What's Exxon going to do with this years' record-breaking profits? If you said "buy a 60 percent stake in America's largest solar panel manufacturing company," you have wildly underestimated the degree to which its CEO would find that profoundly emasculating.

Cheese-eating surrender-monkeys have no such qualms, however, which is why French oil giant Total just dropped $1.38 billion on SunPower, a "stalwart U.S. solar manufacturer in Silicon Valley."

This isn't the first time a foreign company captured a large swath of the assets of a U.S. renewable energy firm. As Todd Woody reports, it happens all the time:

European energy conglomerates have been on the prowl for U.S. acquisitions to expand their portfolios of renewable energy companies.

French nuclear giant Areva last year acquired Ausra, a Silicon Valley solar thermal power plant maker, while Japan’s Sharp bought Recurrent Energy, a San Francisco commercial solar installer and power plant developer.

Could it be that these companies are a little more forward-thinking than America's energy giants? Probably the answer is something like "Hey, we saved your ass in dubya-dubya 2, so shut up."