Nextracker Inc.

Q4 2023 Earnings Conference Call


spk10: Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Nextracker 4th Quarter and Fiscal Year 2023 Financial Results Conference Call. At this time, all lines are in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. If at any time during this call you require immediate assistance, please press star 0 for the operator. This call is being recorded on Wednesday, May 10, 2023. I would now like to turn the conference over to Dawn Quinby. Director, Finance, and IR. Please go ahead.
spk07: Thank you. Good afternoon and welcome to Nextracker's inaugural earnings conference call for our fourth quarter and full year fiscal 2023 results. With me today is our Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Dan Sugar, our President, Howard Wenger, and our Chief Financial Officer, Dave Bennett. All three will give brief remarks followed by Q&A. Slides for today's call, as well as a copy of the earnings press release and summary financials are available on the investor relations section at This call is being recorded and will be available for replay on the investor relations section of our website. As a reminder, today's call contains forward-looking statements, which are based on our current expectations and assumptions. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. For a full discussion of these risks and uncertainties, please see the cautionary statements in our presentation, press release, or in the risk factors section of our most recent filing with the SEC. Note, this information is subject to change, and we undertake no obligation to update these forward-looking statements. Please note, we will provide non-GAAP measures on today's conference call. The full non-gap-to-gap reconciliations can be found in the appendix slides of today's presentation, as well as in the summary financials posted on the investor relations section of our website. All growth metrics will be on a year-over-year basis unless otherwise stated. Now, I'd like to turn the call over to our CEO. Dan? Thank you for joining Nextracker's first earnings call since our IPO on February 9th. We will review our full fiscal year 2023, including the fourth quarter recently completed, and also provide guidance. I'm pleased to be joined today by our President, Howard Wenger, and Chief Financial Officer, Dave Bennett. Given this is our first earnings call, we will spend extra time to introduce you to the company, industry, and the policy landscape in which we are operating. Please turn to slide four. We created Nextracker 10 years ago with a vision of a world powered by renewable energy. Our mission for achieving that was to provide the most intelligent, reliable, and productive solar power system. As a company, and together with our industry colleagues, we've made significant progress advancing our vision. Today, solar leads new power plant additions in many grids around the world. Slide five. So what does Nextracker actually do? We design, manufacture, and deliver solar trackers, control systems, and software. Our technology helps customers achieve higher profitability by increasing their energy production, lowering operation costs, and protecting the equipment in extreme weather. Our trackers enable up to 30% more energy to be produced annually compared with stationary solar arrays. The tracker, typically over 300 feet long, rotates the solar panels to follow the sun during the day. Solar panels, electrical inverters, and switch gear are provided by others to the customer. Slide six. For a sense of scale, consider a 325 megawatt project using Nextracker, such as the project we see in this image. This is a big system, but we have single sites that are five times larger. This typical project covers roughly four square miles with thousands of trackers. On average, we delivered a system of this size every week last year. Slide seven. NextTracker has been the global leader in the market as measured by shipment volume, revenue, and profitability for the last seven consecutive years. But achieving market share metrics is not an objective for NextTracker. Market share is a byproduct of what we are really focused on, innovation, operational excellence, and customer success. This focus has resulted in more than 80% of our sales orders coming from repeat business. As of today, we've delivered over 2 million trackers to dozens of countries. In total, our systems support over 74 gigawatts of solar power plants the equivalent power generating capacity of about 85 coal power plants. We achieved these metrics through innovation that will be covered by Howard, a global footprint, and relentless focus on customer service. Nextracker's greatest strength is our team and culture. Our executive leaders have over 20 years of solar experience on average. Six of my six co-founders are still with the company 10 years later, which reflects well on our high-performance culture of teamwork. We have strong, trusted customer relationships and understand the needs of developers, independent power producers, and contractors due to our deep industry domain expertise. Slide 8. We completed our fiscal 2023 on March 31st. We optimized our business for annual, not quarterly metrics. and our results validate our approach. Last year, we achieved record annual revenues of $1.9 billion and EBITDA of $209 million. Year on year, we achieved a 30% growth in revenue and more than doubled our EBITDA while generating over $100 million of free cash flow. We also achieved phenomenal sales results. finishing the year with record backlog of $2.6 billion. We define backlog as firm orders with deposits. A few months ago, amidst turbulent conditions in the financial markets, Nextracker completed a successful IPO. We offer our sincere appreciation to our IPO stakeholders, starting with our global customers. We thank each of our customers for your ongoing confidence and doubling down with Nextracker, enabling our backlog to grow 90% over the prior year. We value our business partners, from contract manufacturers to independent engineers, banks, and consultants that have enabled us to scale and reliably serve the global market. And we are extremely appreciative of our investors who funded our IPO, which was a success for the entire renewable power industry. We believe it is our responsibility to deliver strong investment returns through disciplined performance and ferocious focus on customer satisfaction. In addition to delivering for our investors, we believe this will demonstrate solar is an attractive investment sector such that additional capital is invested to our industry, necessary for realizing our vision of a renewably powered world. And finally, we thank our entire Nextracker team for your professionalism, customer focus, and dedication. Slide nine. Now let's focus on key industry drivers. Paramount is solar's tremendous