First Solar, Inc.

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  • Jan. 5, 2015, 1:18 PM
    • WTI crude is down by $2.36 to $50.33/barrel, and briefly fell below $50/barrel for the first time since '09. Brent crude is down $3.18 to $53.24/barrel. Solar stocks, no stranger to getting hit hard by crude's decline, are seeing more pain (TAN -2.1%).
    • U.S. solar firms First Solar (FSLR -5.5%), SolarCity (SCTY -5.9%), SunPower (SPWR -4.6%), SunEdison (SUNE -6%), and TerraForm (TERP -4.4%) are especially hard-hit. But other names are also underperforming: CSIQ -3.6%. DQ -5.1%. CSUN -4.2%. JKS -2.8%. SOL -3.5%. The S&P is down 1.8%.
    • A reminder: Oil accounts for only ~1% of U.S. electricity production, and transmission/distribution costs often have a bigger impact on electricity prices than energy input costs.
    • Industry news: 1) Canadian Solar has completed selling two 10MW Ontario plants to renewable energy investment firm RET. 2) Hanwha (HSOL +0.9%) has struck a deal to supply 80MW of modules for a Chilean solar plant. 3) China Sunergy has won a 30MW solar module contract from an Indian solar park builder.
    | Jan. 5, 2015, 1:18 PM | 17 Comments
  • Dec. 18, 2014, 12:18 PM
    • While the Guggenheim Solar ETF is only modestly outperforming the Nasdaq (+2% vs. +1.6%), First Solar (FSLR +6.2%) and SolarCity (SCTY +6.9%) are posting big gains.
    • Both names had tumbled in late November and early December, in tandem with plunging crude oil prices. More than a few bulls had argued the link between crude prices and solar demand is limited.
    • Recent SA Pro articles on First Solar and SolarCity: I, II
    | Dec. 18, 2014, 12:18 PM | 13 Comments
  • Dec. 17, 2014, 4:37 AM
    • The Commerce Department is hiking import duties on solar energy equipment from China and Taiwan, closing a loophole that had allowed Chinese manufacturers to avoid tariffs and sell at illegally low prices in the U.S.
    • Steep anti-dumping duties will now placed on imports of most solar panels made in China and solar cells from Taiwan, likely raising the cost of solar energy at a time of falling oil prices.
    | Dec. 17, 2014, 4:37 AM | 17 Comments
  • Dec. 15, 2014, 7:54 AM
    • The Q-50 Index houses those companies next-eligible for inclusion into the Nasdaq 100 (NASDAQ:QQQ). Amid the Nasdaq 100's annual changes which added and dropped three from the index, the Q-50's quarterly re-ranking adds and drops eleven.
    • Added: Ainylam Pharma (NASDAQ:ALNY), Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE), F5 Networks (NASDAQ:FFIV), (NASDAQ:JD), MercadoLibre (NASDAQ:MELI), Maxim Integrated (NASDAQ:MXIM), Old Dominion Freight Line (NASDAQ:ODFL), Shire (NASDAQ:SHPG), Splunk (NASDAQ:SPLK), Stratasys (NASDAQ:SSYS), United Therapeutics (NASDAQ:UTHR).
    • Dropped: Avis Budget (NASDAQ:CAR), Cree (NASDAQ:CREE), First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), Golar LNG (NASDAQ:GLNG), Methanex (NASDAQ:MEOH), Melco Crown (NASDAQ:MPEL), Nuance (NASDAQ:NUAN), SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY). Also dropped are the three Nasdaq 100 additions: American Airlines, Lam Research, and Electronic Arts.
    • Previously: Who's in, who's out in annual change to Nasdaq 100 (Dec. 13, 2014)
    | Dec. 15, 2014, 7:54 AM | 6 Comments
  • Dec. 10, 2014, 4:05 PM
    • First Solar (FSLR) is partnering with Clean Energy Collective (CEC), a builder of large-scale solar installations for individual neighborhoods, to "develop and market community solar offerings to residential customers and businesses directly on behalf of client utilities."
    • As part of the deal, First Solar as obtained a stake in CEC, and taken two seats on its board. CEC has developed, or is working on, 40+ community solar projects
    • The alliance gives First Solar (historically focused on utility-scale solar projects) a way to go after the residential market. Though its thin-film solar cells generally have a cost advantage over crystalline silicon (C-Si) cells, their lower conversion efficiencies make them less effective for most residential rooftop deployments.
    • Last year, First Solar bought TetraSun, a developer of high-efficiency C-Si cells, to target rooftop deployments. Shares fell 4.4% today amid a market selloff.
    | Dec. 10, 2014, 4:05 PM
  • Dec. 8, 2014, 1:34 PM
    • WTI crude oil has fallen 3.7% to $63.42/barrel today, after Morgan Stanley cut its 2015 oil forecast. Henry Hub natural gas is down 4.7% to $3.62/MMBtu.
