First Solar, SunPower plan 8point3 IPO

First Solar Inc. and SunPower Corp. said Tuesday that their joint venture 8point3 Energy Partners LP has filed for an initial public offering.

8point3, formed last month by the two solar companies to own and operate a portfolio of solar generation assets, will list its shares on the Nasdaq. The number of shares to be listed hasn’t yet been determined.

First Solar
 , based in Tempe, Ariz., designs, manufactures and distributes solar power systems and modules. San Jose-based SunPower
  similarly designs and manufactures solar electric systems that it distributes to residential and commercial customers.

The two companies unveiled the formation of 8point3, known as a yieldco, in late February, at which point they said they expected to register for an IPO by the end of this month. According to the filing, the name 8point3 is derived from the average amount of time it takes light from the sun to reach the earth, which is 8.3 minutes.

Yieldcos, considered an alternative to master limited partnerships and real-estate investment trusts, are particularly attractive as a financing mechanism in the renewable space on account of uncertainty during a project’s development stage. They allow companies to raise low-cost capital, maintain long-term contracts and pay dividends to shareholders.

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