cost reduction progress. Lazard, a leading financial advisory firm, regularly publishes a comprehensive analysis comparing the production costs of power generation technology. Their latest report shows a new power plant on an unsubsidized basis is lower cost than new coal, nuclear, or gas power generation in most of the world. In fact, solar with an average cost of $60 per megawatt hour unsubsidized is about half the cost of a new coal plant and about a third the cost of a new nuclear plant. A new gas plant at $70 per megawatt hour is slightly higher cost than standalone solar and slightly less expensive than solar plus battery storage at $74 per megawatt hour on average. Slide 10. We just reviewed solar's competitive economics today, which have decreased in cost about 600% over the last 15 years. When you consider the availability of solar incentives, In some markets, it's straightforward to understand why economics are the major factor driving solar demand. Additional policy tailwinds complementing growth are decarbonization, the desire for energy independence further amplified by the Ukraine war, the U.S. Inflation Reduction Act, with similar policies overseas, and appetite to invest in renewable energy and electrification programs. There are two major headwinds impacting solar growth in the US. The first are trade barriers to importing solar panels, especially those with Chinese content. While this situation is improving, industry growth has been materially impacted and many project schedules have extended until panels become available. The second major headwind is delays with electrical interconnection and permitting projects for construction. While these issues are usually solved on an individual project basis, they can delay the project implementation significantly. In aggregate consideration of the cost and policy factors, it's insightful to see that since 2010, solar has increased from about 10% to half of new power generation capacity added annually in recent years. Slide 11. We covered that Nextracker has maintained leading global share. The most recent regional share data from third parties is shown here, superimposed with the estimated total available market through 2030. Nextracker has lead share in North America, Latin America, Africa, and Australia. There is also meaningful markets in Europe, the Middle East, and Asia. In most of these locations, NextTracker has regional offices with sales, engineering, and service to support customers. Slide 12. NextTracker has intellectual property and know-how regarding manufacturing our products, but our strategy has been to outsource almost entirely with manufacturing partners, which is why our depreciating assets are so minimal. The prior chart illustrated the regional solar market. This chart shows how we map our supply chain to align with those local markets. In totality, Nextracker has over 50 partners across 16 countries and five continents. This global diversification provides customers with confidence we can deliver and also provides us international trade optionality that mitigates risk. We believe Nextracker has built by far the largest capacity and the most geographically diversified position in our sector. Slide 13. Let's take a deeper look at our U.S. supply chain. During the pandemic, commodities such as logistics and steel suffered steep inflationary cost pressures, and port congestion impacted our ability to deliver on time. We made a decision early on to leverage our know-how to massively ramp U.S. capacity. Last summer, we celebrated three factory dedication events in Texas, Arizona, and Pittsburgh. At the time, we reported on 10 gigawatts of reported capacity with additional plans in progress. In response to strong demand and the IRA incentives, we further increased capacity in these plans and worked with additional domestic manufacturers and select overseas partners to relocate equipment to the USA. In fact, we have another factory announcement with a key partner coming next week. At the end of fiscal 2023, we have over 25 gigawatts of capacity under contract with over 15 U.S. suppliers. Many of these plants are shipping finished goods today and ramping as they add shifts of personnel. Now I turn the call to Howard to share details about our operations, technology, and customers.
spk06: Let me echo Dan by congratulating the Next Tracker team. We could not be more pleased with the company's many accomplishments. We had a very strong finish in Q4, with momentum that has put us in a great position for our new fiscal year ahead. Let me provide some background into our technological innovation, which coupled with the best-in-class team Dan discussed, allows us to win business across all regions and terrains. Please turn to slide 15. We can break down our innovations into three categories covering over 350 patents issued and pending. These innovations are designed to work together to enhance lifetime energy production at the lowest possible capital cost and operations and maintenance costs of the entire solar power plant, while also assuring the highest reliability and control to protect the system. The industry characterizes this as LCOE, which is defined as levelized cost of energy. Offering a lower LCOE is one of the primary factors that enables Nextracker to win in the market. As you can see from the next slide, 16, our inventions resulted in a leading balanced tracker that enables each tracker to be independently powered and controlled. This tracker architecture has unlocked a series of innovations that further differentiate us. For example, Our patented TrueCapture software optimizes energy yield uniquely for every tracker row. We have over 190 projects with TrueCapture deployed around the world, and we believe we lead the industry by far in this category. Our unique balanced tracker design also enables optimum light capture for bifacial solar panels that are now the standard for large-scale systems. Our extreme terrain following tracker called XTR can eliminate all site grading and enables installations on rolling hills and more challenging terrains. We have sold and deployed XTR on over 65 projects globally, again, leading the industry. Our navigator software platform connects all of our trackers back to a central hub that enables single-button control for panel sowing and cleaning, as well as site vegetation management. all backed by an onboard UPS for every single tractor in the field, assuring connectivity and control of the entire solar field, even during grid power outages. In summary, our integrated tracker architecture provides advantages that allows us to win business across all regions and site conditions, all climate zones, and all varieties of terrain around the world. This is illustrated on the next slide, number 17. where you can see Nextracker projects deployed across the United States. We win