Soltec hit by project development delays due to higher module prices

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Soltec’s Q1 revenues were down 53% year-on-year. Image: Soltec.

Spanish tracker manufacturer Soltec saw its revenue and earnings tumble in the first quarter of the year, citing delays in PV project development due to higher raw material costs that have led to increased module prices.

The company, which has been listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange since October, posted revenues of €28.4 million (US$34.7 million), 53% lower than the year-ago quarter, while earnings before interest and taxes plummeted to -€6.6 million.

Soltec said the slowed reactivation of solar project construction this year due to higher module prices, combined with the circumstances caused by COVID, impacted turnover and margins as they resulted in a delay in revenue flow registration.

High demand and more expensive raw materials have resulted in increased bidding prices for the centralised procurement of solar modules in China, with manufacturers warning the module price hikes will spread overseas.

Despite these impacts, both Solcec’s tracker manufacturing unit and solar project development arm, Powertis, closed the quarter with record operating capacity.

The tracker business’s pipeline increased 17% to 25,324MW, spread across more than 20 countries globally – a geographical diversification that “mitigates risks”, the company said. Among contracts signed in Q1, Soltec reached an agreement with Focus Energia to supply 852MW of solar trackers for the first development phase of a bifacial solar project in Brazil, adding to a deal with Elecnor for the supply of 359MW in the country.

Powertis ended the quarter with a pipeline of 6,012MW – which is expected to reach 10GW by the end of the year – with a focus on Brazil, Italy and Spain. It is also expanding into markets such as the US and Colombia.

Soltec’s results publication comes a day after US-based peer Array Technologies revealed it is facing “unprecedented” increases in material and logistics costs, leading it to withdraw its guidance for the year. For Q1, the tracker provider posted a 69% year-on-year decline in adjusted earnings to US$34.5 million, in part due to increased steel costs and logistics constraints.

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