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Q3 Earnings: SunPower Reaps Strong Third Quarter

SunPower Corp, the second largest US-based solar panel manufacturer, announced its third quarter earnings Wednesday, reporting strong growth over previous quarters, beating analyst estimates and amassing an 8 GW pipeline.

The company reported a net income of $32 million, up from $14.1 million a quarter earlier but significantly down on its $108.4 million figure of a year ago — a figure which represents an industry-wide slump as demand slowed under inventory supply.

“Our third-quarter results reflect another strong quarter of execution, driven by significant demand for both distributed generation and power plant systems,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO.

“Solar power is increasingly competitive with traditional energy sources in a number of markets, and we are well positioned to capitalize on this large opportunity by virtue of our industry-leading technology, competitive cost structure, substantial project pipeline, and ongoing manufacturing capacity expansion.”


Q3 Highlights

SunPower registered several highlights for the third quarter, including the previously reported 1 billionth solar cell in September. The cumulative output of SunPower’s work has surpassed 3 GW, and at the time, Werner equated that to enough power to supply 25 million homes.

The Americas was unsurprisingly SunPower’s biggest market, with a revenue of just over $500,000, and a 50% increase in bookings. On the other hand, the European, Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region played only a very small part in the company’s overall performance.

“Japan remained the key driver of our Asia Pacific business, accounting for 28 percent of total shipments in the third quarter,” Werner said in the earnings call, adding that the company expects the Asia Pacific region “to continue to be a major market for SunPower going forward.”

As reported on last quarter, SunPower is moving ahead with its Fab 4 production, a move SunPower hopes will “further reduce our competitive cost structure while adding capacity to meet the increasing demand for our high efficiency solar systems.”


Q4 and 2014 Guidance

SunPower inventory declined 15% sequentially over the quarter, and guidance for Q4 and the full fiscal year were trimmed somewhat. SunPower expects Q4 to reap GAAP revenue of between $675 million and $725 million at gross margin of 22% to 24%, while the company is expecting fiscal year GAAP revenue of between $2.535 billion and $2.585 billion (down from previously reported $2.55 billion to $2.70 billion).

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