business in large sunny flat regions like Texas and the deserts of California and Nevada. We win in more diffuse light regions in the south and in the wet rolling hills of the southeast. We win in colder and higher latitude regions in the Midwest and also in the northeast where sites frequently are more constrained with irregular boundaries. This highlights the flexibility of our tracker hardware and software system architecture. With various innovations and extensions of our flagship Horizon Tracker System solution, we can win everywhere. Please turn to slide 18. Our tracker solutions' global scale, financial stability, and long-time industry experience have enabled deep and trusted customer partnerships. Over 80% of our revenue comes from repeat customers. This underscores how we partner with our customers for mutual success. a model we have deployed across the world to continually win business. For example, on the next slide, 19, we show a selection of global project wins from the last fiscal quarter, quarter four. Although this is a small subset of our project and customer wins from the quarter, this highlights the breadth of our global reach and portfolio approach to the business spanning multiple continents. We have a healthy combination of new and repeat customers. from North America to South America, from Europe to Asia and Oceania. These sample Q4 project wins also reflect the strength of our global team in sales, marketing, supply chain, training, and support that provide a platform to further scale and grow. Which brings me to our backlog. On slide 20, we ended the year with a record backlog of $2.6 billion. up 90% from the prior year. We define our backlog as signed contracts for specific projects with deposits from customers. By the end of fiscal year 2023, our backlog includes over $1.8 billion of project specific purchase orders and over $670 million of DCAs or volume commitment agreements comprising multiple specific projects. VCAs are signed contracts with deposits from developers, plant owners, and EPCs, or engineering, procurement, and construction companies. We believe our VCA program, which began last year in fiscal year 2023, provides even greater visibility into our future revenue and growth. In general, legacy backlog contracts take three to five quarters the cycle into revenue. while our VCA agreements typically cycle into revenue from three to eight quarters. In summary, as our backlog demonstrates, we are seeing significant demand strength in all of our core markets around the world, where our global revenue mix continues to be comprised of roughly two-thirds U.S. and one-third rest of world. Now, let me turn the call over to Dave Bennett, our Chief Financial Officer, to review the financial details of the quarter and to discuss our guidance for fiscal 2024.
spk07: Thank you, Howard, and thank you all for joining us today. Please note that all numbers referenced in my remarks are on a non-GAAP basis, unless otherwise stated. A reconciliation to comparable GAAP metrics and a list of the reasons why the company uses these measures can be found in today's earnings release, which is available on our website and as an exhibit to our form 8K filed with the SEC. Please turn to slide 22. Before we get into our quarterly and annual performance, as well as guidance for fiscal 2024, I'd like to provide some key historical financial information. Note, our fiscal year ends on March 31st. Due to the nature of our business, I encourage you to evaluate NextTracker's performance on a full year basis. The exact timing of project deployments can vary based upon factors such as weather, component availability, and project specific factors, which may impact the timing of revenue recognition between quarters. We report revenues in two segments, the U.S. and the rest of the world. For fiscal 2023, the revenue split was approximately two-thirds U.S. and one-third rest of the world. Revenue from TrueCapture, our software solution, has trended historically at approximately 1 to 2% of total revenue. We remain very focused on scaling our software business. It's an important differentiator for Nextrack. Now looking at adjusted earnings before income taxes and depreciation. Adjusted EBITDA of $209 million for fiscal 23 was a record, with margins stepping up towards historic levels. To understand our margin opportunity, it's important to look at the past few years. We ended fiscal 21 with $179 million of EBITDA at a 15% EBITDA margin. We see fiscal 21 as the last normal year before the industry began incurring higher costs associated with logistics and freight issues. The $92 million of EBITDA in fiscal 22 reflects the higher operating costs from these supply chain constraints. While the 6.3% EBITDA margin was not optimal, maintaining profitability during a historic downturn validated our disciplined financial execution. Turning to fiscal 23, we saw improving sequential EBITDA and margins due to higher pricing, cost reductions, and improved execution. Adjusted EBITDA margin was 11% for fiscal 23. with sequential increases from 7.9% in the first quarter to 14% by Q4, which is trending closer to our margin profile prior to the pandemic. Now please turn to slide 23 for our fiscal 23 Q4 results. We closed the quarter at a record 518 million of revenue, an increase of approximately 18% year on year versus the fourth quarter of fiscal 22, It is worth noting that rest of the world revenue was up over 42%, driven by continued strong demand in Latin America, Europe, the Middle East, and India. Adjusted EBITDA increased 50 million to 73 million from the fourth quarter of fiscal 22, an increase of 227%. Looking at our fiscal 23 versus fiscal 22 results on the next slide, for full year 2023, Revenue was $1.9 billion, an increase of $444 million and 30% from the prior year. Revenue in the U.S. was $1.2 billion, up $329 million. Rest of the world revenue was up $115 million. The continued challenges with panel availability in the U.S. impacted our software revenue in the second half of the year, which was at the low end of our 1% to 2% of revenue goals. Adjusted EBITDA increased $116 million to $209 million from the prior year, an increase of 126%. Again, we are very pleased to have achieved increased EBITDA every quarter during the year. Fiscal 23 adjusted free cash flow was over $100 million, an increase of approximately $250 million from the prior year. Networking capital as of March 31st was approximately 13% of revenue. Turning to slide 25, cash and liquidity. We believe that financial strength is an important differentiator and that our capital structure, including a strong balance sheet and ample liquidity, is a key competitive advantage. In addition, we outsource our manufacturing to partners, which limits our capital expenditures. In conjunction with the IPO, we closed on a debt syndicate led by tier one