Seeking Alpha

First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)

  • Oct. 30, 2013, 5:35 PM
  • Oct. 28, 2013, 12:15 PM
    • Though the Nasdaq is only down 0.1%, many 2013 Internet, solar, and enterprise software high-flyers are diving once more. Chinese names are well-represented in the group, as NQ Mobile continues crashing thanks to fraud allegations and Sohu plunges due to weak Q4 EPS guidance.
    • The WSJ and NYT have each run pieces asking whether a new tech bubble is afoot, at least in certain hot sectors. "People are reaching for growth," says one fund manager quoted by the WSJ. Others argue the fact the high-flyers generally have substantial revenue, and are often profitable, makes the current situation different from the bubble.
    • Internet decliners: FB -3.4%. MELI -2.8%. GRPN -5%. ZNGA -2.7%. P -2.4%. DANG -7.6%. VIPS -7%. YY -4.8%. QIHU -5.6%. RENN -5.7%. SINA -2.4%. FUEL -4%.
    • Solar decliners: JKS -12.4%. FSLR -4.8%. SOL -8.4%. YGE -8%. JASO -6.9%. GTAT -5.4%. SUNE -4.6%. SPWR -4.3%. SCTY -3.8%. STP -8.9%. TSL -13.2%.
    • Enterprise decliners: CRM -3.8%. DATA -4.5%. MKTO -5.8%. WDAY -4%. DWRE -3.4%. VEEV -5.1%. IMPV -3.4%.
    • Recent declines: I, II.
    • Previous: Cashin sees mobile/cloud bubble
    | Oct. 28, 2013, 12:15 PM | 5 Comments
  • Oct. 21, 2013, 3:19 PM
    • First Solar (FSLR +7.3%), already +73% YTD and +127% in the past 12 months, soar again as J.P. Morgan analysts say FSLR is one of their top picks in the clean-tech sector along with EnerNOC (ENOC +0.8%) and SolarCity (SCTY -2.3%).
    • The firm says it remains optimistic FSLR will be able to achieve its 2014-15 targets given at the recent Analyst Day; FSLR's pipeline appears more robust with recent contract wins and with projects that are held longer, resulting in higher margins.
    | Oct. 21, 2013, 3:19 PM | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 18, 2013, 2:28 PM
    • Rumors Carl Icahn is set to disclose a stake in First Solar (FSLR +7.9%) have helped shares fly higher. Similar rumors popped up back in April.
    • Several solar peers are also doing very well on what's proving a good day for momentum stocks. SPWR +4.9%. SUNE +5%. SCTY +7.5%. DQ +14.3%. CSIQ +4.8%.
    • JinkoSolar (JKS +2.7%) is up more moderately after announcing a deal to develop a 120MW Chinese solar plant that will be built over the next three years. Shares jumped yesterday in response to a Credit Suisse upgrade.
    • The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +1.9%) is now up 152% YTD.
    | Oct. 18, 2013, 2:28 PM | 40 Comments
  • Oct. 16, 2013, 8:35 AM
    • First Solar (FSLR) +1.9% premarket agrees to construct a 250 MW solar power plant in Riverside County, Calif., for a subsidiary of NextEra Energy (NEE).
    • The McCoy Solar Energy Project is located near the 550 MW Desert Sunlight Solar Farm, jointly owned by a subsidiary of NEE, GE Energy and Sumitomo, currently under construction by FSLR.
    • Construction on the new project is expected to begin in late 2014, with completion in late 2016.
    | Oct. 16, 2013, 8:35 AM | Comment!
  • Oct. 14, 2013, 2:06 PM
    • SunPower (SPWR +5.2%), First Solar (FSLR +2.7%), and SunEdison (SUNE +3.4%) are all adding to the Friday gains they saw after SolarCity provided strong Q3 installation data and (more importantly) issued better-than-expected 2014 guidance. SolarCity is taking a breather following Friday's giant move higher.
    • Last week's signing of a California solar bill that effectively allows solar power producers (residential or commercial) to sell back as much excess power to the grid as they generate (the bill could pave the way for similar legislation in other states) could also be providing a lift to industry sentiment.
    • Short interests for the group remain high. SunPower had 27.7% of its float shorted as of Sep. 30, First Solar had 15.2%, and SunEdison 10%.
    | Oct. 14, 2013, 2:06 PM | Comment!
