Great post, MLG. Very interesting read how the business and operational models complement each other in a vertically-integrated company.
Could you elaborate more on 8point3 Energy Partners – why did SunPower enter into that IPO and how is it going to benefit the company? Is it because they are having trouble raising their own capital for projects? From what I understand about such entities is that 8point3 becomes the project owner and basically takes over the cash flows of the solar installations. So why did SunPower need to collaborate with its largest competitor, FirstSolar, for this joint venture (JV)? Wouldn’t that cut into the share of SunPower’s projects to the JV and reduce their returns?
Great post, Anna Marie, really enjoyed reading about Zara, which is a brand that I personally like a lot. I wonder what do you have to say about the Zara and Mango rivalry?
Their business models are quite similar; they seem to have stores located in more or less the same places (even almost door to door in shopping areas and malls); they are very quick at catching up with the trends for the season; they’re price points and promotions are very similar (though Zara is a bit at a premium over Mango); quality is also comparable. Who do you think will win as a mid-market fashion brand? How is Zara positioned to gain an advantage over Mango?
Thank you for the comment. You’re making a great point — while it is very easy to finance solar loans (min. investment of only $25), there are certain conditions, which ensure that the investment is safe and that the loan will be repaid. First, only “accredited investors” can provide capital for the loans. To be considered accredited means that you need to document either $200,000 annual income or $500,000 in assets. Second, the collateral for the loan is the equipment itself. If the owner is not able to repay the loan, the equipment is sold at market prices and lenders are still repaid their investments. Third, equipment providers offer a 25-year warranty for the panels and inverters. Fourth, the project is normally backed up by insurance for catastrophic events (fires, storms). So all in all, there is some risk in the investment but it is very low and Mosaic is doing the best they can to mitigate it.