SunPower Building North America's Biggest Solar Roof in New Jersey

Solar roofSunPower (SPWRA) is thinking big -- even more so after French oil giant Total S.A. (TOT) acquired 60% of the solar energy firm this spring. The company followed up its recent launch of the most efficient mass-produced solar cell in the world with an announcement that it will soon start construction of the biggest solar roof in North America. SunPower has entered into a contract for a 1.1 million square-foot solar installation atop the Gloucester Marine Terminal in Gloucester, N.J. The company's primary competitors include First Solar (FSLR), Suntech Power (STP), and China-based Yingli Green Energy Holding Company (YGE).

We currently hold a $16.22 price estimate for SunPower's stock, which is about 15% below the current market price.

Showcasing SunPower's Capabilities ...

The Gloucester Marine Terminal near the Walt Whitman Bridge on the Delaware River is owned by the Holt family. The installation will utilize 27,528 photovoltaic rooftop solar panels from SunPower, and will have a power generation capacity of 9 megawatts. The electricity generated -- sufficient to power 1,500 homes -- will account for as much as 80% of the power needs of the terminal, a shipping facility that boasts the largest refrigerated capacity of any terminal in the United States.

The $42 million privately funded project is already under way, and will be completed this fall.


... and Boosting Solar Component Sales


SunPower has significant expertise in manufacturing and installing residential and commercial solar systems. The company only recently began venturing into large-scale utility power projects with the acquisition of PowerLight Corporation.

This project will be another milestone for the solar industry , and will help draw more customers on the lookout for residential and commercial solar installations. The tax credits provided by the federal government, as well as the subsidies granted by various state governments across the country, will only fuel the demand for these systems in the years to come.

See our complete analysis for SunPower's stock

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21 Comments

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Hi Peg and Matt

The word "FREE' should be deleted from our language. If the companies that advertise "Buy one, get one free" really did that, they would give one half of their produce away and be out of business in a week. A post office comertial spouts the info that, they handle billions of pieces of mail and it does not cost us a "PENNY", who pays the rediculous saleries and pensions the postal workers receive, santa clause?

July 14 2011 at 5:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mikerehfel

Real perpetual power, put a domw over DC and capture all the hot air produced there. That would provide enough energy to supply the entire country forever, or at least as long as we keep electing the same losers!

July 14 2011 at 7:05 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
orchidad

What exec. would approve this. First, it's a shipping terminal. Minimal electric used for the size of the building. Mostly lights, some power for various equipment...They use forklifts, could be electric powered. Lets do the math....
$42 million dollars for the project. divide by 15 years and then divide by 12 months. That's $233,333.00 per month, I would estimate the electric bill around $20,000 to $45,000 per month depending if they use elctric powered forklifts or propane powered...That 15 years is if nothing breaks, nothing needs to be replaced, and no batteries need to be replaced... And again, what CEO of a company would approve this. Who gets to clean all 27,528 panels, they will get dirty and loose capacity. Put your car outside for a month a see if I'm right.

July 13 2011 at 3:08 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to orchidad's comment
spmazanek

I think they have a refridgeration and freezers at this site too.
You're right about the maintenance. I should start a panel cleaning business.

July 13 2011 at 3:29 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rini1946

not sure but they said privately funded. thats 28 thousand a house. I think they forgot and to say oh the goverment rebates for solar (thats 42 mil.1500 homes ) There is a place the goverment could cut. In good times yes that would not be a ok but we are hurting with the deficiet. And the company only guarntee that it will produce electcity for 10 years and did not see anything how long the batteries last(it needs batteries because it does not produce at night)

July 13 2011 at 2:07 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
ThinkUp70

What happens to the panels on the roof if they get covered with snow? Do they still produce electric?

July 13 2011 at 1:29 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to ThinkUp70's comment
spmazanek

No. That will be good for my panel cleaning business.
A lot of data out there is based on peak output. Panels perfectly clean, full sun at the proper angle.

July 13 2011 at 3:33 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
marine1942

Gov. Christie for President !!!

July 13 2011 at 1:17 PM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
spmazanek

42 million dollars. Wonder what the pay back is on the system.
My neighbor put in a $32,000 residential system that went on line in November of 2010. Of course he didn't actually pay that much. Tax breaks for him and the contractor reduced his out of pocket to only about 5 or 6 grand. Taxpayers paid the balance.
He said he thinks the panels for his system were all made in China. But I'm not sure that can be true; can it?
The system has already saved him about $400 to $500 on his energy costs. That' right, 4 or 5 hundred.
So, if the system requires no maintenance, it should pay for itself in about forty years.

July 13 2011 at 11:21 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to spmazanek's comment
Iselin007

Only accept US Made Solar Panels or you may lose your job next!

July 13 2011 at 11:40 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
rini1946

So what you are saying is that he saves about 50 dollars a month at that rate it will take 53 years to make the 32grand. and it will take him ten years to make his 6 grand back. this does not include the maint. on it and I can be wrong but i was thinking I heard that the panels do not last forever. I know that it is important that we try to clean the air. but spending 32 grand for one house??

July 13 2011 at 1:54 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
RWE

We are paying for this private company to end up with free energy. Our tax dollars underwriting a private enterprise.

How do you and I benefit from this ????? Do we get to tap in to this grid and get our monthly electric bill lowered ?
If not, then why do we champion this ?

July 13 2011 at 10:53 AM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to RWE's comment
nomorebarry7

Build a system and put panels on your roof and get your tax credit from the Fed Government. I'm glad an American company got a break. Maybe they will expand their business in New Jersey and bordering states and put more Americans back to work.

July 13 2011 at 11:03 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to nomorebarry7's comment
spmazanek

There are about 250 solar companies in New Jersey already.

July 13 2011 at 11:22 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down
nomorebarry7

Cool !!!!

July 13 2011 at 11:30 AM Report abuse rate up rate down
Iselin007

New Jersey where Solar Panels are made right in South Plainfield by Petra Solar Inc.

Info@petrasolar.com

July 13 2011 at 10:33 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Iselin007

Petra Solar is a Solar Panel manufacturer that is located right here in South Plainfield New Jersey

Info@petrasolar.com

Made In the State of NJ

July 13 2011 at 10:31 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply