While any loss is still a loss, SunPower Corp.’s net loss in the second quarter 2012 was lower than its and analysts expectations. The company attributed the better-than-expected results to its increased solar leasing business and revenue recognition from projects that are coming online and/or under construction. Like the U.S.’s other large solar company, First Solar, SunPower is both a photovoltaic manufacturer and a project developer, showing that such a vertically integrated approach may be a key strategy for helping such companies weather what has been a withering time for module pricing.
For the second quarter of 2012 SunPower, which is majority-owned by Total, reported a net loss of 71 cents per share on a GAAP basis or $84.2 million on revenue of $595.9 million. That’s compared to a net loss of 67 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012 and $1.51 per share for 2011’s second quarter. However, the loss—on a non-GAAP basis—was 8 cents per share, which beat at least some analysts’ estimates, like Jefferies Corp.’s estimate of 9 cents per share.
“We benefited from our diversified downstream strategy and execution on our accelerated cost-reduction roadmap,” said SunPower Chief Financial Officer Charles Boyton, during the company’s earnings teleconference as transcribed by Seeking Alpha. He said the company’s non-GAAP increased of 10 percent on a year-over-year basis. “We benefited from the strength in North America and Japan. But this was partially offset by a highly competitive European market, more specifically, weakness from Germany.”
The results were driven largely by revenue from ongoing projects, including the California Valley Solar Ranch and the McHenry solar farm, which together accounted for $288 million in revenue. The other driver for the quarter was SunPower’s residential solar business. “SunPower also became the leading residential lease provider in California during Q2,” said Robert Okunski, SunPower’s senior director of investor relations. The company submitted more than 35 percent of all California Solar Initiative residential leases during the quarter, for instance. “With more than 225 dealers in 9 states, now excluding leases and a total of more than 500 dealers in North America, we are well positioned to continue our leadership in the residential market segment,” he said.