ReneSola eyes 1GW solar pipeline after refocusing on core markets

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Image credit: ReneSola

ReneSola has outlined its top country targets for solar growth this year, amid plans to add a fresh 1GW to its pipeline in the US and Europe in 2020 following its relocation to the former in 2019.

The small-scale specialist will zero in on the US (200MW), the UK (200MW), Spain (200MW), Poland (150MW), France (100MW), Germany (100MW) and Hungary (50MW) as it works to expand its global pipeline this year, according to full-year results released in recent days.

Once a solar manufacturer, ReneSola sold its dedicated unit in October 2017 to refocus on pureplay development. The firm pressed further ahead with its business repositioning in November 2019, when it moved its headquarters from China’s Shanghai to the US city of Stamford, Connecticut.

The new full-year results indicate the group has completed to date a 779MW solar portfolio worldwide. Some 216MW of that total are up and running plants, for the most part (172MW) distributed generation systems in its former home market of China.

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

In Europe, the current pipeline ranges from ground-mount systems in 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.”

EBITDA boosting and debt trimming for player in midst of refocusing

ReneSola’s full-year update did not only shed light on the firm’s core PV markets, but also the state of the finances that must be able to power growth across all markets.

The document records revenues of US$119 million across 2019, down from the US$150-170 million it was expecting but up from the US$96.9 million it posted in 2018. Guidance for 2020 indicates the group expects a certain dip in 2020, amid predictions of full-year revenues of US$80-100 million.

The firm also dipped into the red in 2019 with US$11.68 million in net income losses, following a positive figure of US$5.09 million in 2018. For its part, annual adjusted EBITDA saw a 2018-to-2019 25% jump from US$26.9 million to US$33.6 million.

In its letter to shareholders, ReneSola explained it worked last year to “optimize the profit potential” of its PV pipeline. The firm said it had to opt for project write-downs across “markets that were not economically viable”, following the cancellation of projects in China and the US. 

The results suggest a healthier balance sheet for ReneSola at the end of 2019, with more cash and cash equivalents in hand (US$24.29 million) than one year prior (US$6.7 million). Long-term borrowings also slimmed from US$41 million to US$3.3 million year on year.

Growth going forward will be steered by ReneSola’s relatively new management team. Together with its US relocation last November, the firm named Yumin Liu as new CEO – replacing predecessor Shelley Xu after a few months – and Ke Chen as new CFO.

The prospects and challenges of solar's new era in the US will take centre stage at Large Scale Solar USA 2020 (Austin, Texas, on 23-24 June 2020).

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