institutions, JP Morgan, Bank of America, City, and Barclay. We executed a $150 million term loan and a $500 million revolver, which further ensures Nextracker can execute independently from Flex and manage our networking capital. Total liquidity as of March 31st, 2023 was $630 million. We have no significant maturities until our fiscal 2028. Note that we are currently operating at a debt to EBITDA ratio of less than one. It's important to note that NexTracker did not retain any proceeds from the initial public offering or the debt issuance as all proceeds were remitted to the pre-IPO owners. We ended the fiscal year with $130 million of cash. Please turn to the next slide for our fiscal 24 guidance. In developing guidance, I want to point out a few factors that influence our outlook. As Dan discussed, we think the first half of fiscal 24 will continue to see some constrained panel availability. As such, we expect slower growth in the first half versus the second half of the year. We expect our adjusted tax rate to raise between 15 and 20% of adjusted pre-tax income based on the current ownership structure. We continue to invest in the business, including further expanding our supply chain. developing our team, and product offerings. This is reflected in our EBITDA outlook. We have not factored in additional profitability resulting from the Inflation Reduction Act. With that context, our full year fiscal 2024 guidance is as follows. Revenue is expected to be between $2.1 billion to $2.3 billion, an increase of approximately 16% at the midpoint. Adjusted EBITDA is expected to be between $265 million to $305 million, an increase of 36% at the midpoint. GAAP EPS is expected to be between $1.20 to $1.40 and includes approximately 15 cents related to stock-based compensation and intangible amortization. Adjusted earnings per share is expected to be between $1.35 to $1.55 based upon 146.5 million weighted average shares outstanding. Our Q1 fiscal 2024 outlook is as follows. Revenue is expected to grow 15 to 20% versus Q1 fiscal 2023. EBITDA margin is expected to be between 12 to 13%, up 400 to 500 basis points compared to the same period last year. I will now turn the call back to Dan for some concluding remarks. Thank you, Dave and Howard. I've been fortunate to be working in solar since the 1980s, and I've never been more excited about our industry than today. We look forward to your questions.
spk10: Thank you. Ladies and gentlemen, we will now conduct a question and answer session. If you have a question, please press star followed by the number one on your touchtone phone. You will hear a one-tone prompt acknowledging your request. If you would like to cancel your request, please press star 2. Please be advised to limit to one question and one follow-up. One moment, please, for your first question. Your first question comes from the line of Mark Strauss from J.P. Morgan. Your line is now open.
spk16: Great. Good afternoon. Thank you, guys, and welcome to the public markets. So my first question, so it's good to see the bookings momentum continuing here. Curious if you can kind of break that down between what you're seeing U.S. versus internationally. Just curious if you're seeing any kind of temporary slowing of the sales cycle, just as some of your customers might be awaiting the final IRA guidelines here.
spk02: Hi, Mark. This is Howard Wenger.
spk06: I'll take the question. We're really happy with where we ended up at the year, up 90% on our backlog to $2.6 billion year-on-year growth. We finished very strong, very strong Q4 in terms of bookings. So we have a lot of momentum that we're carrying into the next year. As Dave mentioned in his remarks, and I did as well, our business has recently been comprised of one-third rest of world, two-thirds U.S. in terms of revenue. Historically, we've gone as high as 50-50. And the backlog is reflective roughly of our current ratio there. In terms of the slowing of bookings related to IRA, we're just not seeing that.
spk16: Okay. Thanks, Howard. And then if I can just sneak in one more. On the domestic content, hearing from some folks that that might be getting closer, who knows, but just curious for an update there since the IPO as far as what percentage of the overall bill of materials you think you might be able to offer customers. I know the exact definitions are still to be determined, but
spk07: uh any any update there and then maybe kind of how you're positioning the supply chain for for different scenarios there thank you sure mark uh this is dan sugar i'll take that as you noted um the treasury department hasn't defined the rules of what constitutes u.s domestic content under the ira so we can't give you know a specific informed answer for ira purposes until those rules are issued we do intend to do what the customer needs to qualify for the ITC adder. In general, for customers that require domestic content, we can accept orders for about 70% to 80% of domestic content. These percentages are approximate. They can fluctuate as a function of commodity cost and other factors. We're also working with manufacturing partners for other components and we expect to be able to accept orders next year for over 90% domestic content for customers that require it. In addition, we are using U.S. steel, meaning steel that's melted, processed, and coated in the United States in our primary components like tubes that are produced domestically. Finally, I would add that in addition to mechanical components, we have proprietary electronic you domestically.
spk02: Very helpful.
spk16: Thank you.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Johan Bumondin-Smith from Bank of America. Your line is now open.
spk03: Hey, thank you, team. Appreciate it. Maybe just two follow-ups on the last question, Seth. First off, just going back to, you know, you talk about pre-pandemic levels and margins, et cetera, obviously making good headway against that. Can you talk a little bit about what that trajectory looks like and the cadence getting back to that at this point? I mean, well, I'll leave it there.
spk07: Thanks, Julian. This is Dave Bennett. In terms of the margin trajectory and getting back to what we call normal, the 15% EBITDA in fiscal 21, as you can see, coming out of the low of fiscal 22 into fiscal 23, Our Q4 closed at 14% EBITDA. That's due to just us closing relative to the quotes, better execution, some cost reductions that would include logistics. But the year came in at 11% EBITDA. That we expect to step up to 13% at the midpoint. On our way to that historic margin without any IRA uplift, you know, we're on track with that. But we're really prudent with how we're looking at going forward because we are continuing to reinvest in the business. That investment includes R&D, expanding our supply chain, building out our team, and innovating our product.
