MEMC slows PV project business to build cash pile

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MEMC Electronic Materials is taken a cautious route with its Solar Energy business, preferring to build a strong balance sheet than PV projects on the scale of key rivals, First Solar and SunPower.

The company reported its SunEdison subsidiary had recognised GAAP revenue from solar projects totalling 48MW in Q3 2012, compared to 144MW in Q2.

Non-GAAP revenue was recognised from 74MW of solar project sales in Q3, compared to 169MW in Q2 and 82MW in Q3 2011. PV project ASP was US$3.87 per watt.

Solar Energy segment non-GAAP sales were US$469 million in Q3 2012. Solar projects represented US$286 million, solar materials represented US$155 million and the remaining $28 million consisted of operations and maintenance, and energy revenues. Overall, MEMC reported non-GAAP sales of US$709 million, 24% lower than the previous quarter, due primarily to lower PV project sales.

Ahmad Chatila, Chief Executive Officer MEMC said, “SunEdison continues to be one of the premier brands in the industry. We executed 74 megawatts in Q3 and maintained our pipeline at 2.9 gigawatts. We have redeployed some of our people from Europe to more promising growth markets, and we are being more efficient with working capital needs.”

Project pipeline
At the end of Q3 2012, MEMC said that its PV project pipeline remained at 2.9GW.

On a regional basis nearly 60% of the pipeline is within North America with 45% of that in the US, Canada was said to make up 14% of the North American pipeline. The remaining 40% of the pipeline was said to be outside the US.

According to management around 40% of the pipeline was in the medium to large-scale, primarily utility-scale projects exceeding 50MW, while around 50% of the pipeline was made of projects between 1MW-50MW. The remaining 10% of projects were said to be small-scale at below 1MW. 

MEMC said that it expected to sell 90MW-120MW of solar energy systems at an ASP exceeding US$3.50 per watt in Q4. 

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