Albuquerque-based Array Technologies Inc. expects its annual revenue to blow past $1 billion in 2021.
If accurate, that would represent a monumental achievement for the homegrown New Mexico manufacturing firm, which makes solar tracking systems for photovoltaic panels.
The company, which went public in October on the Nasdaq Global Market, reported $872.7 million in revenue for 2020, reflecting a 35% jump over the $647.9 million it reported in 2019. Its net income grew by 49% to $59.1 million last year, up from $39.7 million in 2019.
Now, the company is projecting another 30% jump in revenue for 2021, potentially climbing to $1.13 billion. It already has $654 million in backlogged orders scheduled for delivery this year, said Array Chief Financial Officer Nipul Patel in a year-end earnings conference call Tuesday.
“That backlog coming into 2021 represents about 60% of our full-year revenue guidance for this year,” Patel told investors.
The company, which launched in Albuquerque in 1989, has been growing fast in recent years, buoyed by the rapid expansion in solar installations in the U.S. and elsewhere over the past decade. It’s the second-largest solar-tracker manufacturer in the U.S., controlling 30% of the domestic market.
Its trackers are used to rotate solar panels throughout the day to optimize orientation to the sun, significantly increasing electric generation from solar installations.
Array employed nearly 350 people as of June. It owns a 43,000-square-foot manufacturing facility in Albuquerque, and 26,000 square feet of office and warehousing space as well. It also leases 2.7 million square feet of warehousing in five other states.
Last week, the company said it’s opening a new “Array Tech Research Center” in Phoenix, Arizona, where it will develop and field-test advanced solar tracking technology to help lower installation costs for customers. The center will focus on simplifying the foundations used to mount tracking systems, reducing the number of mounting posts needed and cutting the amount of labor and machine time required to install systems.
It’s also developing no-bolt attachment systems that require no tools for more efficient, faster installation, and designing new techniques to mount trackers on hilly terrain to cut the amount of grading and other site work needed.
Separately, Array recently closed on a new investment in a company that’s building innovative installation technology that could enhance Array’s own research and development efforts.
Array CEO Jim Fusaro said confidentiality agreements prevent him from disclosing details on the investment, but he told investors that Array could buy the development company outright in the near future, depending on advances in its technology.
“Array is a long-standing leader in innovation, and we are making significant investments in new product development this year,” Fusaro said in a statement. “The research center is part of that investment.”
The research center will allow customers to explore emerging product prototypes.
“Having a proving ground where we can demonstrate new means and methods for installing trackers to customers will help us accelerate adoption of our technology and extend our lead over our competitors,” Fusaro said.
Improved market conditions are feeding company optimism for 2021 and beyond.
In December, the U.S. Congress extended the current 26% federal tax credit for solar installations by two years, making more projects economically viable going forward, Fusaro told investors. The tax incentive was scheduled to ratchet down to just 10% by next year.
And a lot more renewable energy development is expected under President Joe Biden.
“That increases the likelihood of climate change legislation that will accelerate solar development,” Fusaro said. “… We’re confident there will be new policies to further growth.”
Business challenges posed by the global pandemic are also winding down, allowing the company to accelerate its thrust into global markets this year. It expects sales in other countries to account for 15% of total company revenue by year-end 2021.
And domestic and international demand for solar generation continues to grow at a rapid pace, especially as prices for solar systems and components continue to fall.
The U.S. Energy Information Administration projects the average price for utility-scale solar installations will be under $24 per megawatt hour of generation by 2023, or about 17% lower than the price forecast for 2022, which EIA published last year, Fusaro said. And the agency estimates total domestic solar installations will grow by 22% over the next three years.
“I am proud of what the Array team accomplished in 2020,” Fusaro said. “We met the unique challenges posed by the pandemic and delivered strong financial performance while laying the groundwork for continued growth in 2021 and beyond. …We believe the tremendous tailwinds we have in solar today from government, businesses and consumers coupled with the innovations we are preparing to introduce to the market position us to deliver continued strong results for our shareholders.”
Kevin Robinson-Avila covers technology, energy, venture capital and utilities for the Journal. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.