SunPower Returns To Profitability In Q4/2019

SunPower: $5.4 Million Net Income In Q4/2019; $1.86 Billion In Annual Revenues For 2019; As Residential Segment Grows, Management Expecting Commercial To Report Profitability During H2/2020
11:00 AM (Beijing Time) - 14. February 2020

As per the its capacity expansion roadmap, SunPower is seeking to establish around 1 GW of Maxeon 5 production capacity by the end of 2021. (Source: SunPower Corp.)

Key Takeaways

  • SunPower’s Q4/2019 financial results show the company earned net income of $5.4 million, after reporting net loss sequentially and annually
  • Residential segment continues to perform and is posied for growth, but project delays bog down commercial segment which the management hopes will be turned around during latter half of 2020
  • Management says P-Series comprised approximately half of its Q4 and full year 2019 shipment volume
  • Full year shipment guidance for 2020 is 2.5 GW to 2.75 GW while for Q1/2020 it is 520 MW to 570 MW

Global solar power company SunPower Corp., returned to profitability in the last quarter of 2019 with GAAP net income of $5.4 million, which is significant since its last year’s net loss was a whopping $158.2 million. This was SunPower’s second return to profitability in 2019 as in Q2/2019 it accrued a net income of $121.5 million (see SunPower Returns To Profitability In Q2/2019).

The residential sector drove the business for the SunPower Energy Services (SPES) segment growing annual installations by 27% in Q4/2019; it reported a backlog of 45,000 new homes at the end of last year. With California mandating solar panels for all new homes from 2020 onward, SunPower said it expects the new homes segment growth to exceed 50% this year.

It is the commercial deployments where the company hopes to do better as it is battling the main challenge of project delays. It expects this segment to return to profitability in the second half of the year.

Full year 2019 revenues added up to $1.86 billion, increasing from $1.72 billion it reported for 2018. Overall, the American company managed to make a net income of $22.2 million last year improving from a net loss of $811.1 million a year back. 

Late last year, SunPower announced its much awaited strategic announcement splitting the company into two public companies—one to focus on manufacturing using its Maxeon Solar Technologies that will be operated with Chinese JV partner TZS, and another for distributed generation, storage and energy services under SPES, plans for which are on track to be executed by the end of Q2/2020. This was followed by the management announcing global workforce reduction of some 3% in January 2020 (see SunPower To Cut Down Global Workforce By 3%).

“Growth was driven primarily by demand in the global DG markets, with DG volume up over 95% year-over-year. For the full year 2019, DG shipments grew approximately 75%. During the fourth quarter, we completed commercialization of our Maxeon 5 technology, ramping our first line-pair to full production,” shared Tom Werner, SunPower CEO and Chiarman of the Board. “Customer demand for this product is strong, and the technology is ready for accelerated ramp consistent with the planned $298 million equity investment from TZS. Demand for our Performance Series (P-Series) product also remains high, comprising approximately half of our fourth quarter and full year 2019 shipment volume.”

Capacity expansion

For the last quarter of the year 2019, SunPower’s shipments were 792 MW, while annual shipments were 2.5 GW and the latter was divided equally between IBC and P-Series technology. Going forward, it will be debottlenecking Fab 4 to expand Maxeon 3 production to over 500 MW. At the same time, it will be converting legacy Maxeon 2 lines and Fab 3 to Maxeon 5. By the end of 2021, Maxeon 5 will have 4 production lines, and all of this together should take it to around 1 GW.   

In combination of these initiatives in Fab 3 and 4, we’ll roughly triple capacity to produce our highest margin products and drive product growth – profit growth,” added Werner. “Concurrently, our HSPV JV is slated to expand P-series capacity by 3 GW, increasing total capacity to around 5 GW. Our P-Series supply allocation from the JV will therefore increased to over 3 GW.”


For Q1/2020, SunPower expects to report GAAP revenues of $435 million to $470 million with gross margin of 3% to 6% as it hopes to recognize shipments of 520 MW to 570 MW. It has guided for net loss of $85 million to $70 million in the first quarter. Adjusted EBITDA will be in the range of ($15) million to $0 million.

For full year 2020, shipments of 2.5 GW to 2.75 GW will lead to GAAP revenues within a range of $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion and adjusted EBITDA of $125 million to $175 million. Capital expenditure should be around $100 million. 

Anu Bhambhani

Anu Bhambhani is the Senior News Editor of TaiyangNews

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Anu Bhambhani