Satcon’s utility-scale project pipeline and bookings strong for 2010

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Although still in a business transition period with its shift to greater (60%) PV inverter manufacturing in China, Satcon Technology has reported a strong order book entering 2010, which is first-half year loaded as well as a project pipeline expectation that indicates sales in the second-half of the year will remain strong. The company also reported full-year financial results for 2009 that were approximately 3% down from 2008. Revenue reached US$52.5 million in 2009, compared to US$54.3 million in 2008. Its renewable market revenue was approximately US$47.7 million, equivalent to 162MW, according to the company.

The company noted that first-quarter sales were expected to range between US$14 and US$16 million, approximately double the sales in the same period of 2009. Satcon has recently announced major projects with China-based GCL totalling over 60MW of inverters to be used in several projects, all expected to be completed in the first half of 2010. Some 41% of Satcon’s bookings in the fourth quarter came from China.

Steve Rhoades, Satcon’s president/CEO, also noted in a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter and full-year financial results that it had already received an order from Energy 21 to deliver over 30MW of its ‘PowerGate’ Plus PV inverters for 15 solar plants in the Czech Republic.

Rhoades also said that the company had received an order from Sky OZZ International, a large developer of commercial-scale solar in Canada, to supply 18MW of PowerGate Plus inverters for 40 rooftop power plants across Ontario.

With its current advantage of having a manufacturing base in Burlington, ON, Rhoades noted that he anticipated future volume business from Ontario and had identified approximately 50 large-scale projects it could bid on, especially with its 100% compliance with the Ontario feed-in tariff local content requirements.

“In a pipeline at large we are particularly pleased with what we are seeing in China. The Ontario feed-in tariff pipeline and Europe as people kind of push to get projects in place ahead of the German feed-in tariff reduction and as feed-in tariffs come up in some of the other places like Greece and Czech, we have done pretty well,” said Rhoades during the conference call. “In the U.S. every year, for the last three years has seen a second-half-year market. And so, we have a good pipeline in the U.S. and I think we are looking forward to that continuing to be the trend as the U.S. becomes a stronger market as we look at the second half of the year.”

During the fourth quarter, the company shipped 354 units of its PowerGate Plus and ‘Prism’ inverters. It also booked its first orders for its next-generation ‘Solstice’ power conversion platform.

PowerGate Plus solution continued to be its strongest performing product, shipping 84 units, and representing 100% growth over the fourth quarter of 2008.

Order backlog, which consists of firm fixed purchase orders with its renewable energy customers, stood at US$32.5 million as of March 4, 2010.

Current capacity for its new facility in China was put at 400MW with room to expand to 600MW, simply by adding an additional work shift. Its Burlington facility had been downscaled to 200MW.

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