Innovative, Dual-Use Renewable Energy Projects Protect the Land While Providing Up to 80 Million Kilowatt-hours of Energy per Year.
Continuing its growth in the world’s largest solar photovoltaic market, SunPower Corporation today announced that it plans to partner with Apple to build two solar power projects totaling 40 megawatts (MW) in ABA Tibetan and Qiang Autonomous Prefectures, Sichuan Province of the Peoples Republic of China (PRC). When complete, the two projects will be co-owned by Sichuan Shengtian New Energy Development Co., Ltd., SunPower’s project development joint venture, and Apple.
The projects include Hongyuan Huanju Ecological Energy Co., Ltd., (Hongyuan) located in Hongyuan County and Ruoergai Huanju Ecological Energy Co., Ltd., (Zioge) located in Ruoergai County. Both are in the ABA Prefecture and will be 20 MW each.
The projects are currently being constructed, and the Hongyuan project already has 2 MW connected to the grid utilizing SunPower’s LCPV tracker. The technology combines single-axis tracking technology with rows of parabolic mirrors, reflecting light onto high efficiency SunPower Maxeon™ cells, which are the world’s most efficient commercially available mass-produced solar cells. Completion of the projects is expected in the fourth quarter of 2015.
These are the first solar projects deployed in the ABA Region. The projects are expected to provide up to 80 million kilowatt-hours per year while also protecting the ecosystem. The projects will feature SunPower’s unique “light-on-land” approach to solar photovoltaic power plant design and construction developed through its experience with over 2 gigawatts (GW) of power plant systems installed and operating globally. Utilizing this innovative dual-use approach means that pasture farming can continue while power is generated.
“This is a tremendous groundbreaking collaboration, bringing together a diverse group of experienced partners from different parts of the globe to build renewable solar energy ventures that contribute to the local economy and the environment. Our unique, existing partnerships in China allowed for these projects to come to fruition quickly,” said Tom Werner, president and CEO, SunPower. “These projects will provide clean, renewable energy, help address climate change, and continue to provide agricultural benefits to the local farmers, while protecting the area’s precious land. We continue to value our partnership with Apple and commend them for their global environmental commitment.”
SunPower has provided its leading, innovative solar solutions to Apple on six U.S. projects totaling 90 MW in California, Nevada and North Carolina. These landmark China projects are SunPower’s first international solar collaboration with Apple.
Last October, SunPower announced its second China joint venture, the Shengtian joint venture, with partners Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor Co., Ltd., Sichuan Development Holding Co., Ltd., Leshan Electric Power Co., Ltd., and Tianjin Tsinlien Investment Holding Co., Ltd. to develop and own at least 3 GW of photovoltaic power plants in the PRC. SunPower has committed a $20 million investment in this effort, in addition to supplying its solar solutions.
As a result of SunPower’s initial China joint venture, Huaxia CPV (Inner Mongolia) Power Co., Ltd. announced in December 2012 that a 300- MW LCPV cell receiver manufacturing facility was planned in the Jinqiao Development Zone, Hohhot, Inner Mongolia. The Huaxia joint venture now has three 50-MW production lines in operation. In March 2014, SunPower announced the sale of more than 70 MW of cell packages to the joint venture. These packages are being used for four SunPower LCPV projects, which include the Hongyuan and Ruoergai projects in Sichuan, plus two more projects located in Inner Mongolia: a 20-MW project in Saihan and a 100-MW project in Wuchuan.