SunPower to invest in platform upgrades as residential solar customer backlog reaches new record

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SunPower’s customer backlog for the next quarter sits at 13,800, a 169% year-on-year increase. Image: SunPower.

US residential solar installer SunPower’s backlog soared to a record 13,800 customers entering Q2 2022 with the installer confirming a series of investments it is making to meet surging demand.

Its quarterly backlog more than doubled year-on-year, with installations during the quarter rising 40% to 16,500 as the installer reaped the rewards of heightened demand for residential solar in the US.

Moreover, SunPower also pointed to a 70,000-strong pipeline of installs for new homes, which it described as a key pillar of the company’s portfolio. SunPower has targeted partnerships with different homebuilders across the US, including Landsea Homes more recently.

The company posted total revenues of US$350.3 million for the opening quarter of the year, up from US$250 million recorded in Q1 2021. The figure does not include proceeds from the sale of its C&I Solutions operations, which it sold in February to TotalEnergies for US$250 million.

But while residential solar revenue hit a record-high of US$336 million – up 41% from Q1 2021 – the company reported a net loss of around US$2 million. Speaking to analysts following the results disclosure, company CFO Manu Sial noted that SunPower had witnessed its earnings per customer fall from a target of US$2,000 – US$2,400 to around US$1,700, a fall attributed to increased module, freight and labour costs.

In addition, costs of around US$18 million have been associated with investment in SunPower’s platforms, which the company expects to benefit from in the coming quarters.

Adjusted earnings stood at US$11.2 million in Q1 2022, down from US$18.8 million in the same quarter last year.

During the quarter SunPower confirmed it was in late-stage discussions with First Solar to develop a residential solar panel with a module that will combine crystalline silicon with a thin film semiconductor. The company also launched in March 2022 an upgraded version of its battery storage system SunVault, with 26kWh and 52kWh versions.

“Demand is accelerating as consumers look to solar as a more stable, secure and sustainable energy source, and this is evident as we enter the second quarter with a record backlog and pipeline for new homes,” said Peter Faricy.

SunPower reiterated its guidance for the year of earnings of US$90-110 million and customer additions of 73,000-80,000.

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