I have a feeling this story is going to crumple some people’s mood. SunEdison, a leading utility-scale solar power company, has just signed an agreement to buy photovoltaic modules from Fox Energy, “the photovoltaic solar business subsidiary of Foxconn Technology.” The agreement is for 350 megawatts (MW) of solar modules that will be manufactured in Juarez, Mexico.
Mixing in the word Foxconn, Mexico, and Fox (no association to Fox News, but you know that the conservative mouthpiece comes to mind) creates such a whirlpool of potential backlash that my mind doesn’t know what to do with it all. I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if anyone decides to jump all over this and start a campaign against SunEdison — from the liberal or conservative side.
The bottom line, though, is that solar module manufacturing in Mexico = lower costs. “The agreement is part of SunEdison’s virtual vertically integrated business strategy leveraging the manufacturing expertise of partners like Fox Energy and enabling SunEdison to bring high quality solar modules to market while continuing to reduce levelized cost of energy (LCOE),” SunEdison states.
“We’re thrilled to partner with Fox Energy to produce our Silvantis™ family of solar modules,” said Gokul Krishnan, general manager of SunEdison’s solar module business unit. “Fox Energy’s global footprint allows SunEdison to manufacture modules near our high growth end-markets which helps us keep costs down while meeting local content requirements.”
SunEdison has about 1,000 MW (1 GW) of solar power projects connected to the grid, and it has another 2,600 MW in the pipeline. So, of course, Fox Energy / Foxconn is happy about the deal.
“SunEdison’s collaborative photovoltaic module supply agreement demonstrates our customer’s recognition of Fox Energy quality, continuous technological enhancements and best-in-class after-sales services,” said Dr. Jeffrey Lu, President of Fox Energy Inc. “Our automated PV module manufacturing process and stringent quality controls will help SunEdison meet the high standards their customers have come to expect.”
Here’s one more interesting bit from the press release:
The relationship between Fox Energy and SunEdison was facilitated in conjunction with the Borderplex Alliance, a bi-national economic alliance. “This is proof positive that our bi-national region combines the best of what the U.S. and Mexico have to offer: World class manufacturing and technological innovation,” said Rolando Pablos, Chief Executive Officer of The Borderplex Alliance. “We take pride in the fact that these two globally-recognized companies have chosen our region to launch this new venture. This announcement is foundational; it may very well prove to be the tipping point to our regional goal of becoming the solar energy development capital of North America.”
Can’t say I was aware of such an alliance previously.
What do you think of this announcement? Good move to further reduce the cost of solar modules? Or humanitarian fail? (I’m somewhere in the middle, but knowing that the solar industry is highly competitive right now, I don’t really think there’s much leeway in this regard for businesses like SunEdison.