For shareholders, the deal really just dilutes ownership slightly. The company sold 18.6 million shares of stock to Total for $8.80 per share to pay for the transaction, essentially covering all of its costs.
The impact on operations
For years, SunPower has been adding to its downstream solar installation capabilities. The company acquired Powerlight in 2006 and SunRay in 2010. This adds to the company's growing captive demand source, while growing its capabilities in smaller projects. Tenesol has completed over 15,000 installations of more than 500 MW, an average of just 33.3 kW each.
So this may not have a great impact on earnings in the near future, but if we go through another year like 2011 and demand falls off the table again, SunPower's solar-installation capabilities will help soften the blow.
Others trying to follow suit
The trend will likely continue at more established Chinese companies. It's becoming imperative for manufacturers to integrate downstream to avoid the boom-and-bust dynamic that demand often takes. Module makers like Trina Solar and Yingli Green Energy are most likely to move into the power plant business in a big way because of their balance sheets and bankability of their modules. That's something to keep an eye on as China's new feed-in tariff creates a natural market for these competitors.
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Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of First Solar and SunPower, and also manages an account that owns shares of SunPower. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.
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