Canadian Solar handily beat Q2 expectations on Thursday, reporting module shipments that outpaced guidance and better-than-anticipated profits. The module maker and project developer significantly increased its annual shipment guidance to 8.4 to 8.5 gigawatts, up from 7.4 to 7.8 gigawatts.
CEO Shawn Qu said the results put Canadian Solar “in the most competitive position in the company’s history.” The company’s stock jumped about 10 percent after its Q2 results went live, bringing the share price just below $23.
Among the highlights of Canadian Solar’s quarter:
- Module shipments grew from 1,757 megawatts in Q1 to 2,143 megawatts in Q2, topping the high end of the company’s quarterly guidance.
- Revenue, at about $1 billion, fell within guidance of $970 million to $1.01 billion.
- Quarterly net income at $62.7 million beat out the net loss of $17.2 million reported in Q1 2019 and $15.6 million in Q2 2018.
- The company expects full-year revenue of $3.5 billion to $3.8 billion, compared to $3.74 billion last year.
Acting CEO Yan Zhuang, who stepped into the role while Qu was recently on medical leave, named three factors that encouraged the bump in module guidance: a rush to safe-harbor modules in the U.S. ahead of the step-down of the federal Investment Tax Credit; growing demand from emerging solar markets; and the recent finalization of new solar policies in China.
Last year the Chinese government ditched subsidies and caused a ripple of uncertainty through the market. But recently announced incentives offer clarity to developers as well as sweeteners for subsidy-free projects, such as priority dispatch. According to Wood Mackenzie Power & Renewables, China has about 6.4 gigawatts of subsidy-free projects awaiting grid connection in 2019.
Canadian, which acquired developer Recurrent in 2015, has built a healthy development pipeline of its own. Late-stage utility-scale projects, those expected to be built within the next four years, grew from 3.4 gigawatts in Q1 to 3.6 gigawatts in Q2. The company sold 228 megawatts of solar projects in Q2, most located in the United States.
Canadian Solar also increased its expected manufacturing capacity expansions for the year by about 1 gigawatt. Qu said the increased module capacity will be “bifacial-compatible” and will support Canadian’s new module products. In June, the company unveiled a new bifacial module, a high-density module and a 400-watt module.
The industrywide shift to bifacial solar technology got another vote of confidence in Q2 when Canadian Solar signed its largest supply deal to date: a 1.8-gigawatt order with EDF Renewables, which includes bifacial and traditional modules. The modules will go to EDF-developed projects in Canada, the U.S. and Mexico.
The company's revenue is expected to decline to $780 million to $810 million in Q3, Zhuang said, though that could change if Canadian closes on a project in Japan, which would nudge revenue closer to $1 billion.
Module shipments are expected to exceed those in Q2, with 2.2 to 2.3 gigawatts slated for Q3. Zhuang said that number includes 160 megawatts that will go to self-owned projects. Despite the higher module sales, Zhuang said fewer planned project sales in Q3 have kept revenue guidance steady with existing annual projections.
“For the whole year, module shipments are up, but we kept the revenue number more or less the same as before,” added Qu. “Maybe we’ll have a pleasant surprise in Q4.”