SunPower to acquire SolarWorld in a deal driven by Trump's solar tariffs
- SunPower announced Wednesday it would purchase SolarWorld for an undisclosed amount, a deal spurred on by a 30% tariff on imported solar panels that President Trump authorized earlier this year.
- SolarWorld is the largest manufacturer of solar panels in the United States. The deal will allow SunPower to avoid the tariffs it would have to pay on some of its foreign-made panels.
- SunPower has promised to invest in SolarWorld's Oregon production facility, where it will now make its P-series panels along with SolarWorld legacy products.
The White House is hailing the announcement as a policy win resulting from solar panel tariffs approved in January. In a statement to Reuters, a spokesman called it "proof that the president's trade policies are bringing investment back to the United States."
SunPower is still seeking an exemption from tariffs on some of its more expensive panels, however.
SunPower said it plans to ramp up SolarWorld's operations to "capitalize on strong U.S. market demand." The company plans to invest in factory improvements and provide increased working capital. Some of the facility will need to be retrofitted to product the P-Series panels, also.
A purchase price was not disclosed, but the deal calls for SunPower to acquire 100% of SolarWorld Americas. Regulators in the United States, as well as in Germany where SolarWorld's parent company is based, will need to sign off on the deal, which would make SunPower the largest panel manufacturer in the U.S.
The company says it expects the deal to close in the "next several months."
SolarWorld, along with Suniva, petitioned the U.S. International Trade Commission in 2017 for relief from cheap foreign-made panels. Both companies have filed for bankruptcy — Suniva just before the tariff petition, and SolarWorld's German-parent filed for insolvency shortly afterwards.
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