Boardroom
SunPower Corporation

In the Boardroom With...

Julie Blunden
Vice President of External Affairs
SunPower Corporation
www.sunpowercorp.com
(Nasdaq: SPWR)


SecurityStockWatch.com: Thank you for joining us today, Julie. Please give our audience an overview of your background and your role at SunPower.

Julie Blunden: Thank you for the opportunity to speak with you about SunPower. I joined SunPower in April 2005 as the company’s vice president of external affairs. In that role, I am responsible for public policy and market development, investor relations, and corporate communications. I have had the opportunity to participate in two prior major revolutions in the electric power industry: the rise of independent power producers in the 1980s, and the restructuring of the wholesale and retail power markets in the 1990s. With over a decade of experience with renewable resources, I’ve worked closely with industry, utilities, public interest groups and state and federal governments. One of my proudest accomplishments was working with the Schwarzenegger administration in 2004 to develop the Million Solar Homes Initiative in California, which was signed into law earlier this year.

SecurityStockWatch.com: With oil at $70 and, in the opinion of many analysts, going higher, there is renewed interest in solar energy as a solution. Please give us a brief history of SunPower.

Julie Blunden: SunPower was incorporated in 1985 by Dr. Richard Swanson to commercialize high-efficiency photovoltaic cell technology for use in solar concentrators. The company now designs and manufactures its industry-leading, high-efficiency silicon solar cells and panels. Our headquarters is in Silicon Valley and our first manufacturing plants are located in the Philippines. In 2001, SunPower solar cells were used to power NASA’s Helios solar-powered airplane to a world record powered high altitude flight. In 2002, Cypress Semiconductor invested a controlling interest in SunPower and we completed our initial public offering in November of 2005.

SecurityStockWatch.com: What are the product advantages you offer vs. other solar companies and your niche in the marketplace.

Julie Blunden: SunPower’s solar panels are up to 50 percent more efficient that conventional solar panels and we offer a aesthetically pleasing all-black solar panel which many of our customers prefer for their homes and businesses. The company’s A-300 all-back contact solar cells are unique because the metal contacts needed to collect and conduct electricity are located on the back surface of the solar cells, away from the sunlight. This proprietary design improves cell performance and leaves the front surface with a uniformly black appearance.

SecurityStockWatch.com: We understand that SunPower has three main markets: residential, commercial and central station. Please give our audience an overview of these 3 markets. What's the potential market size and how do you reach them?

Julie Blunden: All three markets have seen explosive growth over the last 5 years. The global solar market has been growing at over 40% per year compound annual growth rate since 2000. In Europe, central station power plants have become a major driver of solar market growth, whereas in the U.S. the market is roughly split between residential and commercial systems. In Japan, which really launched the modern solar market, the new home construction market has offered major growth opportunities. As markets mature, we expect that all of these markets will proliferate around the world. Today, the policy that is supporting market growth varies from region to region, so the market the develops to respond to the policy incentives in each region.

SecurityStockWatch.com: Government incentives are no doubt a market driver for solar today. Can you give us an overview of the incentives that are presently available?

Julie Blunden: There are several states that offer rebates to customers that are designed to significantly reduce the cost of installing a solar system on your home or business. For example, California reimburses a customer for roughly one-third of a solar system’s cost. Add a $2,000 tax credit from the federal government and many people find that if they finance their solar system, they are immediately cash flow positive: customers can save more on their electric bill than they pay to finance their system.

SecurityStockWatch.com: What about other market drivers? How strong is the Green Movement?

Julie Blunden: When deciding to install a solar system, our research indicates that people are motivated to explore options to drop their electric bills but are relieved to find that they can do so by selecting a zero-pollution solar system for their home. With some electric rates up 50% since last year, the cost to power a home air conditioner now attracting a lot of attention. With a solar system installed, customers feel good about telling their friends and neighbors about their smart and environmentally-friendly approach to lowering their electric bills.

SecurityStockWatch.com: Please tell us about the US market for solar vs. International markets for solar? Can you comment on market size and growth potential?

Julie Blunden: Currently, the two largest solar markets are Germany and Japan. Germany is a leader in offering solar solutions for the last several years, easing the electricity needs to thousands of customers. Despite the fact that Germany has the sunlight exposure of Alaska, they are a global leader in solar installations. With the beautiful, sunny weather in much of the U.S., and the many incentives being offered, we have the opportunity to become the number one solar market in the world.

SecurityStockWatch.com: What would you like the investment community to know about SunPower?

Julie Blunden: We are the fastest growing technology company, publicly listed in the U.S. as measured by revenue over the last year. Not just solar or alternative energy, the fastest growing technology company. We have tripled capacity in the last year and will roughly triple it again by the end of next year. We are operating like the Silicon Valley company that we are: we are actively seeking to extend our technology lead against our competitors and will be launching our next generation solar cell by the end of the year.

SecurityStockWatch.com: Thanks again, Julie. Are there any additional subjects you'd like to talk about?

Julie Blunden: Solar is now within a decade of becoming a major energy resource for electricity markets. We expect to cost reduce our product to be on par with retail electric rates in the highest cost markets within about 5 years. It’s a great time to consider dropping or eliminating your electric bill with a solar system. To see if we are offering solar in your neighborhood, just go to www.sunpowercorp.com and click on “Learn More.”

Thanks again for the opportunity to speak with you.