Solar cell manufacturer Canadian Solar said it remains optimistic about its prospects in 2010 with an increasing customer base in emerging markets and the ability to leverage Canadian feed-in tariffs, as it posted a 2009 revenue decrease of about $40m.
Faulty equipment caused the company to cut its margin estimates in previous weeks but Canadian Solar chairman and CEO Dr Shawn Qu said its revenues had rebounded from first quarter figures towards the end of the year.
‘2009 was an important year for Canadian Solar. We made considerable progress in the growth of our company and built out our global customer base,’ Qu said in an earnings call today.
Revenues for the year totaled $663.8m, compared with $705m for 2008 with fourth quarter income increasing to $14.9m against a net loss of $49.2m for the fourth quarter of 2008.
During the year the company is aiming to increase its global presence and drive efficiency by increasing its internal manufacturing capability, Qu said.
‘We are aiming to be a top five module producer with a ten per cent market share in the next couple of years.’
For the first quarter of 2010, Canadian Solar expects shipments of approximately 180MW to 190MW and gross margins in the mid-teens. The company was less concrete on figures going forward but said it expects shipment growth in the second quarter accompanied by a relatively stable pricing environment.
Qu said new markets and new feed-in tariffs in Canada would hold-up demand.
‘We believe demand will remain strong in 2010 as new markets take hold and we continue to gain market share,’ he said.
‘We are also optimistic about Canada. We have started the selection and approval process in Ontario to maximise feed-in tariffs… We expect to gain traction in this new market.’
Canadian Solar recently completed and sold its first 250KW photovoltaic system in Ontario.
Qu cited Japan, Korea and Czech Republic as markets it plans to expand in during 2010 but said the firm will take a country-by-country strategy.
‘We are listening closely to the partners and customers in each market,’ he said.
‘We have delivered products to more than 300 customers in seven core markets and 18 secondary markets.’
The company revised its margin estimate for the fourth quarter 2009 from the high- to mid-teens on 19 February blaming faulty equipment at its new ingot and wafer plant.
It said its fourth quarter shipments totaled 155.5MW, including 146.5MW of module sales and approximately 6.5MW of off-spec solar cells.
It expects to have an equal or slightly higher volume of externally purchased cells than internally produced cells during the first half of the year.
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