SunPower shines a ray of light with Q1 figures

In the first three months of this year, SunPower posted revenue of US$635.4 million which, although down from $678.5 million in the final quarter of 2012, is a significant increase on the $494.1 million raised from January to March 2012.

And with income from the Americas and Asia Pacific markets on the rise, SunPower president and CEO Tom Werner was even able to predict a return to profitability in the ailing Europe, Middle East and Africa sector by the end of the year, helped by a recent 65 MW order for his company and partners in France.

The California company – 66% owned by French petroleum giant Total – staunched losses with the $144.7 million deficit from October to December 2012 reduced to $61.9 million from January to March, a figure which also compares favorably with the $74.5 million lost in the same period of 2012.

Revenue from the Americas may have fallen quarter-on-quarter – from $520 million to $484 million – but saw a significant rise from the $281 million raised in the opening three months of last year with construction having started on the mammoth Antelope Valley scheme and 90% complete on NRG Energy’s California Valley Solar Ranch.

Outside the power plants division, solar leasing continued its popularity with demand again exceeding SunPower’s financing capacity during the quarter, the company having thus far signed up 16,200 customers amounting to 130 MW of photovoltaic generation.

From January to the end of March, SunPower was also well placed to take advantage of the burgeoning post-Fukushima solar market in Japan with customers Sharp and Toshiba accounting for a quarter of the panels shipped and Asia Pacific revenues rising from $69 million to $83 million on the previous quarter and up from $57 million on a like-for-like basis.

Although the company’s total assets fell from $3.34 billion to $3.16 billion quarter-on-quarter, that change was accompanied by a reduction in liabilities from $2.35 billion to $2.22 billion – a balance sheet that would be the envy of most of the company’s Chinese rivals.

SunPower is set to announce its predictions for the second quarter and full year with a press conference and webcast on May 15, an accurate indicator of more promising figures to come.