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Biz Break: SunPower shines with new solar panel technology deal

February 22,2017 08:14

Overall view of SunPower solar panels at the UC Davis West Village on Hutchison Drive in Davis. On Tuesday, SunPower said it signed a contract to provide solar technology to the Cajon Valley Unified School District in a deal seen as evidence the ...and more »

Top of the Order:  
Here Comes the SunPower: With the way the weather has been around the region lately, and more rain coming down everywhere, the sun shining in the clear blue sky has been as rare as a day without the soul-crushing gridlock along our parking lot-like freeways.
But, all the clouds and the rain couldn’t dampen the enthusiasm that greeted San Jose-based SunPower after the solar-technology company signed a deal to provide solar-panel technology to the Cajon Valley Unified School District near San Diego. SunPower investors liked the thought of the company going back to school so much, so to speak, that they sent SunPower shares up 8.8 percent to close Tuesday at $8.58.
The deal calls for SunPower to provide its Helix solar systems to 24 schools in the district. The systems are capable of producing 4.6 megawatts of power and are expected to be up and running by the end of the year.
All in all, signing up a school district near San Diego isn’t that big of a deal. However, with the solar-panel market seen as being in a bit of a holding pattern for now, SunPower’s new deal suggests the company is still able to sign contracts, and that there is growing confidence in its technology. The company is viewed as setting itself up for 2018, when the solar-panel industry is expected to turn around and grow, again.
So, in spite of all the rain right now, SunPower is finding a way to shine.
Middle Innings:
The Old Boss is Back, In a Way: Chances are that late last week, you focused your attention on what you were going to do during the three-day Presidents’ Day holiday weekend. For me, it was spending the time up at Yosemite celebrating the latest anniversary of my 29th birthday with my family and some friends.
So, no one would blame you for missing that former Cypress Semiconductor Chief Executive T.J. Rodgers decided to sue the company he founded, and led for more than three decades.
Rodgers said he was suing Cypress in order to obtain books and records related to what he called “irreconcilable conflicts of interest” involving the semiconductor company’s executive chairman, Ray Bingham. In a statement, Rodgers cited Bingham’s ties to Canyon Bridge Equity Partners — a private equity firm Rodgers said is “backed by the government of the People’s Republic of China” and which is attempting to buy chipmaker Lattice Semiconductor — as evidence that Bingham may not be acting in Cypress’ best interests.
“Canyon Bridge’s pending $1.3 billion acquisition of U.S. programmable logic maker LatticeSemiconductor, a company Cypress has attempted to acquire on two previous occasions, clearly demonstrates that Canyon Bridge competes directly with Cypress,” Rodgers said in a statement. “As Cypress’s Executive Chairman, Ray Bingham has intimate knowledge of the Company’s M&A (mergers and acquisition) strategy and Rodgers believes that Bingham can use that knowledge to benefit Canyon Bridge to the detriment of the Company and its stockholders.”
Rodgers is more than just an angry ex-boss who is shaking his fist at the place where he used to work. When he retired as CEO last year, Rodgers had been the only chief executive Cypress ever had since Rodgers founded the company in 1982. And with more than 8.6 million shares of Cypress stock, Rodgers remains the company’s single-largest individual shareholder, so his opinions are likely to have some impact with Cypress’ other stock owners.
Rodgers also said he was nominating Daniel McCranie and Camillo Martino for Cypress’ board of directors. McCranie is chairman of On Semiconductor, while Martino is on the board of directors of MagnaChip Semiconductor. Rodgers said he would send out McCranie’s and Martino’s names as part of a proxy statement to Cypress’ shareholders who will be able to vote for the nominees at Cypress’ next annual meeting.
Bottom of the Lineup:
Here’s a look at how some leading Silicon Valley stocks did Tuesday.
Movin’ on Up: In addition to SunPower, gains came from Coupa Software, Advanced Micro Devices, Finisar and Extreme Networks.
In the Red: Decliners included Quotient Technology, Depomed, Pandora Media, TiVo and Shutterfly.
The tech-focused Nasdaq Composite Index rose 0.5 percent to 5,865.95.
The blue chip Dow Jones Industrial Average added 0.6 percent to end the day at 20,743.
And the broad-based Standard & Poor’s 500 Index also rose 0.6 percent to finish at 2,365.38.
Quote of the Day: ““I would be wrong to allow my poor choice of words to detract from my colleagues’ important reporting, so today I am resigning from Breitbart, effective immediately. This decision is mine alone.” — Conservative provocateur Milo Yiannapoulous, who resigned his editor position at Breitbart amid a controversy over comments he had made related to pedophilia.
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