Soltec posts 2020 loss due to project delays but pipeline hits new high

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The tracker manufacturer was affected by coronavirus-related project delays and increased costs due to the pandemic. Image: Soltec.

Soltec recorded a €4.9 million (US$6 million) loss last year as the coronavirus pandemic caused projects delays and an increase in costs for the Spanish solar tracker manufacturer.

The impacts were strongly felt in the second and fourth quarters of the year, with the company hit by delays resulting from port congestion, project site labour constraints, interconnection and financing delays, as well as an increase in solar panel costs.

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While revenue for 2020 was down 34% year-on-year to €235.6 million, the company stressed it has not been affected by any significant project cancellations, only temporary setbacks as a result of the pandemic.

Soltec’s tracker unit closed the year with record operating indicators, with a backlog of 1,891MW and a pipeline of 24,340MW – figures that “will continue to improve in the first months of 2021”, the company said.

The firm’s project development business arm, Powertis, ended the year with a 5GW pipeline, consisting of 717MW in backlog, 792MW in advanced pipeline projects, 1,366MW in early stage and 2,112MW as identified opportunities. The unit last year signed a deal with Total to co-develop a 1GW PV pipeline in Spain.

The results statement also revealed Soltec’s efforts to diversify its customer base for both the tracker supply business as well as Powertis. For 2020, the company’s largest customers were Enel, Brookfield, Solarcentury and PCL Construction Services. In terms of geography, Spain and Latin America accounted for 73% of the group’s total revenues for the year.

Soltec’s 2021 outlook will see the tracker business target new markets “to profit from the growth of solar PV worldwide”, while the development unit will enter the Saudi Arabian market and further activities in USA, Latin America, Middle East and Asia.

Soltec’s results are its first since the company’s successful initial public offering on the Spanish Stock Exchange in October that showed strong investor demand. The firm said the IPO secured its ability to address growth opportunities in the PV market as well as finance Powertis’s business plan.

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