Major photovoltaics energy provider, SunPower, has reported another year of flat revenue, primarily due to manufacturing capacity constraints.
The company reported full-year 2015 non-GAAP revenue of US$2.612 billion, down from US$2.618 billion in 2014 and $2.602 billion in 2013. Non-GAAP revenue guidance for 2015 had been in the range of US$2.5 billion to US$2.55 billion.
However, EBITDA was higher than expected due to several factors that masked downward revised PV module shipment guidance for the year of 1.15GW to 1.18GW, compared to 1.25GW to 1.3GW in 2015.
Approximately US$65 million in EBITDA that was forecast to be recognised in 2016 was brought forward in the fourth quarter of 2015, due to PV power plant completions ahead of schedule and recognition of residential leases earlier than anticipated as well as some benefits related to project drop downs to its JV yieldco 8point3 Energy Partners in the fourth quarter.
As a result, SunPower reported fourth quarter EBITDA of US$379.9 million, compared to guidance of US$300 million to US$325 million and US$54.2 million in achieved the previous quarter. Full-year EBITDA was US$556.5 million, compared to guidance of US$475 million to US$500 million.
EBITDA would have been higher except the company took a US$33 million charge in relation to polysilicon contracts in the fourth quarter of 2015.
The shift of the US$65 million of EBITDA from 2016 into 2015 accounting has meant the company guided 2016 EBITDA to be in the range of US$450 million to US$500 million, compared to previous guidance of US$515 million to US$565 million. Although management did say in the earnings call that with higher guided shipments in 2016, EBITDA could be higher than expected.
SunPower’s revenue in the fourth quarter of 2015 was driven by a significant increase in revenue recognition from PV power plants, generating US$1,051.6 million in sales, around 77% of total fourth quarter revenue.
PV power plant revenue for the full-year was US$1,572.6, accounting for around 60% of total revenue, compared to around 61% in 2014.
SunPower’s residential segment sales reached US$177.4 million in the fourth quarter and US$647.2 million for the year, compared to US$162.3 million in the previous quarter and US$655.9 million in 2014. Residential segment sales accounted for around 24.7% of total sales in 2015, compared to around 25% in 2014.
Revenue from its commercial segment was US$134.9 million in the fourth quarter, compared to US$145.9 million in the previous quarter. Total revenue in 2015 from the commercial segment was US$392.9 million, compared to US$361.9 in 2014. Commercial segment sales accounted for around 15% of total sales in 2015, compared to around 13.8% in 2014.
With flat sales and continued capacity constraints, SunPower’s commercial segment demonstrated the best incremental business growth in 2015.