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SunPower Unveils New Solar Products & Low-Key 2016 Guidance

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Following in the wake of a respectable Q3 financial earnings report, US solar manufacturer SunPower has revealed a new line of solar panels and low-key financial guidance for 2016.

SunPower announced its third quarter earnings late-October, revealing the continuing efforts of its new business focus, that of retaining assets rather than selling them. Specifically, SunPower is gearing up to drop a number of held assets down to its new yieldco, 8point3 Energy Partners, which has affected the company’s overall revenue and net intake.

Subsequently, and revealed on Thursday, SunPower has forecast moderate fiscal guidance for the financial year 2016. In its Q3 earnings report, SunPower executives predicted 2015 would finish with GAAP revenue between $1.5 billion and $1.55 billion, and a gross margin of between 15% and 16%. Announced on Thursday, SunPower is expecting similar goals for 2016, with GAAP revenue of between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion, and a gross margin of 16% to 18% — in addition to a net loss of $415 million to $365 million.

As the company revealed in the Fiscal Year 2016 Guidance press release, the company’s “2016 financial guidance reflects the impact of planned project sales to 8point3 Energy Partners.”

The company’s non-GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principals) revenue for 2016 is expected to be in the range of $3.3 billion and $3.5 billion, with a gross margin of 13% to 15%. (To understand more of the intricacies of the difference between GAAP revenue and non-GAAP revenue, especially as it applies to SunPower’s focus on feeding its yieldco 8point3 Energy Partners, Bloomberg’s Chris Martin has a very helpful explanation.)

At the same time, however, SunPower also revealed a new product line of solar panels that it intends to market under the product name “Performance Series.” The new solar panels “utilize a proprietary manufacturing process to assemble conventional silicon solar cells into panels with increased efficiency and reliability compared with conventional panels.”

“Our new line of Performance Series products continue the SunPower tradition of higher efficiency, superior reliability and enhanced aesthetics compared with conventional panels, all in a lower priced product configuration,” said Tom Werner, president and CEO of SunPower. “Together with our best-in-class E-Series and X-Series back-contact panels, we are expanding our product line to offer customers a wider range of product choice and increase our reach to additional markets, further enhancing company growth.”

The technology behind the new Performance Series range is at least partly due to the acquisition earlier this year of Fremont, California-based Cogenra Solar.

“SunPower’s new Performance Series is a powerful combination of Cogenra’s innovative cell interconnect technology, with more than 30 patents issued and pending, together with our extensive solar panel intellectual property, manufacturing experience and scale,” Werner continued. “These new products will provide our customers with up to 15 percent more power than conventional panels with improved reliability and shade tolerance.”

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