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SunPower forms JV with Chinese partners for CPV launch

US solar equipment group SunPower has signed a deal with local partners in China to produce and sell its C7 concentrating PV (CPV) systems there.

California-based SunPower will form a joint venture company with Tianjin Zhonghuan Semiconductor (TZS), Inner Mongolia Power Group (IMP) and Hohhot Jinqiao City Development Company (HJCD).

The JV business, based in Hohhot, Inner Mongolia will manufacture and install C7 systems, which combine Sunpower’s high-efficiency PV cells with parabolic mirrors and a single-axis tracker.

SunPower chief executive Tom Werner says it expects to shift "significant volumes" in the fast-growing Chinese solar market.

The US company will invest $15m in the JV in return for a 25% stake. Provided final approval is received by the Chinese government, SunPower expects the first deployments of C7s to take place by the end of next year.

SunPower – a subsidiary of French energy giant Total – reported its first contract for a C7 system earlier this year when US utility Tuscon Electric Power placed a 6MW order.