First Solar, Inc.

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  • Tue, Feb. 9, 5:00 PM
    • SolarCity (down 28.1%) reported Q4 solar installations of 272MW, up 54% Y/Y but below guidance of 280MW-300MW. Moreover, the company has guided for Q1 installations of 180MW (+18% Y/Y).
    • Top rival Sunrun (NASDAQ:RUN) is down 7.6% after hours. First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is down 2.4%. Both companies are expected to deliver their Q4 reports in the coming weeks.
    | Tue, Feb. 9, 5:00 PM | 11 Comments
  • Thu, Jan. 7, 2:32 PM
    • Solar stocks are among the biggest casualties as the Nasdaq drops 2.8% and markets generally go into risk-off mode. After soaring last month in response to U.S. renewable tax credit extensions, the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEARCA:TAN) is now just slightly over $2 above a 52-week low of $25.25.
    • SunEdison (down 33%) is the biggest decliner in the group, after having announced a set of dilutive debt offerings and exchange transactions. Canadian Solar (CSIQ -14.4%), JinkoSolar (JKS -14.6%), Solar3D (SLTD -11.2%), Sky Solar (SKYS -16.6%), and RGS Energy (RGSE -10.4%) are also seeing double-digit losses.
    • Other major decliners: SolarCity (SCTY -6.8%), First Solar (FSLR -5.5%), SunPower (SPWR -9.9%), Enphase (ENPH -6%), SolarEdge (SEDG -5.3%), TerraForm Power (TERP -8.2%), TerraForm Global (GLBL -5.7%), and JA Solar (JASO -5.3%).
    | Thu, Jan. 7, 2:32 PM | 27 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 5, 9:28 AM
    • Goldman's Brian Lee has upgraded two solar plays with heavy U.S. exposure - First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) and SolarEdge (NASDAQ:SEDG) - to Buy. And he has downgraded two others - SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) and Sunrun (NASDAQ:RUN) - to Neutral.
    • Lee expects First Solar ($100 target) to be "a key beneficiary of CA's decision to raise its renewable mandate to 50 percent," as well as of the U.S. ITC extensions that led First Solar and many peers to recently soar. He also touts First Solar's growing international pipeline, and argues its strong balance sheet positions it well to "navigate more selective financing markets and maintain a relatively low cost of capital – while at the same time providing financial flexibility to fund projects off its balance sheet or be opportunistic via M&A to add to pipeline/backlog."
    • SolarEdge ($41 target) is deemed "the optimal way to leverage the rooftop solar investment theme given its strong balance sheet and cash flow generation." Lee notes the company gets ~75% of its sales from the U.S. residential market, and thinks energy storage (fueled by a Tesla partnership) could provide 10%-15% EPS upside by 2017, thus making SolarEdge "an early play on the emerging grid batteries investment theme." Meanwhile, fears of ASP pressure (a long-time concern) are considered overdone.
    • Lee on SunPower ($35 target): "Following a November 2015 analyst day that focused more on technology differentiation than financial metrics, we see limited catalysts to drive SPWR shares higher compared to other names in our coverage. Further, we await improved disclosures, particularly on the non-GAAP side and visibility into announced p-type module volume expansion in 2016-2017, to become more constructive again." Nonetheless, Lee still likes SunPower's diverse end-market exposure, as well as its healthy balance sheet and ongoing module efficiency gains.
    • FSLR +5.3% premarket to $70.23. SEDG +6.1% to $29.70. SPWR -0.2% to $30.29. RUN -2.5% to $10.93.
    | Tue, Jan. 5, 9:28 AM | 7 Comments
  • Tue, Jan. 5, 9:15 AM
    | Tue, Jan. 5, 9:15 AM | 3 Comments
  • Dec. 21, 2015, 11:11 AM
    • The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +2.1%) is now up 11% since Congress agreed six days ago to a budget compromise (officially passed on Friday) that involved extending the solar investment tax credit (ITC) and wind production tax credit (PTC). Today's gains come with the Nasdaq up 0.6%.
    • U.S. solar stocks naturally continue headlining the list of gainers. The list includes SunPower (SPWR +3.4%), First Solar (FSLR +3.3%), Sunrun (RUN +6.9%), Enphase (ENPH +8%), 8point3 Energy (CAFD +4.1%), RGS Energy (RGSE +19.6%), and Solar3D (SLTD +4.5%).
