Solar helps drive NextEra profits

Solar may be the little brother to wind in the renewables portfolio of U.S. energy company NextEra Energy Resources but played its part in healthy second quarter figures reported by parent company NextEra Energy Inc.

The financial report for the April to June period also demonstrated the usefulness of non-GAAP accounting figures when reporting to shareholders, however, with net income from NextEra‘s renewables division falling from US$238 million to $229 million on a year-on-year basis but rising from $173 million to $251 million according to the company’s non-standard ‘adjusted earnings’ measure.

Regardless of accounting chicanery, the figures from the company’s renewables arm paint a positive picture after the slew of horrendous figures seen in the final quarters of last year.

For the three-month period, the NextEra Energy Resources renewables division – which has added 40 MW of incremental solar projects in the U.S. this year – brought in $240 million of the parent company’s $981 million of operating income, although that renewables figure has fallen more sharply, from the $332 million seen from April to June 2012, than the fall reported by the parent, which had operating income of $1 billion for the same period last year.

Six-month figures are less encouraging

For the first half of this year the comparatives are less encouraging with renewable revenue falling from $2.1 billion to $2.06 billion year on year at the same time as the NextEra Energy Inc. parent reported a rise, from $7 billion to $7.1 billion.

That meant net income from the clean energy division plunged from $472 million in the first half of 2012 to $189 million in January to June this year, a sharper fall than the drop seen by the parent, from $1.06 billion to $883 million.

Those helpful adjusted earnings saw the parent report a rise in earnings, from $949 million to $1.1 billion on a comparative basis and were enough to repeat the trick for NextEra Energy Resources, which reported adjusted earnings for the first half of $416 million, compared to $355 million last year.

The parent company’s bottom line figure shows NextEra Energy Inc maintaining the same 63 per cent debt ratio as president and CEO Jim Robo hailed a ‘very strong quarter’ for the renewables business but admitted: "we do not expect the second half of the year to be quite as strong as the first half."

The company press release announcing the figures revealed NextEra Energy Resources is maintaining its prediction of bringing 800 MW of contracted solar into service up to 2016 and that it expects to add a further 300 MW of incremental solar projects on top of that during the same period.

NextEra Energy Resources has added 650 MW of wind in the U.S. since the Q1 figures were announced to bring its 2013-14 development program to 975 MW.