SunEdison increases fourth-quarter sales, narrows loss

SunEdison posted an 11% increase in sales to $610.5 million in the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to the same period a year ago while reducing its net loss by 15.5% to $242.1 million.

At $382.6 million, the group’s solar energy segment garnered the lion’s share of revenue, followed by its semiconductor materials division, which made $205.9 million and yieldco subsidiary TerraForm Power, with $42.6 million. All of the divisions posted operating losses: the solar unit nevertheless narrowed its loss from $153.6 million to $132.7 million, while the semiconductor materials division reduced its $31.3 million loss a year ago to $3.7 million.

The company said the solar unit’s operating loss, lower year-over-year as well as sequentially, was primarily due to projects being retained rather than sold, non-cash asset impairment charges and operating expenses related to growth initiatives. It attributed higher solar energy segment revenue to higher solar systems sales volumes and increased energy revenue from retaining more systems. The company recognized fourth quarter revenue from solar projects totaling 61 MW, down from 95 MW in the 2014 third quarter but up from 55 MW in the 2013 fourth quarter.

TerraForm’s higher year-on-year revenue was due to higher energy and incentive revenue associated with operating projects acquired and projects that achieved commercial operation.

Revenue from its semiconductor materials business fell as a result of lower selling prices, the company added. As part of its global restructuring plans to reduce costs and maintain competitiveness, SunEdison last year consolidate its semiconductor crystal operations and shuttered a polysilicon manufacturing facility in Italy.

383 MW of solar plants completed in fourth quarter

SunEdison completed 383 MW of solar energy systems during the quarter and had 467 MW under construction at the end of December. SunEdison’s solar project pipeline grew to 5.1 GW while its backlog increased to 2.6 GW at the end of the quarter.

“During the fourth quarter, we continued our record of strong execution as we reached new quarterly and annual milestones by completing all-time highs of 383 MW during the quarter and 1,048 MW for the year while growing our pipeline to 5.1 GW and our backlog to 2.6 GW,” said SunEdison CEO Ahmad Chatila.

The company also announced that it had closed the acquisition of leading wind power developer First Wind – a move the chief exec said positioned SunEdison "as the leading renewable power plant developer in the world and will further accelerate our growth and be additive to our fourth quarter pipeline."

SunEdison will offer a detailed outlook for the year at its Capital Markets Day on February 24.