French oil and gas giant Total holds a majority stake of California-based SunPower PV manufacturer. Last year, Totals net income in the marketing and services segment, which also includes activities in the new energy sector, reached $1.7 billion. It demonstrates a 35% increase from the previous year, which, according to the report, was due to the contribution of the SunPower affiliate with the finalization of 135 MW Quinto solar farm.
Indicating Totals further support for the solar industry, the companys non-current provisions include $166 million guarantees granted to solar panels of SunPower as of December 31, 2015. According to the report, Total will continue to invest in R&D in order to improve SunPowers methods of cell and module production and drive down costs.
The report also highlights Totals strategic partnerships with several academic and research institutes, in particular, the Ile de France Photovoltaic Institute in the Paris-Saclay campus. Among others, R&D projects supported by the company are focusing on the development of low-cost stationary storage technologies and software tools for management of domestic power production.
Last year, Total continued to develop its Awango by Total program, launched in 2012 and aiming to provide affordable access to energy for communities in emerging economies. Initially, the goal was to sell one million solar lamps by the end of 2015. This goal was not only met, but exceeded: by May 2015 one million lamps had been sold in Africa alone. Furthermore, the program has expanded to 10 new counties in Africa and the Middle East in 2015.
Aside from the solar market, Total also focuses on biotechnology and aims to develop new bio-sourced products for transportation and chemicals. Furthermore, the company owns a 10 MW wind farm in France and a share in a marine energy production company.
Looking ahead, Total expects to dedicate an annual budget of about $500 million to the clean energy sector.