March 10, 2014 / 6:44 PM / 6 years ago

INTERVIEW-SunPower to launch asset-backed bonds in 2nd half 2014: CEO

March 10 (Reuters) - SunPower Corp will launch the first tranche of its bonds backed by solar assets in the second half of the year, Chief Executive Thomas Werner told Reuters.

SunPower’s plan to launch notes backed by leases associated with its solar projects comes after SolarCity Corp became the first company to offer solar securities last year.

San Jose, California-based SunPower, majority owned by French energy company Total SA, could raise “hundreds of millions of dollars” from the asset-backed bonds in 2015, Werner said.

SunPower is taking advantage of growing confidence in the solar industry, which is emerging from a four-year downturn caused by a steep fall in panel prices and global oversupply.

Solar companies are exploring a number of innovative financing methods to lower the cost of building new projects.

SunPower, like rival SunEdison Inc, is also considering spinning off some of its solar power plants into a separate, dividend-paying entity, known as a “yield co.”

Canadian Solar Inc and JinkoSolar Holding Co Ltd have also said they are considering a similar move.

SunPower would be in a position to put assets into the yield co in a year, Werner said in a phone interview on Monday.

“We are in a position to be a leader in the evolving financing landscape, which is important because it is lowering the cost of capital,” he said.

SunPower shares were down 3.7 percent at $33.33 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. The stock has risen nearly three-fold in the past year amid a broader rally in solar stocks. (Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)

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