GTM has provided coverage of this summer's largely positive solar earnings calls.

  • First Solar is sold out of module capacity for 2015 and 2016.   
  • SolarCity reported record bookings and installations for the quarter.   
  • SunPower has a global PV project pipeline of more than 12 gigawatts.    
  • Enphase reported strong shipment and solid margin.   
  • SolarEdge hit revenue records with its module-level power electronics  

I lost track of a few earnings calls and am playing catch up here.

SMA inverter sales up, driven by utility-scale deployments

SMA reported its first-half 2015 financial results with some mostly positive news.      

  • Sales climbed by 26 percent year-on-year to $473 million for the first half compared to $376 million for the same period last year -- in line with forecasts and driven by the large-scale power plant sector.
  • SMA sold inverters with a combined output of 3.153 gigawatts, a 58.4 percent gain from 2014's first-half production of 1.99 gigawatts.
  • SMA's most important foreign markets in the first half of 2015 were North America, Japan, Great Britain and Australia.
  • The company lost $23.6 million in the first half of 2015, down from the $49.5 million lost in the first half of last year. SMA stated it as, "Consolidated earnings amounted to EUR-21.4 million in the first half of 2015 (Q1-Q2 2014: EUR-44.9 million)."

The inverter leader commented that declining business in Europe is negatively impacting the residential business unit, but that the commercial business unit had seen an increase in sales.

The board is "anticipating a rise in sales again in the current fiscal year for the first time since 2010," and predicts sales between $882 million and $937 million for 2015. Best-case scenario gets SMA to breakeven in 2015. "In the worst-case scenario, SMA will generate an operating loss of $27.5 million in 2015," according to the board's forecast.

SMA led the U.S. inverter market in 2014, shipping 24 percent of all inverters sold within the U.S., according to GTM Research, which forecasts the global market for inverters to reach $7.1 billion by 2018. (More on GTM Research’s latest inverter report here.)

SMA was just selected to supply 700 megawatts of large inverters for seven utility-scale PV plants in California by the EPC firm Swinerton Renewable Energy, according to a release. SMA shipped its millionth Sunny Boy TL inverter earlier this year.

FIGURE: Top 10 Inverter Vendors in the United States by Shipments, 2014 (MWac)

Source: GTM Research


Trina's profit jumps, 2015 guidance raised to nearly 5 GW

Trina Solar just announced its second-quarter 2015 results.

  • Total module shipments beat guidance at 1,231 megawatts. External shipments accounted for 1,000 megawatts, while 231 megawatts were shipped to Trina's own downstream PV power projects, an increase of 20 percent over last quarter and 30.6 percent year-over-year. 
  • Trina almost doubled guidance in its total of 121.3 megawatts of PV power projects connected to the grid in the second quarter.
  • Net revenues were $722.9 million, an increase of 29.5 percent from the first quarter of 2015 and 39.2 percent from the second quarter of 2014.
  • Gross margin was 20 percent, compared with 18 percent in the first quarter of 2015.
  • Net income was $43.1 million, compared with $15.7 million in the first quarter of 2015 and $10.3 million in the second quarter of 2014.
  • Trina has a total of 358.5 megawatts in downstream operating assets that are generating electricity power, mostly in China.

Trina raised its guidance for 2015 total PV module shipments to 4.9 gigawatts to 5.1 gigawatts from its original guidance of 4.4 gigawatts to 4.6 gigawatts, of which 700 megawatts to 800 megawatts of PV modules will be shipped to Trina's PV power projects, up more than 33 percent from 2014. Trina expects to ship between 1,450 megawatts and 1,500 megawatts of PV modules in Q3. By the end of 2015, Trina expects to have PV cell capacity of approximately 3.5 gigawatts and PV module capacity of approximately 4.8 gigawatts.   

The world's largest solar-panel builder has some active R&D with "early trials of highly efficient cells using interdigitated back-contact technology" that has "reached a market-leading efficiency of 23.1 percent" with "an average efficiency of greater than 22 percent."

"Demand in the global solar markets continues to trend upward, led by China, the U.S. and India in the second quarter," reported the company in a release.

Canadian reports profitable Q2, 2.4 GW utility-scale pipeline

Canadian Solar announced its financial results for the second quarter.

  • Total solar module shipments in the second quarter of 2015 amounted to 850 megawatts, well below guidance. However, revenue and gross margin exceeded guidance.
  • Net revenue for the second quarter of 2015 beat guidance at $636.7 million, down 26 percent from $860.9 million in the first quarter of 2015.
  • Gross margin was 15.2 percent, compared to 17.8 percent in the first quarter of 2015. The decrease in gross margin was primarily attributed to duties due to the new U.S. Department of Commerce ruling.
  • Net income was $17.9 million compared to $61.3 million in the first quarter of 2015.
  • Canadian closed the sale of one solar power plant in Canada and connected three solar power plants to the grid in Japan during the quarter.
  • Sales to the Americas represented 47.6 percent of net revenue; sales to Asia and other markets represented 46.5 percent of net revenue.

Canadian has a 1.2 gigawatt late-stage utility-scale solar project pipeline in the U.S. and approximately 338 megawatts of projects under development in China.

