Is SunPower a Renewable Energy Stock Worth Your Time and Money?

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Written By Kevin MacDonald

Investing in renewable energy stocks, especially those like SunPower Corporation, can be a rollercoaster ride, reflecting the volatility and transformative potential of the sector. SunPower, a significant player in the rooftop solar PV market, has seen its stock decline by 70.7% year-on-year.

Despite this, there are signs of recovery, and understanding the broader market dynamics can shed light on SunPower’s future prospects.

The Global Push for Renewables

Credits: DepositPhotos

The commitment of 133 countries to triple global renewable energy by 2030, arising from the COP28 climate meeting, sets the stage for significant growth in the renewable sector.

Achieving ~11,000 GW of renewable energy by the end of 2030 is crucial to limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C. This massive expansion is driven by the need to add ~1,000 GW of new renewables annually until 2030.

The International Energy Agency (IEA) takes this goal seriously, although skeptics remain. Failure to transition rapidly to renewable energy could exacerbate climate change impacts, making markets volatile and unpredictable.

This backdrop underscores the importance of investing in companies like SunPower, which are positioned to benefit from the renewable energy boom.

The Role of China and India

Asia, driven by China and India, is leading the charge in renewable energy adoption. Climate Analytics’ February 2024 report highlights that Asia is on track to triple renewables in line with the 1.5°C target by 2030. Asia is expected to contribute 47% (3,850 GW) of the required 8,100 GW, primarily through solar power.

The U.S. Renewable Energy Landscape

The Inflation Reduction Act is beginning to significantly impact the U.S. renewable energy market, putting the country on track to triple its renewable energy capacity by 2030. While utility-scale solar PV gets most attention, there’s a strong case for the growth of rooftop solar PV, which is SunPower’s primary business focus.

The Potential of Rooftop Solar PV:

Australia’s Rooftop Solar Success

Australia’s experience with rooftop solar provides valuable insights. With over 30% of Australian households having solar PV and the average installation size approaching 10 kW, rooftop solar significantly contributes to the country’s energy mix.

This success has implications for the U.S. market, suggesting that rooftop solar can play a crucial role in the energy transition.

The U.S. Rooftop Solar Market

In the U.S., rooftop solar has the potential to provide 45% of the country’s electricity needs, but its current contribution is less than 1%. However, the market is poised for growth. California leads the way with 20% of homes having rooftop solar PV, but nationally, only 4% of homes have adopted this technology.

The potential for expansion is enormous, and SunPower is well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity.

SunPower’s 2024 Business Restructure

High-interest rates have pressured SunPower, especially as the focus in the U.S. has been on large-scale solar projects. California’s recent reduction in payments for excess power sent to the grid has also impacted the rooftop solar industry.

However, strong support for household battery purchases to manage power generation provides a silver lining. SunPower has undergone significant changes in 2024, including the exit of CEO Peter Faricy and a shift to supporting a network of qualified distributors.

This restructuring, including 1,000 redundancies of direct sales staff, aligns with broader industry trends and positions the company for future growth.

The Role of Major Investors

SunPower has drawn upon a $175 million second lien term loan from Sol Holding LLC, owned by TotalEnergies and Global Infrastructure Partners. This infusion of capital, along with substantial ownership by major players in the energy transition, underscores SunPower’s strategic importance.


Credits: DepositPhotos

SunPower’s journey is complex, marked by significant challenges and potential opportunities. The company is strategically positioned in the renewable energy sector, controlled by major players with a vested interest in its success.

While the stock has faced substantial pressure, the improving market conditions and potential for growth in the rooftop solar PV market provide reasons for cautious optimism.


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