Solar Companies' Bleak Q2 Earnings

Written By Brianna Panzica

Posted August 10, 2011

Until recently, Europe had provided a healthy market for the renewable industry including solar and wind companies.

But now, amid decisions against nuclear power that have forced nations such as Italy and Germany to look into other effective sources, Europe’s commitment to renewables has been waning.

And solar companies have felt the jolt in their second quarter profits.

A number of solar companies released their second quarter earnings this week, and although things have slowed, they are hopeful for the coming months.

First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR), one of the largest solar companies in the world, saw a huge drop in profits, with a price dip below $100 for the first time in 3 years.

Analysts expected to see sales at $583 million this quarter, rising from last quarter’s $567 million, but instead sales plummeted to $533 million.

Guidance was lowered from the second quarter rates of $3.7 billion to $3.8 billion down to $3.6 billion to $3.7 billion, reported Greentech Solar.

Net income also underwent a 61.6% decline from a year ago, when it was $159 million, to the second quarter net income of $61.1 million.

But CEO Rob Gillette is not giving up.  He said, “We expect stronger performance in the second half of 2011 as we build projects from our systems pipeline, develop promising new markets, execute our cost reduction roadmaps and continue to improve module efficiencies.”

SunPower Corp (NASDAQ: SPWRA, SPWRB) also saw a drop in revenue growth.

Despite the fact that revenue increased around 30% from the first quarter, a rise from $451.4 million to $592.3 million, a 3.3% drop in gross margins rocked this.

Due to the margin decline, SunPower experienced a net loss of $147.9, reported Greentech Solar.

The company has, however, moved ahead in the process of building their California Valley Solar Ranch, for which they have just completed negotiations with environmentalists and on which they plan to begin construction in the third quarter.

Their third quarter guidance was estimated at $700 million to $750 million.

ReneSola Ltd (NYSE: SOL) felt the hit from the second quarter when shipments dropped from the first quarter and net revenue dipped 30.6%, from $359.2 million to $249.3 million, according to the Wall Street Journal’s “Market Watch”.

The company saw a huge loss in gross margins, a drop of 9.8%, significantly more than the drop experienced by SunPower.

ReneSola actually withdrew guidance, according to the Wall Street Journal, because of the significant drops.

Profits were down a whopping 95% for the second quarter.

Yet smaller solar company SatCon Technology (NASDAQ: SATC) had a decent quarter relative to the same period last year.

Though guidance was revised down to $45 million to $47 million, sales this quarter stayed within this range, at $45.5 million.

This was a large jump from the second quarter of 2010, when sales were $27.6 million.

Revenue and gross margin were lower than expected for the second quarter, according to “Market Watch”, though still up from last year.

SatCon expects to see revenue between $45 million and $52 million in the third quarter, with gross margin in the mid teens.

That’s all for now,


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