    • Other winners include JinkoSolar (JKS +4.7%), ReneSola (SOL +8%), Yingli (YGE +3.5%), China Sunergy (CSUN +4.2%), TerraForm Global (GLBL +3.2%), and SolarEdge (SEDG +3.2%), the last of which depends heavily on the U.S. residential market.
    • Citing (what else?) the tax credit extensions, Morgan Stanley's Stephen Byrd has respectively hiked his SolarCity (SCTY -0.3%), First Solar, SunPower, and Sunrun targets by $18, $2, $2, and $5 to $104, $70, $43, and $28. Bernstein and KeyBanc respectively upgraded SolarCity and Sunrun last Thursday.
    | Dec. 21, 2015, 11:11 AM | 5 Comments
  • Dec. 16, 2015, 9:52 AM
    • Solar stocks are flying higher (TAN +6.4%) after House Republicans unveiled (as part of a compromise with Democrats that involved lifting a U.S. oil export ban) that would keep the solar investment tax credit (ITC, has been set to expire at the end of 2016) at 30% through 2019, before being phased down through 2022.
    • In addition, the wind production tax credit (PTC) would be extended through 2020, albeit with a phase-down from a current level of 2.3 cents per kWh that would start in 2017.
    • U.S. solar firms are naturally among the biggest gainers: The group includes SolarCity (SCTY +24.6%), SunEdison (SUNE +17%), First Solar (FSLR +8.5%), SunPower (SPWR +14.3%), Sunrun (RUN +23.1%), TerraForm Power (TERP +8.3%), 8point3 Energy (CAFD +5.6%), Solar3D (SLTD +4.6%), and RGS Energy (RGSE +6.9%). SunEdison/TerraForm also have healthy wind exposure. Enphase (ENPH +29.1%) is soaring on the news and a Roth upgrade to Buy.
    • Israel's SolarEdge (SEDG +14.4%), which has strong exposure to U.S. installers, is also surging. Other winners include Canadian Solar (CSIQ +8.4%), Trina (TSL +4.9%), JinkoSolar (JKS +7.3%), JA Solar (JASO +3.1%), China Sunergy (CSUN +3.8%), and TerraForm Global (GLBL +5.6%). JA Solar has also been upgraded to Buy by Roth.
    | Dec. 16, 2015, 9:52 AM | 123 Comments
  • Dec. 16, 2015, 9:14 AM
    | Dec. 16, 2015, 9:14 AM
  • Dec. 14, 2015, 1:41 PM
    • Solar stocks are posting big gains (TAN +4.8%) on a quiet day for equities after representatives of 195 countries (including the U.S. and major developing nations such as China and India) reached a deal in Paris to curb greenhouse gas emissions. Coal stocks are going in the opposite direction.
    • Also: 1) Oil prices are bouncing after trading near multi-year lows earlier today. WTI crude is up 2.2% to $36.40/barrel. 2) Trina Solar (up 11.4%) has received a preliminary going-private offer at a 21.5% premium to Friday's close.
    • U.S. firms SolarCity (SCTY +8.4%), Sunrun (RUN +13.4%), TerraForm Power (TERP +8%), and RGS Energy (RGSE +25%) are among the standouts.  Other U.S. gainers include First Solar (FSLR +4.6%), SunPower (SPWR +6.5%) and Vivint (VSLR +2.8%). First Solar tumbled last week in response to its 2016 guidance; SunPower was hit by a $400M convertible offering.
    • Among non-U.S. names, gainers include Canadian Solar (CSIQ +4.4%), Yingli (YGE +2.9%), ReneSola (SOL +3.8%), and China Sunergy (CSUN +3.9%). SolarEdge (SEDG +4.6%), based in Israel but with strong U.S. exposure, is also doing well.
    • Update: Also possibly helping the group: Congressional Democrats are reportedly open to a deal to lift an oil-export ban in exchange for extending solar and wind tax credits.
    | Dec. 14, 2015, 1:41 PM | 53 Comments
  • Dec. 10, 2015, 9:14 AM
    | Dec. 10, 2015, 9:14 AM
  • Dec. 9, 2015, 5:40 PM
    | Dec. 9, 2015, 5:40 PM | 2 Comments
  • Dec. 9, 2015, 4:37 PM
    • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) expects 2016 revenue of $3.9B-$4.1B and EPS of $4.00-$4.50 vs. a consensus of $4.09B and $3.98. For reference, 2015 guidance is for revenue of $3.5B-$3.6B and EPS of $4.30-$4.50.
