ReneSola cuts Q1 2020 growth forecasts but retains long-term aspirations

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Image credit: ReneSola

Small-scale solar specialist ReneSola Power has slashed its Q1 2020 performance forecasts due to the COVID-19 crisis, but maintained that its full-year growth will not take a hit.

The firm – which last year moved headquarters from China’s Shanghai to the US state of Connecticut – said this week it now expects revenues in the region of US$18-20 million and a 6-7% gross margin in Q1 2020, both a drop on the US$30-33 million and 8-10% figures it had guided last month.

ReneSola explained the axing of in-person meetings and temporary shuttering of financial institutions had delayed a sale of a 15MW solar duo in Hungary. The deal's closing date of 7 April, rather than in late March as intended, meant the revenues will count towards the Q2 2020 reporting period.

The firm, a pureplay developer since it sold its manufacturing unit in October 2017, added however that it will keep for now its forecasts for full-year growth – US$80-100 million revenues, 18-20% gross margins over 2020 – it guided for a month ago.

ReneSola used the statement this week to spell out the steps it has taken as the COVID-19 pandemic unfolded. Shuttered at the start of the Chinese Lunar New Year break in late January, its single office in Shanghai reopened in mid-February, the firm explained.

When the outbreak moved to the US and major European markets in March, ReneSola instructed all sales staff on either side of the pond to work remotely, barring “a few exceptions where physical presence is necessary for operation of projects.”

“Work progresses even as we await the ‘all clear’ from authorities, at which time we can assume normal operations. During the crisis, we were able to complete the sale of projects in Canada and Hungary, and we received additional credit facilities from government programs to assist our working capital and general corporate purposes”—Yumin Liu, CEO of ReneSola Power

Temporary project delays for player shifting focus to US

The onset of the COVID-19 emergency finds ReneSola working to add a fresh 1GW to its pipeline of small-scale solar this year.

As it released its 2020 guidance last month, the firm had explained the 1GW would be split between the US (200MW), the UK (200MW), Spain (200MW), Poland (150MW), France (100MW), Germany (100MW) and Hungary (50MW).

At the time, the group indicated it is shifting its core business to the US, with a focus on specific segments – community solar, C&I – it believes are strong revenue generators. The firm is eyeing a pipeline of 193.4MW nationwide, split between Florida (100MW), New York state (39MW) and others.

In Europe, the pipeline as of March 2020 ranged from ground-mount systems in the UK (90MW) and Spain (37MW) to feed-in tariff PV plays in France (42.5MW), Hungary (35.5MW) and Poland (19MW). These markets are, the firm said in a letter to shareholders, “strategically positioned for growth.”

The impacts of COVID-19 on the pipeline under planning have been mixed so far, ReneSola reported this week. For one, projects at stages the firm can address via remote work – financing, design, permitting, sales and others – have continued without problem, the company said.

As for under-construction solar projects, some will face “temporary delays” until the arrival of modules and other core components. For plants where all parts have been supplied, construction is currently continuing “uninterrupted”, the firm added.

PV Tech has set up a dedicated tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story on how the pandemic is disrupting a solar business anywhere in the world, do get in touch at jrojo@solarmedia.co.uk or lstoker@solarmedia.co.uk.

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