Photon Energy Group attributes 12% Q1-3 revenue drop to ‘slow-down’ in PV industry

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A PV project from Photon. Image: Photon Energy Group

Solar project developer and asset owner Photon Energy Group has posted reduced revenues and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortisation (EBITDA) in its financial results for the first nine months of 2023, which the company attributed to “lower realised electricity prices and a slow-down in PV components trading”.

Unaudited revenues for January-September were €59.46 million (US$63.7 million), down 12.3% year-on-year (YoY). Unaudited consolidated EBITDA dropped to €4.75 million from €22.85 million in the same period in 2022, constituting a 79.2% decrease.

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Revenues from electricity generation were €18.66 million, down by 40.6% YoY which the company attributed to lower realised electricity prices and unfavourable weather conditions. Indeed, electricity prices in 2022 were notably higher in Europe as a result of the war in Ukraine.

Overall in the period, Photon posted a net loss of €9.6 million compared with a net profit of €6.55 million a year before.

“The third quarter has confirmed that 2023 is a very challenging year in many of our key business areas. Low energy prices, delays in plant commissioning and a drastic slowdown in the demand for PV components have aggregated to a stark contrast in our financial results compared to 2022,” said Georg Hotar, CEO of Photon Energy Group.

PV component manufacturer SMA Group – which produces inverters – recorded an 84% increase in YoY sales in Q1-3 2023.

Hotar said: “While we will have added over 50MWp of new generation capacity over the twelve months until Q1 2024 and electricity generation results are poised to recover next year, the lessons are clear.”

Beyond financial results, Amsterdam-headquartered Photon’s independent power producer (IPP) arm generated a “record” 49.3GWh in Q3 2023 and 114.8GWh year-to-date of clean electricity, up by 33.2% and 11.4% YoY respectively.

It also had a number of developments in Romania, including construction works on new power plants in the country with a total capacity of 20.1MWp brought to the commissioning stage, and expanding its IPP portfolio by 31.5 MWp in Romania.

Hotar continued, outlining the company’s future: “The 389MW of DSR services contracted for €25 million in 2024 are only the first step in a wider pivot from energy generation to grid support services in an energy world where the ‘timing of energy’ is becoming more important than pure volume. As we pivot towards developing and investing into energy storage assets, we are planning to crystalise the value created in our PV project pipeline.

“We are fully focused on controlling our costs while increasing our services to external customers across engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC), operations and maintenance (O&M), ancillary services and electricity offtake and supply with the clear goal to reduce the dependency on the financial performance of our PV power plant portfolio. The current turmoil in the PV industry and energy industry in general provide new opportunities which we are planning to seize.”

Looking forward to the end of the year, Photon management said that its original revenue guidance of €110 million might not be met due to “declining volumes of PV component trading”. It reduced its expectations to €75-80 million.

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