SunPower Corp. recently announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended Jan. 3, 2016.”2015 was a transformational year for the solar industry as increasing demand, favorable policy developments and broad global support for renewables created strong industry growth fundamentals. SunPower benefited from these trends as we exceeded our forecasts and closed out the year with record fourth quarter and full year non-GAAP 2015 results. During the year, we executed on our technology roadmaps, added new products and launched our joint YieldCo vehicle 8point3 Energy Partners. We are well positioned to capitalize on the continued growing adoption of solar in North America as well as key international markets such asChina and Latin America. We also expanded our global power plant footprint while completing the world’s largest solar power plant, located in California. In distributed generation, we made further investments in Smart Energy and launched a range of complete customer solutions for the commercial market that will significantly reduce cost while improving performance,” said Tom Werner, SunPower president and CEO. “Upstream, we again delivered record output and yield while ramping our new Fab 4 cell manufacturing facility for volume production in 2016. We made strong progress on our cost reduction roadmaps and in the fourth quarter announced the launch of our new lower cost, high efficiency Performance Series product line which enhances our ability to rapidly expand SunPower’s global footprint with significantly lower capital cost.
“In the power plant segment for the fourth quarter, we successfully met our project commitments, added to our pipeline and further built out our U.S. HoldCo asset base, improving visibility for drop downs to 8point3 Energy Partners in 2016. Specifically, our 135-megawatt (MW) Quinto project achieved commercial operation during the quarter and is now generating energy for 8point3 Energy Partners. Our quarterly power plant segment results benefited from strong Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) execution as our 50-MW Hooper project for Xcel was completed a quarter ahead of schedule. We also commenced construction on our 100-MW project for NV Energy in Nevada and recently dedicated our second 15-MW project at Nellis Air Force base. Going forward, we see significant upside opportunity in the U.S. power plant market as the recent extension of the U.S. federal solar investment tax credit (ITC) provides a sustainable, long term market structure to support further growth. Internationally, we continue to expand our footprint into new markets and recently announced our first project in Mexico, a 36-MW project for Aeropuertos Del Sureste (ASUR), a leading airport operator in the country. This power purchase agreement (PPA) is one of the first significant solar PPAs in Mexico and extends our position as a leader in international solar development. Construction of this project will begin this year and is expected to be completed in 2017.
“We also executed well in our residential business. In North America, our performance was solid as our fourth quarter results exceeded plan, we gained market share and broadened our leasing footprint as megawatt installed growth exceeded 45 percent year over year. Additionally, based on our fourth quarter bookings, we expect continued strong residential demand in 2016. Finally, we also expanded our utility partnership strategy during the quarter as we announced an innovative agreement with TXU Energy to bring SunPower solar solutions to the Texas market.
In our commercial segment, we are well positioned for 2016, having added projects to our backlog and building our pipeline to over $1 billion. As we announced during the quarter, we launched our Helix platform, the world’s first fully-integrated solar solution for commercial customers. Designed for the rooftop, carport and commercial ground-mount markets, Helix delivers significantly lower costs and improved reliability while reducing installation times. We are currently shipping our first systems, and interest from both new and existing customers is significant. Finally, we were pleased to announce that we recently completed our first commercial project drop down to 8point3 Energy Partners. This 20-MW project for Kern County School District consists of 27 carports at various locations across the district and will be constructed in three phases with completion scheduled before the end of 2016,” Werner concluded.
“Solid execution across all segments, along with the ability to leverage our development capabilities, enabled us to post record results for the fourth quarter and 2015 fiscal year,” said Chuck Boynton, SunPower CFO. “Our balance sheet remains strong as we successfully executed a new convertible bond offering and recently renewed our revolver including increasing its size to $300 million. With an approximately $1 billion cash position and our undrawn revolver, we have the resources we need to continue our long term growth initiatives. Finally, we prudently managed our working capital during the quarter as we improved our performance in a number of key cash metrics while adding assets to our HoldCo base.”
Fourth quarter and fiscal year 2015 GAAP and non-GAAP results reflect a charge of $33 million, or approximately 20 cents on a non-GAAP basis, related to the contracted sale, at current market based rates, of above market priced polysilicon acquired through a long term supply agreement.
Additionally, fourth quarter fiscal 2015 non-GAAP results include net adjustments that, in the aggregate, increased non-GAAP net income by $398.0 million, including $394.1 million related to 8point3 Energy Partners, $13.1 million related to utility and power plant projects, $2.0 million related to sale of operating lease assets, $16.5 million related to stock-based compensation expense, $1.7 million related to the 8point3 Energy Partners initial public offering, and $3.3 million related to other adjustments, offset by $32.7 million related to tax effect.
Given strong global demand as well as a favorable policy environment, the company remains very confident that it can achieve its long term strategic and financial goals by leveraging its flexible business model to drive sustainable growth. With the recent extension of the ITC, the company anticipates increasing its investment in the United States while maintaining its global go-to-market focus.
The company’s fourth quarter financial results reflected a shift of approximately $65 million in EBITDA originally forecasted to be recognized in fiscal year 2016. This shift was primarily due to earlier than forecasted project completions in power plants, accelerated recognition of residential leases and earlier than anticipated benefits related to 8point3 Energy Partners. As a result of this approximately $65 million EBITDA shift, the company now expects 2016 EBITDA to be in the range of $450 million to $500 millioncompared to previous guidance of $515 million to $565 million. For 2017, the company believes that with the ITC extension, further investment in the U.S. market and a strong global project pipeline, it is well positioned to sustainably grow its EBITDA.
For fiscal year 2016, the company’s non-GAAP expectations are as follows: revenue of $3.2 billion to $3.4 billion, gross margin of 14 percent to 16 percent, capital expenditures of $210 million to $240 million and gigawatts deployed in the range of 1.7 GW to 2.0 GW. On a GAAP basis, the company expects 2016 revenue of $2.2 billion to $2.4 billion, gross margin of 17 percent to 19 percent and net income of $0 million to $50 million. Fiscal year 2016 GAAP guidance includes the impact of the company’s HoldCo strategy and deferrals due to real estate accounting.
The company’s first quarter fiscal 2016 non-GAAP guidance is as follows: revenue of $290 million to $340 million, gross margin of 12 percent to 13 percent, EBITDA of $0 to $25 million and megawatts deployed in the range of 315 MW to 340 MW. On a GAAP basis, the company expects revenue of $280 million to $330 million, gross margin of 11 percent to 12 percent and net loss of $115 million to$90 million. First quarter 2016 GAAP guidance includes the impact of the company’s HoldCo strategy and deferrals due to real estate accounting.