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SunPower Plans 700 MW Solar Panel Production Factory

Solar panel manufacturer SunPower announced last week its second-quarter 2014 results, showing that while it had slipped somewhat in the midst of strong industry growth, it was still confident about its future, producing modules at full capacity.


SunPower President & CEO Tom Werner

“SunPower’s second-quarter financial performance reflected solid execution as well as strong demand for our industry leading, high efficiency solar systems across all channels and geographic segments,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO.

SunPower’s revenue dropped 12% year-over-year to just under $508 million in the second quarter, but the company isn’t showing any signs of slowing down just yet, highlighting several projects currently underway, as well the ramp up of production of its Fab 4 plant currently under construction in the Philippines. Werner added that as a result of the ramp of SunPower’s Fab 4 facility, the company “will further expand our cell efficiency leadership, lower manufacturing costs and increase capacity to meet the robust demand for our solutions.”

The Fab 4 facility will start up in 2015 but won’t reach full capacity until 2016, which is projected to be 350 MW. After that, Fab 5 may be ready for solar panel production by 2017, and it will have a solar panel production capacity of 700 MW or more!

System sales fell by approximately 10% to around $338 million, while solar products sales held relatively steady at $237 million. SunPower’s 579 MW Solar Star and 33 MW South Africa projects are likely holding the company steady, with future deals with China, Japan, and the United States creating a positive atmosphere moving into the third quarter.

SunPower expects to pull in revenue of $600 million to $650 million in the third quarter, with a gross margin between 17 and 19%. 2014 expectations are unchanged, with hopes of revenue of $2.50 billion to $2.65 billion, and a gross margin of 19 to 21%.

“We met our revenue and profit goals for the quarter as we saw strong demand in all of our key markets,” said Chuck Boynton, SunPower CFO.  “Additionally, we strengthened our balance sheet during the quarter by retiring our 4.75 percent convertible bonds and successfully closing our $400 million, seven- year 0.875 percent convertible offering.  The result of these transactions is that we now have $1 billion in cash on the balance sheet, giving us the financial flexibility to support our holdco strategy and build Fab 4.”

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