First Solar considering selling interest in 8point3 Energy Partners, Sunpower may seek replacement

Written By: Stratton Report
April 5, 2017

On April 5, First Solar, Inc.announced today that it, working together with its financial and legal advisors, is reviewing alternatives for the sale of its interests in 8point3 Energy Partners.

On the same day, SunPower Corp., announced that it was evaluating strategic options, which will include finding a potential replacement partner for First Solar, as the firm finds significant, long-term strategic value through the acquisition of additional renewable power plants, distributed generation projects and associated cash flows.

First Solar emphasized it wants to strategically align its resources in support of its new Series 6 product offering, and needs capital for the planned transition to Series 6 production and to provide additional funding for the expected deployment of multiple gigawatts of Series 6 capacity over the next several years.  Moreover, First Solar stressed that to accelerate the return of capital from its systems business, it wanted to sell projects to third parties earlier in the construction phase, including its California Flats and Cuyama projects if 8point3 is unable to acquire these projects.

Mark Widmar, CEO of First Solar observed:

We remain committed to developing, constructing and selling utility-scale solar power plants. Series 6 has the potential to be a transformational product and provide attractive returns to our shareholders. As we accelerate the cash conversion cycle from our systems business, we will further enable this important transition in our business. We want to thank SunPower for their partnership in forming 8point3, which has a portfolio of high quality solar assets and proven operating performance. We look forward to working cooperatively with them through this process.

Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO noted: “We want to thank First Solar for their strong partnership in creating the industry’s first, solar-only YieldCo. After approximately two years of successful operational performance, we have proven that a diversified portfolio of high quality renewable assets is an ideal vehicle to drive stable cash flow growth for investors. We will work with our financial advisors to evaluate all alternatives for our investment in 8point3, including a potential replacement partner for First Solar, as we believe 8point3 can continue to benefit from owning long-term, high quality renewable assets.”