SunPower launches modules in Japan, registers good Q2 performance


Photovoltaic manufacturer SunPower is launching its ‘X-Series’ modules in Japan. The modules employ ‘Maxeon’ solar cells and boast 21.2 percent nameplate module efficiency besides 345W performance configuration.

The company has stated that the module efficiency has been verified by NREL and it adds that Japan Electrical Safety and Environment Technology Laboratories (JET) have also approved the modules for deployment in the Japanese domestic rooftop market.

SunPower plans to make the product available in Japan in 2016. According to the company, the X-Series modules are to be produced at its Fab 4 facility in the Philippines.

Fab 4, which SunPower had planned to put into operation by mid-2015, hasn’t reached peak capacity production. The company stated that its capacity stands at 30MW and not the original 40MW.

The facility is now expected to go into full operation later this year. According to the company, its output in 2016 would be an estimated 225 megawatts.

The new panels of SunPower are touted to be ideal for installation within limited roof space. And these all-black panels also offer aesthetics along with efficiency.

The modules also offer building owners faster return on investment as more power is generated from each square meter of roof. The panels also claim reliability in the longer run.

The X-Series modules were said to be backed by the industry’s first combined 25-year product and power warranty.

The Japanese launch of SunPower’s modules has coincided with the publication of its report for Q2, 2015. The company had launched its yieldco 8point3 Energy Partners with First Solar in the quarter and is pegging hope on the long-term cost of capital advantage it will offer.

The quarter also saw the company increase the size of its North American pipeline by 1.5 gigawatts as it acquired the US solar project development portfolio of Infigen Energy.

The portfolio includes about 35 early- to late-stage solar projects that are of capacity 100 megawatts or above and are expected to be completed by 2020.

According to SunPower, it made good progress in development of ongoing projects in the quarter. A 135-megawatt solar project in Quinto, sold to 8point3 Energy Partners, is to go into commercial operation in Q4, 2015. The company has also fully grid-connected 579 megawatts of Solar Star projects for Berkshire Hathaway Energy and Southern California Edison.

The company also built on its plant portfolio with projects in South Africa, Japan, China and Chile.

Further it stated that it exceeded bookings target for the quarter and that its commercial project pipeline exceeded $1 billion in Q2, 2015.

Of its distributed power generation business, SunPower recorded notable growth in the residential segment. The bookings for residential solar projects in North America for the quarter grew by 120 percent year on year and Japan remained the key market for the company among international markets.

In the aggregate, SunPower recorded an increase in net income by $20.7 million, which included $4.7 million related to 8point3 Energy Partners.

And the company hopes that in the third quarter of the fiscal, it would earn revenue of $400 million to $450 million, gross margin of 10 percent to 12 percent, EBITDA of $0 to $15 million and megawatts deployed in the range of 300-MW to 330-MW.

And for the entire fiscal year 2015, the company expects non-GAAP revenue of $2.40 billion to $2.60 billion, gross margin of 21 percent to 23 percent.

Ajith Kumar S