to help serve China's growing need for clean power.  We also expect that this venture will facilitate the development of a low cost, high volume C7 supply chain and accelerate our C7 cost reduction roadmap."

"This joint venture collaboration embeds essential winning factors including our excellent natural resources, the best photovoltaic technologies and diligent, committed partners," said Huadong You, chairman of TZ Group.  "Our four-party, three country landmark partnership sets a role model for the industry and also embraces challenges for a sustainable future."

"This joint venture is a new milestone in the development of the PV industry in Hohhot City and the Inner Mongolia Autonomous Region," said Yi Qin, mayor of Hohhot City.  "We look forward to leveraging the strengths of Hohhot City to support the success of this venture and have full confidence in this winning collaboration among the four partners."

"We are fully committed to the success of this joint venture and we will meet the expectations of all levels of government, as well as those of our partners," said Fusheng Zhang, CEO of IMP.  "IMP has an excellent grid infrastructure, leading experience in grid integration of renewable energy and strong resources."

The SunPower C7 Tracker combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto 22.8 percent efficiency SunPower Maxeon® cells, the world's most efficient commercially available solar cells. Using mirrors to reduce the number of solar cells required to generate electricity lowers the levelized cost of energy by up to 20 percent compared to competing technologies. For example, a 400-MW C7 power plant requires less than 70 MW of SunPower solar cells.

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