PV energy provider (PVEP) SunPower has revealed that demand exceeded its ability to supply product and services in the first quarter of this year.

The PVEP reported that it had exceeded revenue, gross margin and earnings forecast for the first quarter of 2013, while generating significant free cash flow of US$216 million, including lease financing, which was sold out in the quarter.

SunPower noted that due to several massive PV power plant projects in full swing in the US, strong demand for lease financing rooftop business in the US and ongoing PV module partnership success in Japan that was set to continue throughout the year, it was sold out for the year.

Management noted that its project development business was on course to provide US$3.5 billion in revenue and approximately US$1 billion in gross margin from 2013 through 2016.

Financial results

SunPower reported first quarter 2013 GAAP revenue of US$635.4 million, compared to US$678.5 million in the preceding quarter but significantly higher (US494.1 million) in the first quarter of 2012.

GAAP net loss of US$61.9 million, down from US$74.5 million in the same period a year ago. Operating loss for the quarter was US$23.6 million, down significantly from US$50.7 million in the same period of 2011. GAAP gross margin was 9.3%, up from 6.9% in the fourth quarter of 2012 and up slightly from 9.2% in the first quarter of 2012.

On a non GAAP regional sales basis, America’s generated 74% of revenue in the first quarter of 2013 (80% in Q412) and accounted for 72MW of module sales. APAC continues (mainly Japan) to grow, accounting for 14% of revenue and 58MW of module sales. APAC accounted for 9% of revenue in the prior quarter.

Europe (EMEA) had been the weakest link for over a year, yet management said that business was stabilising in the region and sales would focus on France, Germany and Italy in 2013.

Importantly, SunPower said that during the first quarter, the company was awarded 65MW of rooftop projects in France during a recent tender process, which had been supported by majority company owner, Total.

With demand increasing, SunPower said that it increased cell production in the quarter to 208MW, up 36% from the previous quarter. SunPower recognised 172MW of sales, while it shipped 186MW. Total module production capacity remained at 1.2GW. Full capacity was expected to be reached in the second half of the year.