For the third quarter of 2015, Canadian expects total module shipments to be in the range of approximately 970 megawatts to 1,020 megawatts. Total revenue for the third quarter of 2015 is expected to be in the range of $570 million to $620 million, with gross margin expected to be between 12 percent and 14 percent. 

For the full year 2015, Canadian maintains its expectation of total module shipments to be in the range of approximately 4 gigawatts to 4.3 gigawatts, including 3,300 megawatts to 3,500 megawatts of third-party module sales, 235 megawatts to 275 megawatts of project and EPC sales, and 460 megawatts to 490 megawatts of shipments to projects which will be held on the balance sheet pending the potential launch of a YieldCo. Total revenue for the full year 2015 is expected to be in the range of $2.8 billion to $3 billion.  

Canaccord Genuity analyst Jed Dorsheimer said, “We continue to believe that Canadian Solar's module business will experience a tightening supply/demand during this bullish end-of-year adoption cycle, which should benefit CSIQ's core operations. Although recent YieldCo and solar volatility have had dramatic valuation impacts, we believe the fundamental PV growth story is still intact. The company remains tight-lipped on YieldCo news, but mentioned it looks to make its confidential SEC filing 'very soon' and still targets the end of the year or beginning of next year." Dorsheimer continued, "In fact, we question whether current investor demand for YieldCos will be enough for the company to go to market with a YieldCo."

NRG CEO David Crane on splitting NRG into "green" and "brown"

NRG's CEO David Crane, during the company's Q2 earnings call, noted that its home solar business had "daily bookings 90 percent higher at the end of the second quarter than at the first quarter. And we're achieving almost all that having barely begun to scratch the all-important California home solar market."

Greg Gordon of Evercore ISI posed the following query, suggesting that there are "dis-synergies for doing some sort of aggressive corporate separation to reposition the company to be more attractive to investors who want a pure-play green-co versus, let's say, a pure-play brown-co? I think the sum of the parts are greater than their whole." 

CEO Crane responded, "There is actually industrial logic to keeping the conventional side of our business together with the renewable side. And I tried to allude to that in my comments. The world of energy is trending green at a very decisive pace, but the one thing that trumps being green for everybody is making sure that the lights stay on, making sure that you have electricity. " Crane added, "[T]he best companies that can do that, given the fundamental intermittency of renewable power -- companies are doing both conventional and doing green. So the industrial logic to me favors the path that NRG is on. But we are a public company, and we suffer -- whether you call it the conglomerate discount or the constant refrain that we hear that we are more complex than some of the people that Wall Street can invest in. So we have to value maximization for shareholders, [which] is what being a public company is about."

The CEO continued, "So I can't put a precise date on it, Greg. What I would tell you is: it's a combination of becomes clear that Wall Street has difficulty digesting the idea of a conventional company going green. But the second half of the equation is having a green company within NRG that not only can survive on its own feet as a public company but can win the battlefield...[and] be as competitive as possible."

"So what we're about right now in 2015, and I think we're making great progress, is building -- everything within our portfolio is strengthening every day. And when we get to that point (and I don't think we'll get to that point in 2015)...I would say probably in 2016, if we have, as you say, the sum of the parts where each of the parts or some combination of the parts is strong enough, and if that's the path that is going to result in shareholder value maximization, then we'll take it at that time," Crane concluded. (Thanks to Seeking Alpha for the transcript.)

Yingli receives delisting notice from NYSE

Yingli Solar received a delisting notice from the New York Stock Exchange for not maintaining the minimum average share value. Yingli amassed $209 million in losses last year -- marking the third unprofitable year in a row for the company. Yingli has six months to regain compliance with the minimum $1.00 share price requirement.

Vivint Solar provides no guidance on last earnings call before assimilation by SunEdison

Vivint Solar installed, as guided, 66 megawatts in 9,312 systems in the second quarter, a 78 percent jump over the same period last year. Vivint now has 51,458 customers and 340 megawatts of cumulative installed capacity. Vivint booked 73 megawatts for the quarter, up 40 percent over Q2 last year.

  • Nominal contracted payments remaining increased by approximately $238 million during the quarter and was approximately $1.4 billion, up 123 percent year-over-year.
  • Retained value increased by approximately $120 million during the quarter to approximately $680 million, up 119 percent year-over-year.
  • Retained value per watt was $2.00.
  • Cost per watt was $3.00, down from $3.21 in the first quarter of 2015 and down from $3.55 in the second quarter of 2014.
  • Loss from operations was $72.3 million compared to $34.1 million in the same period of 2014.
  • Revenues, at $15.3 million, came in slightly above the guidance range.

Vivint did not provide guidance, and some analysts have suggested it will be a challenge for Vivint Solar to meet its 2015 full-year guidance of 290 megawatts to 310 megawatts. Other analysts have suggested that there is "considerable investor skepticism about the deal getting done as stated," and "if the SunEdision acquisition were to fall through, Vivint stockholders are likely to see a valuation compression similar to what Sunrun has seen, or possibly worse."

We will be covering the logic of the Vivint acquisition by SunEdison and the performance of SunEdison's YieldCos in a soon-to-be-published article.