SMA Solar Technology AG generates 23% sales growth and positive earnings from January to September 2020 despite coronavirus crisis
Overview of Q1-Q3 2020:

  • Inverters with a total output of 10.7 GW sold (Q1-Q3 2019: 7.5 GW)
  • Sales increased to €774 million (Q1-Q3 2019: €631 million) and EBITDA to €41 million (Q1-Q3 2019: €26 million)
  • Financial stability thanks to solid equity ratio of 43% (December 31, 2019: 38%)
  • Order backlog remains high despite coronavirus crisis at €792 million, with €332 million attributable to product business
  • Managing Board confirms sales and earnings guidance for fiscal year 2020

From January to September 2020, SMA Solar Technology AG (SMA/FWB: S92) sold inverters with a total output of around 10.7 GW (Q1-Q3 2019: 7.5 GW). Sales increased by 23% year on year to €774 million (Q1-Q3 2019: €631 million). In addition to a positive sales development in the Home Solutions and Business Solutions segments, this was particularly attributable to strong project business. From January to September 2020, EBITDA amounted to €41 million, considerably higher than the comparative figure for the previous year (EBITDA margin: 5.4%; Q1-Q3 2019: €26 million, 4.1%). After the decline in the second quarter as forecast, incoming orders slightly recovered again in the third quarter.

With €9 million, SMA generated considerably better net income from January to September 2020 than in the previous year (Q1-Q3 2019: –€11 million). Earnings per share thus amounted to €0.27 (Q1-Q3 2019: –€0.30). With net cash of €194 million (December 31, 2019: €303 million) and an equity ratio of 43% (December 31, 2019: 38%), SMA has a solid balance-sheet structure.

“The effects of the global coronavirus crisis have also posed major challenges to SMA over the past nine months,” said SMA CEO Jürgen Reinert. “I am therefore all the more pleased that, in spite of the declining market, we generated significant growth in sales and earnings and thus gained market share. This was thanks to both our employees’ strong commitment and to continuous close collaboration with our customers and suppliers. We are monitoring the development of the coronavirus crisis very closely so that we can continue to react quickly at all times. As before, the Managing Board expects SMA to achieve its sales and earnings guidance in the current fiscal year. In the long term, we see great potential for SMA in the global restructuring of the economy toward more sustainability and ultimately climate neutrality. Germany should set a good example. The upcoming amendment of the Renewable Energy Sources Act must therefore be used to speed up the urgently needed installation of photovoltaic capacity. Supporting self-consumption of affordable and clean solar energy by private and commercial users plays a key role here.”

The sales and earnings guidance for the fiscal year 2020, published on February 7, 2020, predicts a sales increase to between €1.0 billion and €1.1 billion and EBITDA between €50 million and €80 million. The Managing Board believes that SMA is well positioned to gain further market share even in the current circumstances.


Source: SMA Australia

What were Australian solar buyers wanting in a system in October 2020? The latest SolarQuotes auSSII report reveals all.

Solar System Capacity Selection

After reaching nearly 85% in September, interest (where capacity was specified) in 6kW or larger solar systems  sat at close to 84% in October – the first time we’ve seen the upward trend for this size range halted for quite some time. Interest in 6kW+ compared to 6kW was significantly higher in October: +12%. It was only a few months back when 6kW ruled the roost, but as we’ve previously mentioned both these options would be capturing interest for the “sweet-spot” choice of 6.6kW. That muddies the waters a little and is something we’ll address on the quoting form.

Solar system sizing selection in October 2020

PV Purchasing Timeframe

Australians were really eager to get solar panels installed on their rooftops sooner rather than later. Interest in purchasing a system immediately rose to 24% in October (September: 23%, August: 20%, July: 22%). The proportion of those using the SolarQuotes service considering a solar power system purchase any time from immediately to within three months also rose – 98% compared to 97% in September, August and July.

Solar system purchase intent  in October 2020

System Price Vs. Quality

As in September, approximately 12% of prospective buyers were wanting pricing on a “top quality” (most expensive) system in October. 80% were interested in a solar power package offering a good balance of quality and cost, while 8% were focused on a good quality budget system.

Advanced Solar Monitoring

Interest in advanced monitoring continued to fall in October, down to 47% compared to 49% in September, 63% in August and 69% in July. Learn more about the advantages of advanced solar monitoring.

Microinverter Option

A microinverter is a miniaturised inverter installed with each solar panel, taking the place of a single conventional string solar inverter usually used in a full system. The use of microinverters adds to the cost of a system, but the devices offer a number of advantages over a single string inverter setup.

In October, close to 13% of those using the SQ service expressed an interest in microinverters, compared to 14% in September, August and July.

“Battery-Ready” Option

Interest in battery-ready systems popped up a bit in October, at ~6% compared to ~5% in September. A home battery can be added to just about any existing PV system post-installation, but specifying storage may be wanted down the track can assist with system design.

Battery-ready PV interest in October 2020

Solar + Battery Installation

As in September, interest in installing a battery system at the same time as solar panels sat at a little under 13% in October. If you’re contemplating having a battery installed with your solar panels, crunch the numbers using SQ’s solar and battery calculator, which will detail how savings are impacted by energy storage and solar panels separately.

Battery Storage Capacity

Where a battery capacity preference was noted, here’s what Australians were interested in during October:

1 – 5 kWh: 17% (September ~14%, August 14%, July: 15%)
5 – 10 kWh: 49% (September ~51%, August 50%, July: 50%)
10 kWh +:  34% (September ~35%, August 35%, July: 34%)

61% of those interested in buying batteries were seeking advice on system sizing, a significant jump from September’s 55%.

Home battery capacity selection - October 2020

Intended Primary Battery Use

5% noted the primary application for a battery would be for backup purposes, within the usual range we see. 45% said it would be primarily used for minimising mains grid electricity consumption, up on September’s 40%. 50% expressed a desire to use a battery for both purposes (53% in September).

Primary battery application - October 2020

Electricity Bills Pre-Solar

Again in October, around 50% of Australians requesting quotes for solar who knew what they paying for electricity noted bills of between $500 and $1,000 a quarter – this figure has remained fairly static in recent months. The proportion of Australians paying more than $1,000 a quarter sat at little over 12%, not much change from September when the figure was just shy of 13%.

Quarterly electricity costs before solar panels - October 2020


Source: Solar Quotes

Report: auSSII