SunPower Goes Small-Scale with Latest Deals


Silicon Valley-based SunPower (s SPWRA) can still go big with solar, but today the company announced two installations that are under a megawatt each. In Western Australia, SunPower signed a deal to build a 505-kilowatt solar power plant for Horizon Power that SunPower said will be the largest solar power tracking system in the country. Closer to home, SunPower also announced the completion of a 554-kW system at the Wal-Mart (s WMT) store in Hanford, Calif.

The small-scale business seems to be doing well for SunPower, with its worldwide residential and small-commercial rooftop dealer network growing by more than 25 percent in the third quarter over the previous quarter. The company reported $377.5 million in revenue for the third quarter, with its Components segment, which includes those small installations, accounting for 49 percent of that revenue.

The Horizon Power installation will be built on two sites in the east Pilbara region of Western Australia, with construction expected to be complete by September 2009. The government-owned Horizon Power provides power to remote and regional communities and operations in the state.

SunPower entered the Australian solar market earlier this year when it acquired Solar Sales, an Australian distributor with a network of 30 dealers throughout the country.

In California, the Wal-Mart installation is expected to cover 15 percent of the Hanford store’s electricity. It’s part of a pilot project at the giant retailer to put in solar power systems at up to 22 Wal-Mart stores, Sam’s Clubs (also owned by Wal-Mart) and distribution centers in California and Hawaii.

A total of eight Wal-Mart locations in California will be getting SunPower solar installations by the end of this year, adding up to 4.2-MW. The other systems are going up in Porterville, Chino, Simi Valley, Brea, Orange, Lakewood, and Palmdale.

SunPower, which handles everything from the design and manufacturing of solar cells and products to the installation of commercial, residential and utility-scale solar power projects, scored two utility-scale deals over the summer.

In July, SunPower announced a contract for two big solar power plants for Florida Power & Light (s FPL). SunPower will design and build the 25-megawatt and 10-MW plants and Florida Power will own and maintain the facilities. And in August, PG&E (s PCG) signed a deal to buy power from a 250-MW SunPower plant in Northern California, as well as from a 550-MW solar plant being built by OptiSolar.

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