spk03: Got it. Okay, so it sounds like it's in the cards, but not quite defined yet. And then vis-a-vis the IRA uplift, you guys, I think, alluded a moment ago, Dan, to a further expansion of U.S. manufacturing. I think that's what you were alluding to, I think, in the next few weeks. Can you try to follow up a little bit and describe maybe in totality, if you can, early on the total quantum of domestically manufactured capacity you might be looking at pro forma for that further addition?
spk02: Sure.
spk07: Julian Dan sugar, so in our slide deck on slide 13 we speak to our US supply chain in. More granular detail. So. We have over 25 gigawatts of contract capacity for primary components. Can you manufacturing plants currently shipping finished components for various tracker components here in the US and additional plants? in progress. We will be having another factory announcement next week, and so please stay tuned for that. Thank you for your question.
spk06: All good. Thank you. We'll take the next question, please.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Christine Cho from Barclays. Your line is now open.
spk00: Hi. Good evening. Thank you for taking my question. I thought I would maybe ask the backlog question a different way. You said, you know, you ended the year two-thirds U.S., one-third rest of world. If I just kind of compare it to what it was last quarter, it would seem that the U.S. backlog went up about 100 million quarter over quarter and a bigger jump in rest of world. Am I sort of in the ballpark there, which I guess would sort of fit with what you have on slide 19? And then are VCA's mostly in U.S. or rest of world?
spk06: Okay, I'll take the second part of the question first. Dave will answer the first part. So, VCAs are focused right now in the U.S. We do have activity outside of the U.S., but the ones that are signed and contracted are in the U.S. Dave?
spk07: Yeah, thanks for the question. as you can think about our backlog and how we're growing it and then the velocity of how it flows out into revenue, you would think what Howard prepared is a weighted average. So it differs the rest of the world because we have different markets and when they come in. So it's really hard to answer in terms of breaking out our backlog by quarter, by segment. So I think it's best to think about it in aggregate with a three to five quarter rollout on our legacy backlog, and then with the VCAs rolling out over three to eight quarters.
spk00: Okay. Then, you know, I didn't really see any guidance for gross margins, and it looked like you hit 19% this quarter. You've seen continuous improvement over the last year. How much more running room does this have to move higher? Should we expect this to creep? And was there anything in the quarter that was a benefit that might not recur, if we could also get sort of the impact of FX on Topline and EBITDA?
spk07: Okay, so let me start with the end. No real one-time benefit, no significant impacts from FX on that. In terms of run rate and increase, as we talked about, our fiscal 21, 15% EBITDA, with a run rate of about 5% on SG&A, gets you to around 20% gross margin. That's the target we're tracking towards that target. We do expect to continue to improve margins on that path. We're not committing to the exact time to get there, but we are committing to going from around a 13% EBITDA for fiscal 23, which is about 18% gross margin, and that's up from the prior year, 200 basis points on both of those. So we're committing to the continued increase. In terms of the timing, you know the target. Thank you, Christine.
spk06: We'll take the next question, please.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Jordan Levy from Truist. Your line is now open.
spk01: Afternoon, all. Maybe I'd start on just asking the competitive landscape you're seeing out there. I know there's been some smaller names come up in certain applications here in the U.S. How does that environment look both domestically and international markets?
spk06: Well, capitalism works. It's a competitive world. We're very focused on our customers, our technology, our company, and running a sound business. Our backlog increase of 90% reflects that focus. But there are new competitors. They have significantly less share in the market, and they have a different customer base. So it's interesting that we actually don't run into some of the new entrants into the market. We also, I'll just add that We have a lot of pricing discipline in the company. What do I mean by that? We want to grow, but we want to grow profitably. So we're not chasing business. We're focused on tier one customers and going after solid business, the kind of business that we like to do over and over again. As we talked about, 80% of our customers are repeat business. So that's the landscape. Do you have a follow-on question, please?
spk01: Yeah, just a quick follow-on. Just flipping over to the TrueCapture side, seems like there's been some good traction there with the Atlas announcement. I just wanted to get your thoughts on how the reception feedback's been as you're growing that business and then some of the supply chain challenges you're working through on that side.
spk06: Thanks, Jordan. Appreciate the question. As Dave mentioned, we are typically 1% to 2% of revenue. we're tracking on the lower end of the range. Bookings are still very strong for True Capture. There's a lot of uptake for the software. It's been validated by multiple independent engineers. Customers, it provides tangible value. So there is some delays in commissioning projects that are impacting the True Capture recognition of revenue that is principally driven from delays in mounting the final PV panel on the whole power system. But again, bookings for TrueCapture are strong. Revenue recognition is lagging a bit. Really appreciate the questions, Jordan. Next question, please.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Tristan Richardson from Scotiabank. Your line is now open.
spk17: Hey, good evening, guys. Howard, just to follow up on maybe an earlier question about, you know, seeing projects move out into the right in anticipation of IRA. Really appreciate that maybe you're not seeing that at all in your existing book, but maybe to ask it another way, thinking about top of the funnel activity or discussions with customers. I mean, do you sense or are you seeing early indications of, you know, pent up demand such that when we do have domestic content clarity,
spk06: would see order flow accelerate i mean just yeah any comments on top of the funnel would be helpful sure uh our entire funnel is robust uh let me put it that way the top and the bottom um so and and and honestly we're we're seeing um very strong demand in the u.s I think that it takes three to five years to develop a project, utility-scale project, into fruition. And so a lot of the activity has already begun on these projects. And our take is that the industry is anticipating a very favorable outcome. So all systems are go on the development side, which is feeding the funnel.
