Sunrun posts Q1 2020 installs of 97.4MW amid reports of layoffs

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Share on email
Email
Image credit: Sunrun

US residential solar specialist Sunrun has posted Q1 2020 installs largely in line with earlier quarters despite the COVID-19 crisis, pulling its 2020 guidance as reports emerge of sizeable layoffs.

Preliminary, unaudited figures out on Monday indicate the firm deployed 97.4MW over the year’s first quarter. While below its expectations of 102MW, the figure remains largely in line with quarterly roll-out records last year, including Q3 2019 (107MW) and Q4 2019 (117MW).

Sunrun – thought to be the top US residential installer after overtaking Tesla two years ago – had said in late February it was expecting to end 2020 with 15% more installs than in 2019. The firm is however now withdrawing the guidance, amid talk of “uncertainty” over COVID-19's impacts.

Sunrun admitted this week that the COVID-19 crisis has affected Q1 2020 installs but said it expects the appetite for solar to remain strong. Having enlarged its existing tax equity facilities, the firm claimed its current financing levels could fund some 216MW of leased projects at 90% of contracted value.

Sunrun’s statement came as Business Insider reported the firm has let go around 100 staff and acted to furlough “at least 65 more”. Contacted by PV Tech, Sunrun had not commented on the claims by the time this article was published.

The firm’s statement did mention “labor-related cost actions”, which it claims to have adopted to slash quarterly costs by US$30 million. These actions “strike an appropriate balance” between the welfare of staff and strengthening Sunrun versus “downside scenarios”, the firm argued.

ROTH sticks to ‘buy’ advice as Sunrun goes digital

A note from ROTH Capital Partners suggested it puts stock in Sunrun’s narrative. On Wednesday, the analysts said they were sticking to their ‘buy’ advice for the firm’s shares on Nasdaq, adding that the install figures of 97.4MW are “positive” given the current circumstances.

As ROTH noted, Sunrun claims to have ended Q1 2020 with US$366 million in cash balance, of which US$286 million is unrestricted; both figures are higher than in Q4 2019. “We believe the company has sufficient liquidity to manage through the downturn,” ROTH commented.

Separate analysis by the consultancy, out last week, showed residential players feel they may able to stick to full-year growth plans if COVID-19 impacts are contained within two to three months. Cost drops driven by the pandemic may help the segment rebound “faster than expected”, ROTH said.

Sunrun’s rivals in the space are too having to act to contain the fallout. Reports have emerged of jobs lost at Sungevity and Sunworks, while SunPower is trying to save US$50 million as it pulls its 2020 guidance and Tesla has been forced to shutter its solar factory in response to lockdowns.

This week’s update by Sunrun shed light on the firm’s moves to adapt to a reality of COVID-19 disruption. A push to make installation “contact-free” has involved using inspection drones, while the shift to a fully virtual sales workforce has seen “more leads” come through on online channels.

The widespread move to remote working will, Sunrun believes, reinforce the business case of solar and storage. Both technologies can offer “more certainty during uncertain times, greater financial value, and more protection for families when they need it most,” the firm said.

PV Tech has set up a dedicated tracker to map out how the COVID-19 pandemic is disrupting solar supply chains worldwide. You can read the latest updates here.

If you have a COVID-19 statement to share or a story on how the pandemic is disrupting a solar business anywhere in the world, do get in touch at jrojo@solarmedia.co.uk or lstoker@solarmedia.co.uk.

Read Next

May 12, 2021
Integrated solar roofing firm GAF Energy has started moving its manufacturing base from Asia and building out its first combined research and development (R&D) and manufacturing centre in San Jose, California.
May 7, 2021
US solar installer SunPower expects deployment to surge in the coming quarters as tailwinds and refreshed business strategy combine, despite installs within its core residential and light commercial (RLC) segment dropping in Q1 2021.
May 6, 2021
Sunrun has increased its guidance for 2021 after a first quarter performance which has put the company on track to record its best ever year, CEO Lynn Jurich said.
May 3, 2021
German PV solutions provider IBC Solar is adding microinverters and energy storage systems from Enphase Energy to its product portfolio.
May 3, 2021
Power product supplier Generac’s sales bounced back in the first three months of 2021, increasing 70% compared with the same period last year.
PV Tech Premium
April 30, 2021
Elon Musk pitched a new vision for Tesla’s home solar-storage product this week, labelling it a “profound” alternative to the status quo. Liam Stoker analyses Tesla’s newly-described offering, the integration of Tesla’s solar and storage into a single product and explores benefits that may have been overlooked.

Subscribe to Newsletter

Upcoming Events

Upcoming Webinars
May 26, 2021
Session 1 - 7:00 AM (BST) | Session 2 - 5:00 PM (BST)
Solar Media Events
June 15, 2021
Solar Media Events
July 6, 2021
Solar Media Events
August 24, 2021