ReneSola Earnings, Outlook Offer Some Hope for Solar Energy Firms

Solar rooftop installationReneSola Ltd. (NYSE: SOL) reported first-quarter 2013 results before markets opened this morning. The solar PV maker reported a diluted earnings per share (EPS) loss of $0.23 on revenues of $284.2 million. In the same period a year ago, ReneSola reported a net loss of $0.23 per share on revenue of $211.5 million. First-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for a net loss of $0.28 per share and $264.2 million in revenue.

The loss per American depositary share (ADS) totaled $0.45. One ADS equals two ordinary shares.

In its outlook for the second quarter, ReneSola said it expects shipments of solar wafers and modules to total 700 to 720 megawatts, up from shipments of 662 megawatts in the first quarter. Revenues are forecast in the range of $310 million to $330 million and gross margin is expected to be 3% to 5%. For the full year, shipments are expected to total 2,700 to 2,900 megawatts. The consensus estimates call for second-quarter revenues of $296.5 million and full-year revenues of $1.05 billion. EPS loss estimates are $0.27 for the second quarter and $1.15 for the full year.

The company's CEO said:

Over the past year, we have worked hard to transform our company into a leading global solar brand and technology leader. … Although we are seeing the solar market stabilize, a persistent demand-supply imbalance, coupled with competitive pricing, continues to impact our business and the overall industry.

Gross margins in the first quarter were negative 2%, compared with a negative margin of 3.8% in the first quarter of 2012. The good news is that double-digit negative gross margins appear to be well behind the firm, with the outlook for a positive margin in the current quarter.

ReneSola also said it plans to offer residential solar PV solutions soon, as well as continue R&D on downstream products like inverters and small-scale storage systems. The company appears to understand that it needs to capture more of the revenue from the downstream side of the solar business, and it is doing something about it. What remains to be seen is whether ReneSola waited too long to make this move.

ReneSola's shares are down 6.8% in premarket trading this morning, at $2.04, in a 52-week range of $1.08 to $2.85. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $2.00 before today's results were announced.


Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Alternative Energy, China, Earnings, Green Biz, Technology Companies Tagged: SOL

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