  • Oct. 11, 2013, 10:32 AM
    • Two days after tumbling as the government shutdown spawned a general selloff in risk assets, solar stocks are bouncing with the help of strong Q3 numbers and even stronger 2014 guidance from SolarCity. The numbers shine a light on the strong installation growth being seen in the U.S. market.
    • Notable gainers: SPWR +5%. FSLR +3.3%. TSL +5.7%. YGE +3.6%. JKS +4.4%. CSIQ +3.9%. JASO +3.9%. DQ +3.4%.
    | Oct. 11, 2013, 10:32 AM | 2 Comments
  • Oct. 9, 2013, 7:11 PM
    • First Solar (FSLR) is selling a Mesa, AZ facility that houses the company's operations & maintenance ops, and was once meant to handle solar module manufacturing, for over $100M in cash. (8-K)
    • The company expects to record a $55M-$60M loss on the sale, and $5M-$10M in relocation costs. At the same time, the sale will lower annual opex by $10M.
    • Back in 2011, First Solar announced it would invest $300M in the facility, and that it would be used to produce 250MW/year of solar modules. But that was before industry module prices and margins nosedived amid a capacity glut, and First Solar decided to place a greater emphasis on utility-scale solar projects.
    | Oct. 9, 2013, 7:11 PM | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 9, 2013, 1:21 PM
    • A day after Internet stocks with big 2013 gains tumbled as part of a general rout in risk assets, solar stocks are largely doing the same (TAN -3.2%).
    • Notable decliners include JA Solar (JASO -6.5%), JinkoSolar (JKS -5.6%), First Solar (FSLR -2%), SunPower (SPWR -2.2%), ReneSola (SOL -3.7%), Yingli (YGE -3.9%), Trina (TSL -2.2%), SunEdison (SUNE -0.4%), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ -4.6%).
    • SolarCity (SCTY -4.7%) is following peers lower on a day when it announced the $158M acquisition of mounting systems supplier Zep Solar. Shares outperformed yesterday following the singing of a California solar bill.
    • Suntech (STP -3.5%) has given up the premarket gains it saw on news two Chinese solar cell makers have made bids for the company.
    • Debt-laden LDK (LDK +4.6%), which has missed out on this year's big solar rally, is bucking the trend.
    | Oct. 9, 2013, 1:21 PM | 7 Comments
  • Sep. 26, 2013, 10:25 AM
    • Solar stocks are adding to yesterday's gains with the help of a market rally. Also possibly helping: the Indian government has set a 10GW 2017 solar capacity target. The move follows the Chinese government's establishment of a 35GW 2015 target.
    • Winners: JKS +5.1%. SPWR +3.6%. YGE +4.8%. TSL +4%. SOL +2.1%. DQ +13.9% (previous).
    • Also: First Solar (FSLR +1.1%) has announced it's buying a 250MW Nevada solar project from project developer K Road Power.  The project is situated to the northeast of Las Vegas, could see construction begin in Q4, and is expected to be finished by the end of 2015.
    | Sep. 26, 2013, 10:25 AM | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 25, 2013, 2:45 PM
    • U.S. solar trade group SEIA has issued a proposal that aims to remove the anti-dumping tariffs imposed last year by the ITC on Chinese solar module imports, and also put an end to China's threats to issue retaliatory tariffs on U.S. polysilicon imports.
    • The SEIA proposes Chinese manufacturers establish a fund to compensate U.S. rivals for losses caused by Chinese state subsidies, and that mechanisms be created to protect U.S. firms from having to deal with a flood of Chinese imports.
    • Both Chinese and U.S. solar names seem to be responding well. JASO +8.6%. SOL +8.4%. TSL +8.2%. SUNE +6.3% (previous). JKS +5.9%. SPWR +5.5%. FSLR +4.2%. YGE +5.8%. JKS +5.9%. CSIQ +3.3%.
    • China and the EU reached a solar anti-dumping settlement in August.
    • Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN.
    | Sep. 25, 2013, 2:45 PM | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 16, 2013, 3:26 PM
    • China says it will impose a 6.5% tariff on materials from most U.S. polysilicon suppliers (TAN +1.4%; (KWT +1.5%) beginning Friday, but that's far short of threats it could slap anti-dumping duties of as much as 57%.
    • The decision follows a U.S. move last year to impose tariffs on Chinese-made solar cells and after China and the EU settled a dispute in July over the alleged dumping of Chinese-made solar panels in Europe.