spk17: Thanks, Howard. And then maybe, Dave, just a follow-up. Sure, yeah, just a minor one on the 2Q commentary. Dave, is there anything we should be thinking about, you know, nuanced or project-timing-wise, driving sort of the sequential decline sort of implied by the year-over-year commentary you gave for 2Q?
spk07: Sure, Tristan, you're talking calendar Q2, yeah? Not our fiscal Q1s. Apologies, yes. Okay, yeah, you're right on. The sequential decline is driven by the panel availability, visibility pushing to the second half. If you were looking at it on a sequential basis, we don't. We look at it on a year-over-year basis, which is why we're guiding to the 15% to 20% year-over-year growth, which is how we're focusing. And that tracks to the annual guidance. But in terms of sequential, yes, we've seen a push out due to the panel availability.
spk17: Super helpful. Appreciate it. Thank you, guys. Thank you.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Sophie Karp from KeyBank. Your line is now open.
spk13: Hi. Thank you for squeezing me in here. Congrats on your first quarter as a public company. So I was just wondering if you could comment on what percentage of your backlog sort of is tied to domestically manufactured solar modules. And to that degree, maybe direct from the delays in the customs, getting them from customs. Thank you.
spk07: Thanks, Sophie. Could you repeat your question, please?
spk13: Yeah, the question is, could you comment on what percentage What percentage of your backlog is tied to projects that utilize domestically manufactured solar panels?
spk07: Well, first, our plan contemplates the PV that's available. And we're not splitting out which projects have PV that's made in the U.S.
spk02: versus PV that's being imported.
spk13: Okay, thank you.
spk07: Yeah, if you have a follow-on, I feel like I didn't want to leave you hanging. I'm not sure we fully understood your question, but did you have a follow-on there we could maybe unpack it further?
spk13: So I guess this is not the breakdown that you're providing. I was just wondering what percentage of that backlog is kind of not tied to, you know, custom delays. But it sounds like you're not comfortable providing that data, which is fine.
spk06: Okay, great. Thank you.
spk13: Thank you.
spk06: Thank you, Sophie. I appreciate the words of congratulations. Next question, please.
spk10: Our next question comes from the line of Philip Shen from Roth. Thank you. Your line is open.
spk05: guys i'll echo that congratulations as well um a couple more questions on backlog and bookings uh how much of the 1 billion of bookings for fq 423 is the volume commitment agreements and how much is non-vca and then in terms of your booking strength to what degree has that continued into your fq1 and how do you expect those bookings to trend um in FQ1, 2, and 3. Thanks.
spk06: Sure. Well, on slide 20 of the deck, Phil, we show that 674 million of the 2.559 billion in backlog is attributable to VCAs. So that's part one to your question, I believe.
spk05: Let me just jump in. I'm sorry. I guess we're trying to figure out the incremental VCA. So for example, year end 22 calendar, you guys had about 2.1 billion of backlog. How much of that was VCA, for example? So if the bookings were about a billion, how much of those bookings, as opposed to the year, as opposed to the actual backlog, what was the mix of VCA and non-VCA of the bookings?
spk06: Thanks. We're not giving that level of detail, Phil. And so far, we've had two public announcements of VCAs. You can track those. Those happened, and one of them happened in calendar year 22, one announcement in calendar year 23. But we have other VCAs that we've signed and have commitments and deposits for specific projects. That's the level of detail we're providing at this time. And then you had a part two to your question, which is, have booking strengths coming into the current quarter or do you?
spk05: Yeah. What kind of strength do you see ahead? Do you see more of this kind of momentum carrying through into your next quarter and then even the back half of this calendar year? Thanks.
spk06: Yes. Yes. To both of those. We do. There's strong momentum.
spk05: And then in terms of my final question here, It looks like U.S. steel could be defined as melt-to-coat, potentially. We'll have to see. And sorry if I missed this, but can you talk about how much capacity that you have today could qualify as melt-to-coat steel, and then how much could qualify by year-end calendar this year or some period in the future? Yeah, thank you, Phil.
spk07: I'll take that. This is Dan. As noted on, again, slide 13 of our materials, we have over 25 gigawatts of contract capacity. That's a large amount of contract capacity. And it's regionally distributed across the U.S. And in some cases, for example, with the JM Steel facility that we dedicated in April, It's co-located with a steel plant. In that case, with the steel dynamics facility, one of the newest mills in America, 3 million ton facility, which can make steel and galvanize within a mile of our contract fabrication partners facility. So we very intentionally located these facilities. We have very strong relationships with the most of the top steel companies in the United States. And we see the ability to deliver, well, certainly deliver our plan and be able to deliver in excess of our plan with, you know, growth, upside growth we could see in the United States with raw material that's melted, coated, and processed in the United States. In this case, this case, rolled, so it's melted, it's rolled, it's galvanized, it's made into tracker components here. So it's a very exciting story, also because the U.S. steel is so much cleaner on average than the overseas steel, and we're creating thousands of jobs domestically. It's just a great story. Thanks for your questions, Phil.
spk02: Thanks, guys.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Mahit Mandloy from Credit Suisse. Your line is now open.
spk12: Hey, good evening and thanks for taking our questions as well. And congratulations coming to the markets in the quarter here. Just curious on the rest of the world, growth over here in 2023, 2024, FI24. I'm just curious how should we think about that And how should we think about pricing in general in the U.S. and international markets?
spk02: Thanks. Thanks for your question.
