Solar module supplier Maxeon has started evaluating the possibility of expanding its manufacturing capacity in the US with a cell and module assembly plant.
In a conference call for the first quarter results of 2023, Maxeon’s CEO, Bill Mulligan, said the company was looking to expand its manufacturing capacity due to the opportunities in the US utility-scale market and increased demand from the market, while the company’s application with the Department of Energy Loan Program Office progressed to the due-diligence phase in the previous quarter.
Accelerating the development and deployment of more efficient and cost-effective solar panel technologies has become one of the highest priorities for the company, said Mulligan to PV Tech Premium.
For the first quarter of 2023, Maxeon’s revenue reached US$318 million, up year-on-year from US$223 million in Q1 2022. The Americas contributed the most with US$165 million, while revenue in Europe reached US$127 million in Q1 2023.
The module manufacturer exceeded its adjusted EBITDA with US$30.9 million, an improvement from a negative EBITDA of US$33.5 million in the same period last year sequentially when the company had a negative EBITDA of US$3.7 million in Q4 2022.
Within the US, the company has fully booked its utility-scale capacity for 2025 and allocated parts of 2026 and 2027 already, with the production ramp-up underway – with a 1.8GW module assembly plant in North America nearing full ramp – and the full cell fabrication capacity nearly completed.
Maxeon registered its best shipment volume quarter since its spin-out from residential solar installer SunPower in 2020, with 774MW, a 6% increase sequentially and up almost 60% from Q1 2022. The module manufacturer exceeded its guidance range due to the accelerated ramp-up of its US utility-scale capacity. The Performance Line module continues to increase its share with 576MW versus 198MW for the IBC line.
The company has also ramped up its distributed generation (DG) presence in the US during Q1 2023 and registered the highest average selling price (ASP) in the company’s history, increasing the global blended DG ASP by nearly 3% in the opening quarter of 2023.
Europe’s DG also had a strong quarter, especially in Belgium and France, which showed a volume growth of more than 40% from Q1 2022, with Italy’s commercial segment trending upwards, according to Mulligan. “We expect beyond the panel sales to increase over the course of 2023 with a higher attach rate of microinverters as well as sales from storage and EV charger products.”
“Our strong European footprint allowed us to maintain margins at similar levels to the previous quarter in both percentage and absolute terms despite typical Q1 seasonality trends and increased overall industry supply volumes that created a more competitive pricing environment,” added Mulligan.
Outside of Europe and the US, the company is looking to expand its opportunities in Latin America, Japan and Australia.
In its guidance for the second quarter, the module manufacturer expects to ship between 860-900MW of solar modules and generate a revenue between US$360-400 million, almost 20% up sequentially due to an expected growth in the DG segment in the US as well as higher ASPs.
Furthermore, for the full fiscal year 2023 Maxeon revised its results upwards, with revenues in the range of US$1.4-1.6 billion and an adjusted EBITDA between US$95-120 million.
Conference call transcript from Seeking Alpha.