    • High tariffs on solar-grade polysilicon would have risked hurting Chinese solar manufacturers, which depend on imports of raw materials, by raising their costs.
    • Three U.S. suppliers are exempt: U.S.-based MEMC Pasadena (SUNE -2.2%) and two U.S. subsidiaries of Norway's Renewable Energy.
    • CSUN +1.4%, CSIQ +1.3%, YGE +0.8%, TSL +0.3%, STP -3%, FSLR +1.4%, SPWR +3.4%, JKS -1.6%, JASO -0.2%, SOL +1.2%.
    | Sep. 16, 2013, 3:26 PM | Comment!
  • Sep. 12, 2013, 8:16 AM
    • Solar panel installations in the U.S. jumped 15% to 832 MW during Q2 as booming business for utility-scale systems helped offset weaker demand for residential and commercial projects, according to a report from GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association.
    • The utility-scale solar market soared 42% Q/Q, but the report says utilities in California and other key states have slowed their procurement of power from new solar projects.
    • The average installed price of solar systems fell to $3.05/watt from $3.36 in Q1 and $3.43 a year ago, but prices vary greatly state to state and project to project.
    • ETFs: TAN +6.6% premarket; KWT.
    | Sep. 12, 2013, 8:16 AM | 2 Comments
  • Sep. 5, 2013, 1:22 PM
    • A day after JPMorgan provided a big lift to Chinese solar stocks, Deutsche is giving a boost to both Chinese and U.S. names.
    • Analyst Vishal Shah predicts U.S. solar installation growth will total 6GW-8GW in the 2013-2014 timeframe, and that the market could see "an inflection point" in 2015 ahead of a 2016 tax credit expiration.
    • He expects the adoption of new incorporation and leasing structures - a SolarCity (SCTY +4.4%) specialty - to boost growth by lowering financing costs, and views the potential arrival of residential leasing options as another major growth catalyst. In spite of ITC anti-dumping tariffs, Chinese firms are expected to gain share.
    • In addition to SolarCity, winners include First Solar (FSLR +4.9%), Canadian Solar (CSIQ +5.1%), Daqo (DQ +11.9%), Suntech (STP +14%), Trina (TSL +4%), Yingli (YGE +5.6%), SunEdison (SUNE +2.4%), and ReneSola (SOL +2.5%). ETFs are also up: TAN +3%. KWT +2.6%.
    | Sep. 5, 2013, 1:22 PM | 2 Comments
  • Aug. 28, 2013, 10:09 AM
    • Joe Kishkill, most recently an exec at energy services firm Exterran, has been named First Solar's (FSLR +0.6%) chief commercial officer. That puts him in charge of sales, business development, and international public affairs. (PR)
    • CEO James Hughes was First Solar's last chief commercial officer; he was promoted to his current job in May '12.
    • First Solar and global business development VP James Brown "mutually agreed" in April to part ways.
    | Aug. 28, 2013, 10:09 AM | Comment!
  • Aug. 27, 2013, 11:06 AM
    • Citing insufficient cash, LDK (LDK -8%) says it will delay a semi-annual debt coupon payment due tomorrow.
    • LDK's cash/bank deposit balance fell to $285.4M at the end of Q2 from $342.5M at the end of Q1. Meanwhile, its debt balance was north of $2.65B at the end of Q2.
    • Raymond James' Pavel Molchanov: "LDK's balance sheet makes it a 'zombie company.' It only survives due to continued bailouts from local or provincial authorities." The Suntech saga suggests Chinese authorities aren't as quick to embrace solar bailouts as they once were.
    • While many Chinese solar names are now reporting fairly healthy gross margins, LDK's remain bleak. Q2 GM was -46.9% vs. -57% in Q1 and -39.1% a year earlier.
    • LDK's balance sheet and cash issues are a big reason it has largely missed out on this year's giant solar stock rally. Nonetheless, the company and its peers are heading in the same direction (TAN -4.3%) today. YGE -6.9%. CSIQ -5.8%. SPWR -4.9%. CSUN -4.5%. SCTY -4.3%. TSL -4.2%. SUNE -5.7%. FSLR -3.2%.
    • JA Solar (JASO -4.8%) is also among the decliners, even though it has announced a deal to develop 300MW worth of Chinese solar plants.
    • LDK's Q2 results: I, II
    | Aug. 27, 2013, 11:06 AM | Comment!
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.