Sunpower

In: Business and Management

Submitted By prolong
Words 8750
Pages 35
07-042 July 25, 2007

SunPower: Focused on the Future of Solar Power
Rebecca M. Henderson, Joel Conkling and Scott Roberts

It was December 2006. Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower, glanced down at his watch and shook his head in dismay. His run was not going well, despite the sounds of John Lee Hooker’s “Boogie Chillen” coming through his earphones. He blamed the board meeting later that afternoon. Given SunPower’s position as the producer of the world’s most efficient solar cells, also known as photovoltaics or PV, and recent forecasts that solar power might be on the edge of explosive growth, he knew that he’d be asked some tough questions. Werner wondered how fast the solar power industry was likely to grow and how long SunPower’s advantage was likely to last. How could SunPower compete with much larger companies like Sharp and Q-Cells? Or with the niche “technology play” firms that were springing up? How could SunPower’s current advantage be turned into an enduring competitive edge? As the sun began to rise, Werner picked up the pace again, and began jogging home. Environmental Issues One of the most important drivers of the world’s renewed interest in solar power was its ability to offer energy independence in combination with significant environmental benefits. After all, the earth received more energy from the sun than humans consumed throughout an entire year. Since the burning of fossil fuels generated a number of noxious substances including SO2, NO, NO2, and particulates, concerns for human and environmental health had driven interest in solar power from its earliest days. But evidence that rising concentrations of CO2 in the earth’s atmosphere could pose large long-term environmental risks had significantly increased interest in the technology.
This case was prepared by Professor Rebecca M. Henderson, Joel Conkling and Scott Roberts. Professor Henderson…...

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