spk06: So both the United States and the rest of the world are growing at a good clip. As Dave noted, our guidance is to grow overall for the company at a rate of 15 to 20% year on year. And we're not giving precise details, but you can think of it as roughly split between the U.S. and the rest of the world. The rest of the world is actually growing a little bit faster in terms of the business. And we're really well positioned in a couple of markets, a few markets in particular, as Dan noted. Brazil in particular is very strong market for the company, Australia, Spain, multiple continents. Things are going quite well. Um, and then the second part of your question had to do with, um, pricing. And so we, uh, we, we had some pricing adjustments in the double digits year over year. upward to compensate largely in part of the impacts from the pandemic and the Ukraine war in combination. And things have equilibrated to a degree. And as Dan talked about, we're rapidly scaling our domestic supply chain. We're in a good position to continue to grow and exercise extreme price discipline. in all markets around the world. And we're going to keep doing that. Thank you, Mahit. Do you have a, was that two questions or is there a follow-up?
spk12: If I could squeeze a follow-up just on the cash uses here. You have more than 600 million of liquidity and seems to be in a free cash flow position for FY23 and likely for 24 as well. So it's curious, like, what would be the priority here for the cash users?
spk07: Yeah, so thanks for the question. You know, for fiscal 24, our strategy, our capital allocation strategy, is to focus on the fundamentals. We're going to do the growth period that we're in right now is manage our network and capital to between 10% and 15% and allow EBITDA to drive our cash up. And, you know, like you said, the liquidity of 630 million does provide flexibility and will allow the company to invest at the point in time it's the right time with the right return.
spk06: Thank you for your questions. We're going to keep rolling. And just so you know, on the call, we're going to go about 10 minutes over until 3.40 p.m. Pacific time. We want to get everybody in, but we're going to try and be succinct with our answers. Next question, please.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Derek Silberberg from Contour Fitzgerald. Your line is now open.
spk04: Yeah. Hey, guys. Thanks for taking my questions. I also wanted to ask on pricing. Have you guys been in conversation with suppliers and customers for sort of sharing in the benefits of the IRA? And can you talk a bit about how you expect that to play out? It sounds like Prices have been adjusted higher a bit this year, but is there an expectation for pricing once we get clarification on the IRA? Can you just talk about that a bit? That'd be great.
spk07: Sure, my pleasure. Yeah, so our plan contemplates how we expect things to play out. I'll start with that. And we are not, as we mentioned, however, we are not factoring any of the 45X incentives that are contemplated to come. And look, I mean, the IRA, we think it was very well structured. There's a lot of benefits, tremendous benefits to developers and owners of the systems that come with that. Relative to domestic manufacturers, not only for trackers, but also for solar panels and other inverters, electronics that are being made in the U.S., You know, those, we think those were right-sized to really help us significantly expand the U.S. supply base. So, the conversation is really around supply security, supply certainty, on-time delivery. We've been able to really articulate those benefits.
spk02: And so, that's how we see things playing out. You have a quick follow-up? Got it.
spk04: I do. You know, you mentioned permitting and interconnection delays in the prepared marks. I'm curious if that's geographically specific to the U.S. and less so internationally. You know, is that true? And, you know, is there a path or timeline towards that improving over time? You know, what needs to happen for that to improve? Any detail there would be great. Thanks. Sure.
spk07: So, look, you know, these are real headwinds on the permitting. I'm sure, yeah, you've done some projects at your house. You've tried to get a permit on the construction side with your local jurisdiction. Things can roll out. You know, we're fulfilling many dozens of projects at any given moment. You can have issues where a construction permit is delayed. And, you know, but in aggregate, there are so many projects and so much demand. That's why we're seeing, you know, our, you know, our revenue keep going up and our plan keep going up. Relative to electrical interconnection, you know, it's a fact that the time required to achieve an interconnection permit or authorization has increased over time. significantly, and this has been documented. And so it's a factor, definitely. But the economics of solar are so strong, and so many great developers and IPPs are out developing projects. There are 3,000 utilities in the United States as, you know, kind of an interesting data point, and there's many, many projects in your connection queue. So we're seeing an army of developer and IPPs just bringing forth high-quality projects that are advancing millions of dollars to perfect their project interconnection. You know, but it goes to why we guide to an annual plan, just to give you a sense, right? So our plan for this year, if you look at our $2.2 billion guide on average, we're delivering over $40 million a week during this this upcoming period. So if you have a single project that our customer is waiting for a permit to be able to close the materials, you can have a bit of movement around the edge of the quarter. So we're really focused on annual results, meeting customer needs, and delivering positive profitability for the company. And I believe our results speak to that.
spk06: Thanks, Derek, for your questions. Next question, please.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Christian Schwab from Craig Caleb Capital Group. Your line is now open.
spk14: Congrats on a great quarter. I just have one question. Do you guys have any opinion yet on panel availability for your fiscal year 25? The reason I ask is some of our contacts are much more optimistic about 24 than they are 23. I'm just wondering if you have any opinion you'd like to share.
