Canadian Solar reports record-breaking year

Achieving a record year, Canadian Solar nearly doubled revenue and increased net profit five-fold in 2014.

Reporting its fourth-quarter and full-year financial results on Thursday, the Ontario-based group said its success in monetizing its global project pipeline had strengthened its balance sheet and allowed the company to secure new projects.

Canadian Solar’s achieved $2.96 billion in annual revenue compared to $1.65 billion in 2013. The company made $243.9 million in net profit, up from $45.6 million in 2013.

The group shipped 3,105 MW of solar modules in 2014, with 2,813 MW recognized in revenue compared to 1.9 GW recognized in revenue in 2013. During the year, it delivered a total of 454 MW of system kits and utility-scale solar power plants to all of its key markets.

Fourth-quarter revenue reached $956.2 million, up 84.1% from $519.5 million the previous year. The company earned a fourth-quarter net profit of $76.2 million – more than a three-fold increase from the same period in 2013.

Total solar module shipments in the last three months of 2014 reached 1,125 MW, besting previous guidance with 897 MW in recognized in revenue, compared to 770 MW in the third quarter of 2014 and 621 MW in the fourth quarter of 2013.

"This was a record year for Canadian Solar,” said Canadian Solar Chairman and CEO Shawn Qu. “We achieved new high water marks in terms of solar projects sold, solar modules shipped, revenue, net income and free cash flow.”

Qu said the group’s success in monetizing its global solar project pipeline had strengthened the company’s balance sheet, allowing it to secure new projects.

In addition to project acquisitions in Japan and the United Kingdom, Canadian Solar bought Recurrent Energy from Sharp Corporation for $265 million. The deal adds about 1 GW to the company’s late-stage, utility-scale solar project pipeline in the United States.

“The Recurrent acquisition, which is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, is a significant milestone, as it expands our total project pipeline to 8.5 GW, with approximately 2.4 GW of late-stage projects representing a revenue opportunity of at least $6 billion over the next two to three years, under a build-and-sell business model,” Qu added.

In the U.S., Canadian Solar currently has a pipeline of 26 MW but will soon add about 1 GW from Recurrent. In Japan, the group expects to build and connect 606 MW of projects over the next three years, while in China, it has a backlog of projects totaling 340 MW and expects to build and connect 320 MW this year. In Brazil, the Canadian Solar is developing three solar power plants totaling 114 MW, which it expects to have connected in 2017. It also recently acquired six solar projects in the United Kingdom totaling 46 MW, with four projects (with a combined 40.5 MW of capacity) expected to be connected this month.