SunPower posts solid Q4 results as storage drives growth


From pv magazine USA

Aided by strong industry tailwinds, SunPower exceeded the top end of its guidance to post $412 million in net income and $39 million in adjusted EBITA for the fourth quarter of 2020.

“We see significant opportunity to drive long-term growth through the expansion of our addressable market,” SunPower CEO Tom Werner said during an earnings call this week.

Storage, digital solutions, and the company’s distributed-generation services platform will be key to the company’s long-term growth, he said. Over the next 30 years, SunPower expects the distribution-generation solar and storage market to grow to become a $65 billion market.

In January, SunPower announced plans to extend its residential installation business into seven new markets across six states by the end of the second quarter. The markets targeted for the first quarter include Tucson, Arizona, and Fresno, California, among others.

The company also said it plans to hire more than 300 field technicians in 2021 and aims to complete twice as many installs year over year. In addition, it said in January that it would close its solar panel manufacturing plant in Hillsboro, Oregon, in a move that affected 170 employees.

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Supply chain

“We are managing the supply chain very closely,” said Norm Taffe, executive vice president of products at SunPower.

He said that the company doesn’t think that supply-chain constraints will limit the ability of its 26 kWh SunVault solar+storage solution to hit this year’s revenue expectations. Recently opened sales markets outside of California are expected to provide another driver of growth. Starting in the second quarter, the company will be able to “attack our installed base with SunVault,” Taffe said.

SunPower’s fourth quarter commercial and industrial installs rose more than 65% sequentially, accompanied by gross margin expansion and progress on cost control programs. Demand for the company’s Helix storage solution for commercial and industrial customers also remained high, the company said. In 2020, Helix sales attach rates were above 30%, and the company installed 18 MWh during the year.

SunPower recently signed its first contracts linked to the California Public Utility Commission’s self-generation incentive program for storage. It also expanded its community solar pipeline to more than 90 MW. It said its combined backlog and pipeline of more than 800 MWh and its high sales attach rate for Helix leave it well placed to capitalize on increased demand for its commercial storage and services solutions.

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