When the Total deal was initiated in April, Shyam Mehta, senior solar analyst at GTM Research, noted that the deal is likely more about project development and solar power plants than solar panels.
"They have the second best -- if not the best -- track record in the industry" for project development, he said. The $1 billion line of credit, if exploited for power plants, could give SunPower a huge advantage over competitors like First Solar. The cost of capital is a substantial consideration in these projects, and Total can get access to large amounts of capital at lower rates than standalone solar companies.
Having Total as a potential financier will also potentially help SunPower circumvent the often-arduous search for money and partners on particular projects.