Cypress Semiconductor Invests in SunPower Corp.

Cypress Semiconductor Corp. has signed an agreement to invest in SunPower Corp., a leading manufacturer of ultra-high-efficiency silicon solar cells. Under the terms of the deal, Cypress will invest US$8.8 million for an initial 44 percent stake in SunPower, with an option to increase its stake.

SAN JOSE, California – June 5, 2002 [] SunPower makes a range of products, including concentrator solar cells, which use a lens or mirror to concentrate sunlight; one-sun solar cells and arrays for specialty applications such as solar-powered aircraft and race cars; and silicon-based optoelectronic devices for telecommunications and industrial applications. SunPower cells are 33 percent more efficient than today’s most efficient commercially-available cells. The retail solar cell module market is projected to double from its current level to more than US$3 billion in 2006, according to solar industry analyst firm Strategies Unlimited. Solar power and other renewable forms of energy are projected to capture an increasing share of the global energy market in the decades to follow. “The solar cell business represents a great opportunity for several reasons,” said T.J. Rodgers, Cypress president and CEO. “Even without the negative effects of political volatility, conventional sources of energy, such as oil, will be supplemented or replaced with renewable forms of energy. “After 30 years of continuous improvement, the science of solar power has matured to the point where it has become cost-effective enough for commercial implementation,” Rodgers said. “For example, Cypress recently installed an array on the roof of a new building in its San Jose campus, and the array is currently feeding the equivalent of 40 percent of the power of that building into our campus-wide power grid. This means our investment will pay for itself and deliver free power thereafter. We expect other Silicon Valley companies to follow this model and for the trend to pick up momentum in the U.S. and around the world in the years to come.” “In an effort to grow faster than the revenues from our core communications businesses – and to accelerate our growth toward our objective of US$1 billion of revenue per quarter – Cypress is seeking to engage in investment-level transactions with related but independent companies that we have the option to acquire,” Rodgers said. “Our plan is to consider businesses that we believe will place only modest demands on our management, leaving us with the necessary bandwidth to maintain focus on our key communications businesses. SunPower meets all of these investment criteria.” “This is a natural partnership,” said Dick Swanson, president and CEO of SunPower. “SunPower has a superior technology with high cell efficiency and low cost-per-watt in a fast-growing market that depends upon silicon-based manufacturing expertise. Cypress is a company that has demonstrated its ability to provide continuous innovation in silicon manufacturing in high volumes and at very low cost. The solar power industry in general – and SunPower specifically – are already major consumers of silicon wafers. As the demand for solar power grows, so will the solar power industry’s sustained and significant demand for silicon.”
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