Updated: Ahead of its financial analyst day event, major PV energy provider SunPower has pre-released financial guidance for 2015, while announcing its highly anticipated next wave of manufacturing capacity expansions.
According to several financial analyst notes ahead of the event, guidance on all key metrics except perhaps gross margin were deemed below analyst expectations, including announced capacity expansions.
SunPower said it would go ahead with the construction of Fab 5, which it first mulled back in early February 2014. The initial nameplate capacity is being targeted at only 800MW, though this would be home to its next-generation technology, and none of SunPower's main competitors in high-efficiency have yet to announce any new plans at this level. Fab 5 would fabricate both cells and modules at the integrated plant. Location of Fab 5 was initially announced ahead of the analyst event.
Perhaps the key expansion is the 1GW-plus of additional capacity of SunPower’s Low Concentration PV (LCPV) cell and system technology. This employs its existing solar cell technology in a unique CPV system that is already gaining traction for PV projects in China.
However, SunPower reiterated in its analyst event that its LCPV technology enables leverage on its solar cell capacity, noting for that one 100MW line-pair serves ~1GW per annum of demand.
Overall, capex for 2015 was said to be in a range of US$300 million to US$350 million, up from US$150 million to US$170 million planned for 2014.
SunPower guided full-year 2015, non-GAAP revenue to be in the range of US$2.4 billion to US$2.6 billion and gross margin of 21% to 23%. The company had recently guided 2014 non-GAAP revenue of being in the range of US$2.535 billion to US$2.585 billion, with gross margin of 20% to 21%.
Recognised shipments were guided in the range of 1.3GW to 1.4GW, compared to recent full-year 2014 guidance of 1.26GW to 1.3GW.