    • Gross margin is expected to drop to 16%-18% from 2015's 24%-25%. Op. cash flow is expected to total $500M-$700M, with capex rising to $300M-$400M from 2015's $175M-$200M. Module shipments are expected to rise slightly to 2.9GW-3GW from 2.8GW-2.9GW.
    • First Solar expects to end 2016 with a net cash balance of $2B-$2.3B, up from $1.3B-$1.4B at the end of 2015. The guidance assumes a $200M gain "the expected sale of an equity investment method and share of [YieldCo] 8point3's earnings," and doesn't account for "approximately $450 million from the expected sale of an equity method investment treated as an investing cash flow."
    • Shares have fallen to $54.50 after hours. Conference call is underway (webcast).
    | Dec. 9, 2015, 4:37 PM | 19 Comments
  • Nov. 10, 2015, 11:14 AM
    • SunEdison (SUNE -18.9%) has plunged to new multi-year lows after posting mixed Q3 results, cutting its full-year cash available for distribution (CAFD) guidance, and narrowing its full-year project delivery guidance. Canadian Solar (CSIQ -6.5%) has gone south in spite of beating estimates and providing above-consensus Q4 guidance.
    • Solar peers are also off - the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEARCA:TAN) is at its lowest levels since early October. U.S. decliners include First Solar (FSLR -6.2%), SolarCity (SCTY -6%), SunPower (SPWR -6.3%), Enphase (ENPH -8.1%), Solar3D (SLTD -4.6%), SunEdison's TerraForm Power (TERP -13.2%) YieldCo, and SunEdison acquisition target Vivint (VSLR -3.9%).
    • International decliners include Chinese plays Trina (TSL -5.7%), ReneSola (SOL -7.1%), JinkoSolar (JKS -9.2%), and JA Solar (JASO -5.3%), as well as Israel's SolarEdge (SEDG -6.7%) and SunEdison's emerging markets-focused TerraForm Global (TERP -13.2%) YieldCo.
    • “Right now I want the company to become more boring, Boring, and cash-flow generating," said embattled SunEdison CEO Ahmad Chatila on the Q3 earnings call. He reiterated SunEdison expects to build 3.3GW-3.7GW of projects in 2016; the company had once planned to build 4.5GW.
    | Nov. 10, 2015, 11:14 AM | 58 Comments
  • Oct. 30, 2015, 9:12 AM
    | Oct. 30, 2015, 9:12 AM
  • Oct. 29, 2015, 5:36 PM
    | Oct. 29, 2015, 5:36 PM | 16 Comments
  • Oct. 29, 2015, 4:56 PM
    • After resuming trading, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) has surged above $56 in response to its large Q3 beat and full-year EPS guidance hike.
    • Shares are now up 26% YTD, and trade for 12.8x the midpoint of a revised 2015 EPS guidance range of $4.30-$4.50. U.S. solar peer SolarCity is having a much rougher time following its Q3 report.
    • Q3 results, guidance/details
    | Oct. 29, 2015, 4:56 PM | 6 Comments
  • Oct. 29, 2015, 4:31 PM
    • With a big Q3 EPS beat on the books, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) has hiked its 2015 EPS guidance to $4.30-$4.50 from $3.30-$3.60 (consensus is at $3.43). Sales guidance (depends heavily on project sale timings) remains at $3.5B-$3.6B (consensus is at $3.57B).
    • Contributing to the EPS guidance hike: Gross margin guidance has been upped to 24%-25% from 21%-22%.
    • Q3 results are preliminary pending the analysis of "a discrete income tax matter related to a foreign jurisdiction." First Solar thinks the issue could have an adverse impact of up to $40M.
    • Bookings/pipeline: A record 1.7GW of bookings were recorded in Q3, and another 1.4GW have been recorded to date in Q4. As a result, expected future systems + 3rd-party module shipments have risen to 4.8GW from 3.8GW at the end of June. Expected systems + 3rd-party module revenue is at $7.4B, up $400M from the end of June. The potential bookings pipeline has risen by 700MW Q/Q to 17.4GW (mostly early-stage).
    • Shares are halted.
    • Q3 results, PR, slides (.pdf)
    • Update (4:58PM ET): First Solar is up 10.2% after resuming trading.
    | Oct. 29, 2015, 4:31 PM | 7 Comments
Company Description
First Solar Inc is a provider of solar energy solutions. It designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. It also manufactures crystalline silicon solar modules.