spk07: You're speaking about for 25, correct? Yeah. Your fiscal year 25. Yep. Got it. Yeah. Got it. Okay. Well, first, let me just take stock. What's happening today, we're seeing increased panels coming into the United States with less issues with Customs and Border Protection as a general statement. And a significant increase for panels coming from India, a significant increase in panels coming from Southeast Asia. What's really exciting is also since the IRA was announced, according to the American Clean Power Association, over 25 new PV manufacturing facilities have been announced for the United States. In some cases, those are expansions. In some cases, those are new plants. So we're hopeful the market will respond quickly, as we did. We executed with tremendous speed on the tracker manufacturing side. We're optimistic that we're going to see more domestic manufacturing of solar panels and all the incumbent components while these trade barriers have been reduced to allow us to fulfill the intermediate term market. Thank you, Christian, for your question. Thanks. Next question, please.
spk10: Your next question comes from the line of Martin Malloy from Johnson Rice. Your line is now open.
spk08: Good afternoon. I just have one question as well. Um, are there, is there any, um, friends that you could maybe highlight in terms of customer interest or orders, uh, for some of your different, um, products you've introduced the horizon XTR Gemini?
spk03: Yeah, I really appreciate that question.
spk07: We, I want to really speak to some of the technologies that are delivering extreme value to customers software. TrueCapture and our terrain following technology, XTR. So we introduced TrueCapture over six years ago, and when we introduced it, we had data from multiple utility scale field trials that have been validated by independent engineers and socialized with the independent engineers that represent owners and so forth, which is why we've achieved such strong commercial traction on that technology. As Howard mentioned, over 190 customers are using it, and that's around the world, I believe, on five continents. Similarly, for our terrain following technology, XTR, we first deployed that in 2018 and then worked really closely with a leading APC to field dozens of projects, and then we released it globally. Today, We have over 60 projects around the world using XTR. And this is really about having real hardware backed up by real software or real firmware to be able to extract the value, have it validated by the engineers, and this stuff works. I can speak to that as an engineer. And that is definitely driving our commercial activity. Thank you for your question, Marty. Next question, please.
spk10: Thank you. Your next question comes from the line of Thomas Martin from BNP. Your line is now open.
spk11: Hi there. Thanks for taking the questions. Just a quick clarification, first of all. Are you able to indicate how much of the bottom end of your guidance range can be covered from existing project awards in the backlog?
spk02: Sure.
spk07: Existing backlog allows us to, you know, in terms of meeting our guidance, we're very comfortable that the majority is booked up.
spk02: And so that's why we're providing the range that we are. Quick follow-up. Thanks.
spk11: And yeah, sorry, quick follow-up. You probably answered this. I mean, on the software side, you know, panel supply, you've spoken about that, has been part of the reason for your revenue recognition lacking. You've spoken about panel supply being an issue for the next quarter. We've got them coming into the market and coming through customs. However, it's perhaps in the near term not perhaps allowing all the projects to accelerate dramatically. Is this likely to be a calendar H2 and normalization cycle in terms of panel delivery also enabling you to unlock the software revenues that are currently not turned on? And are you able to give us any quantification of what sort of level of software revenues you've got deferred awaiting panels?
spk07: Okay, I think I understand your question. You're asking the timing if our backlog for our software, which has grown, impacts the rollout of the revenue recognition related to software revenue? Is that your question?
spk11: So correct me if I'm wrong, but my understanding was that you also got effectively a backlog of revenue recognition that hasn't come through on the software side related to the panel supply issues. And it sounds like the panel supply issues are getting better, maybe not in the next calendar quarter, but You know, does your guidance assume in the second half of the year that the revenue recognition on the software side is improving, you know, quite significantly because the panels are coming through and allowing you to actually turn on the software or allowing the customers to turn on the software?
spk07: Yeah, and the guidance does contemplate the timing of our software revenue recognition, and it will be weighted to the second half.
spk06: Thank you for your questions, Thomas. Appreciate it. Next question.
spk07: And I believe this will be our last question. Thank you.
spk10: Our next question will be from Donovan Schaefer from Northland Capital Markets. Your line is now open.
spk15: Hey, guys. Thanks for taking the questions. I want to just ask, just sort of focusing on hardware for a moment, just the hardware side of things, about kind of new product innovation or introductions, if there's anything on the hardware side. uh you're looking at or most interested in or developing and then just tightly related to that you know um it does look like a lot of companies have come out with these you know dual row trackers where you use a pretty simple kind of push pull setup to have one motor driving uh you know two rows you guys are i know you guys are uh very you know kind of pioneers of the independent row idea but i'm just wondering you know, if there's sort of a place for that. We've got Trina, GameChange, PV Hardware, ArcTech, STI New Orleans, you know, there's a lot of them out there now. And so just is there substance to it or is there something you see where you feel like you couldn't see yourselves going there and just doesn't make sense somehow?
spk07: Yeah, Donovan, I appreciate the question. Let me just say we have a deep technology and product roadmap that covers each of our three buckets in mechanical, electronics and controls, and software. And we're going to have a range of new offerings covering all three of those this year and on a go forward. With respect to the architecture of our system, we're very open to evaluating different architectures. You know, in prior companies, we actually, we didn't invent the concept of tracking. but we commercialized it in prior companies. And so we've been working on trackers since the 1980s, and we're always evaluating things. We believe, as Howard mentioned, that our solutions can allow us to win across a wide range of geographies and a wide range of site conditions. And our backlog with a 90% year-on-year growth reflects that outcome. Thank you for your question, Donna. Donovan, and I'd like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for listening in to our first earnings call, supporting the company through our journey from when we started 10 years ago in the IPO process, and really the industry. We're looking forward to working with our other industry partners to fulfill our vision of a renewably powered world.
spk02: Thank you.
spk10: Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call. Thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.

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