SunPower Holds the Lead in Solar Panel Efficiency

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SunpowerSunPower (SPWRA) recently launched its SunPower E20 series of solar panels. The E20s are the industry's first commercially available solar panels which provide a total area efficiency of more than 20%. The panels use SunPower's patented Maxeon cell technology, which currently holds the world record for the highest efficiency among mass-produced solar cells. It has ventured into large-scale utility power projects only recently with the acquisition of PowerLight Corporation. The company's primary competitors include First Solar (FSLR), Suntech Power (STP), and Yingli Green Energy.

Trefis currently has a $16.22 price estimate for SunPower's stock, which is trading around $17 this week.

Higher Efficiency Should Boost Shipments

The E20 series is designed to provide the superior feature all customers are looking for in a solar panel -- higher power output at the given price. Along with its 20% higher efficiency, the E20 series offers additional features to boost system output, such as transformerless inverters and anti-reflective coatings.

We expect these enhanced features in the E20 solar panels to more than offset any price premiums on the product, providing a significant competitive advantage for SunPower over its competitors. The panels have the potential to boost shipments of SunPower components across different sectors such as residential and commercial markets as well as utility and power plants.

Help from Total S.A.'s Network

The recent acquisition of 60% of SunPower by Total S.A. -- a French multinational energy company -- is expected provide additional synergies to SunPower's new range of products, such as the E20. A key advantage is the access to Total's (TOT) extensive supply network -- it operates in more than 120 countries -- as well as Total's $1 billion credit support over the next five years, which should enable accelerated development and capacity expansion for SunPower's product offerings.

See our complete analysis for SunPower's stock

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