Q-Cells and SunPower post better-than-expected profits reflecting booming solar market.April 20, 2006
No. 2 solar-cell maker Q-Cells released preliminary figures showing its first-quarter profit jumped 129 percent, but its shares slid 6.7 percent Thursday after an investor sold his 20.5 percent stake in the company to diversify his investments.
Another solar company, SunPower, also posted higher-than-expected profits on Thursday, reflecting a booming solar market.Excluding interest and taxes, Q-Cells’ profit rose to €24 million (about $29.5 million) from €52.8 million ($12.9 million) in the year-ago quarter, according to preliminary figures Q-Cells released Wednesday night.
Iincluding interest and taxes, Q-Cells’ net income rose to €15.5 million ($19.1 million) in the first quarter from €6.5 million ($8 million) in the same period last year.Excluding one-time items and stock-based compensation, SunPower on Thursday posted first-quarter profit of $2.8 million, or $0.04 per share, compared to a next loss of $6.1 million in the year-ago quarter.
Including special items, SunPower’s net income was $300,000, a break-even on a per share basis, compared with a loss of $7.2 million in the same period last year. Sales nearly quadrupled to $42 million from $11.1 million last year.
The healthy earnings from SunPower and Q-Cells reflect a booming solar market. The global solar market grew 45 percent to $12 billion in 2005 from $8.3 billion in 2004, according to CLSA Asia-Pacific analyst Michael Rogol. He expects the market to top $16 billion this year and $40 billion in 2010.
But growth has been limited by a worldwide shortage of polysilicon, solar-grade silicon, and that means companies with secure supplies of silicon have a significant advantage.
Moore's law is the empirical observation that the complexity of integrated circuits, with respect to minimum component cost, doubles every 24 months.
Tech Notes; A Cheap Cell for Electricity
Texas Instruments and Southern California Edison are working on developing a new type of photovoltaic device that uses thousands of tiny silicon spheres embedded in a sheet of aluminum foil to convert sunlight into electricity. The first cells for field tests are expected to be ready before the end of the year. Although the efficiency with which solar cells convert sunlight to electricity has been rising in recent years and the cost of manufacturing the cells has been dropping, their cost has still been too high for widespread use in competition with traditional sources of electricity. Executives at Texas Instruments and Southern California Edison believe the inexpensive silicon spheres should cut costs significantly.May 12, 1991