Solar Industry Heats Up First Part of ’08

    Although the economy is in a downturn triggered by the mortgage crisis, solar, on the other hand, was on an upswing in Q1 2008. SunPower...

    Although the economy is in a downturn triggered by the mortgage crisis, solar, on the other hand, was on an upswing in Q1 2008. SunPower is the company that provided our solar panels so perhaps we can take a small amount of credit for contributing to their stellar profits.

    One issue that none of the presidential candidates will be debating: green is definitely in.

    SunPower profits up nearly 1,000 percent
    By Matt Nauman
    Mercury News

    SunPower’s first-quarter profits soared nearly 1,000 percent as the San Jose solar-panel maker reported more international and U.S. sales.

    Net income rose to $12.8 million, or 15 cents a share, from $1.24 million, or 2 cents, a year earlier. SunPower was expected to earn 14 cents, the average of 14 analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

    Sales rose 92 percent from a year ago to $274 million for the quarter. That was up 22 percent from the fourth quarter of 2007.

    “Our first-quarter performance reflects the value our customers attribute to SunPower’s high-performance solar solutions,” Tom Werner, SunPower’s chief executive officer, said in a statement.

    Much of the company’s growth has come in Europe. It now has 200 dealers globally, including recently added ones in Spain, Germany and and Italy. It also shipped its products into Japan and South Korea.

    In California, SunPower struck a deal to install solar panels on the roofs of seven Wal-Mart stores. Next week, it will unveil a new system atop the Macy’s store at Oakridge Mall in San Jose.

    But the company lowered its guidance for the profits for the rest of 2008, to $1.10 to $1.20 a share, down from the $1.17 to $1.27 a share it had forecast earlier. In mid-morning trading, shares of SunPower were down about 4 percent, to $95.50 on the news. Friedman Billings downgraded the stock from market perform to underperform.


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    Loni Stark
    Loni Stark is a self-professed foodie, and adventure travel seeker, and yet is also passionate about technology’s impact on business and creativity. She's the host of our Stark Insider video features. It’s been said her laugh can be heard from San Jose all the way up to the Golden Gate Bridge. She makes no claims to super powers, although sushi is definitely her Kryptonite. Loni's story...