SunPower Acquiring European Solar Developer For $ 277 Million

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California-based SunPower Corporation is

acquiring European solar power plant developer

SunRay Renewable Energy for approximately $277 million.

SunPower will pay $235 million in cash and issue $42 million worth of commitment through a letter of credit and promissory notes. The parties expect to close the deal in the first half of 2010.

SunPower, which is listed on the Nasdaq, will advice its shareholders on the impacts of the acquisition during its fourth quarter and fiscal year 2009 earnings conference call in March.

SunPower says it has sufficient cash to close the transaction and does not intend to raise equity capital to finance the deal.

SunRay, which was responsible for building the Montalto di Castro power plant in Italy, specializes in scalable project development activities which cover engineering, legal processing and project finance. It focuses on utility-scale projects in Southern Europe.

The 24-MW Montalto di Castro power plant in Italy is currently the largest in the country. The project marked the first collaboration with SunRay and SunPower. The project is an 80-hectare site with 78,729 SunPower solar panels.

“SunRay has a proven track record of developing bankable solar power plants in a complex environment,” said Howard Wenger, president of SunPower’s utilities and power plants business group.

“This acquisition is consistent with our long-term company strategy to develop a strong brand and complementary channels to market,” he added.

Through its positioning with SunRay, SunPower now has a project pipeline of solar PV projects totaling more than 1,200 MW in Italy, France, Israel, Spain, the United Kingdom and Greece.

Founded in 1985, SunPower (Nasdaq:SPWRA) designs, manufactures and delivers the planet’s most powerful solar technology broadly available today. With headquarters in San Jose, California, SunPower has offices in North America, Europe, Australia and Asia.