    • Solar stocks, already battered by crude's recent plunge, are joining oil/gas firms in selling off (TAN -2.6%). The Nasdaq is down 0.8%. FSLR -3.8%. SPWR -5.4%. SUNE -4.4%. SOL -6.8%. HSOL -5.9%. JKS -6.4%. YGE -4.3%.
    • Industry news: 1) Hanwha is merging its U.S.-listed unit with its Q Cells unit. 2) Trina has bought a 28% stake in Chinese equipment leasing firm Shuntai for $50M to "expand its financing channels" for both its downstream and module ops. 3) Canada has joined the list of countries probing Chinese module vendors for anti-dumping violations.
    | Dec. 8, 2014, 1:34 PM | 17 Comments
  • Dec. 1, 2014, 12:15 PM
    • With the Nasdaq down 1.3%, solar stocks are adding to the steep Friday losses they saw after OPEC declined to cut production, sparking a huge selloff in oil prices and anything energy/commodity-related. Oil prices have bounced a little today, but WTI crude is still only around $68/barrel.
    • Solar bulls have noted oil only accounts for a small percentage of global electricity production, and that solar stocks have already seen plenty of pain this year. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -5.2%) is now down 34% from a March high of $51.07.
    • Major decliners: FSLR -6.3%. SPWR -8.4%. SCTY -6%. SUNE -6.4%. SOL -12.8%.JKS -8.1%. CSUN -8.5%. CSIQ -9.3%. DQ -10.3%. VSLR -7.2%. TSL -7.8%. YGE -9.4%. RGSE -7.4%. HSOL -9.5%. TERP -5.8%. JASO -5.2%.
    | Dec. 1, 2014, 12:15 PM | 43 Comments
  • Nov. 28, 2014, 10:55 AM
    | Nov. 28, 2014, 10:55 AM | 47 Comments
  • Nov. 21, 2014, 6:45 PM
    | Nov. 21, 2014, 6:45 PM | 46 Comments
  • Nov. 21, 2014, 10:28 AM
    | Nov. 21, 2014, 10:28 AM | 37 Comments
  • Nov. 13, 2014, 1:58 PM
    • Solar stocks can't catch a break this week. Down on Tuesday following Vivnt Solar's weak results and guidance, and down yesterday in the wake of Canadian Solar's numbers, they're off today after SunPower provided light 2015 guidance.
    • Notable decliners: FSLR -4.3%. SUNE -5%. CSIQ -6.9%. JKS -5%. SOL -4.7%. JASO -3.2%. VSLR -3.7%. SOL -4.7%. CSUN -7.9%.
    • Chinese polysilicon maker Daqo (DQ -10.1%), which posted mixed Q3 results this morning, is selling off after opening higher.
    • Is a lot of bad news priced in? The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -1.6%) is now down 33% from a March high of $51.07, and not far from a 52-week low of $32.23.
    | Nov. 13, 2014, 1:58 PM | 17 Comments
  • Nov. 12, 2014, 12:08 PM
    • Up initially after providing soft Q4 revenue guidance (due to revenue recognition timings for solar projects) to go with a Q3 beat and full-year module guidance hike, Canadian Solar (CSIQ -7.9%) is now selling off.
    • First Solar (FSLR -2.9%), which knows a thing or two about the effects of project revenue timings, is also selling off. Shares are down 12% since last week's Q3 miss.
    • A few Chinese solar firms are also following Canadian lower: SOL -3.2%. TSL -3.3%. JKS -2.5%. YGE -2.1%.
    • Yesterday: Solar stocks drop following Vivint's results/guidance
    | Nov. 12, 2014, 12:08 PM | 20 Comments
  • Nov. 7, 2014, 10:54 AM
    • First Solar (FSLR -10.3%) has dived towards $50 after missing Q3 estimates (if one excludes a $0.26/share one-time tax benefit) and lowering its full-year revenue guidance. Also not helping: First Solar disclosed on its CC (transcript) it's not pursuing a solar project YieldCo at this time.
    • Nonetheless, the company does think "the ownership and operation of whole or partial interest in select solar-generating assets does have a role as a component part of [First Solar's] overall business model," and says it "likely will begin providing greater visibility into our retained ownership interest by reporting it as a separate segment commencing in 2015."
    • When asked by a Baird analyst about the YieldCo decision, CEO Jim Hughes admitted First Solar has "a note of caution about the overall market position as we exit 2016 and move into 2017." Several other analysts also pressed the company about the various factors (growth expectations, cost of capital, taxes, etc.) that went into its YieldCo decision.
    • UBS (Neutral) has lowered its 2015 EPS estimate by $0.35 to $5.00, citing opex growth and the potential for First Solar to retain equity interests in projects (rather than fully selling them). "We believe the market for solar assets has become more competitive and that the arb opportunity has tightened."
    • Needham (Buy) admits First Solar's approach to monetizing solar projects gives it more flexibility, but it also thinks "a yieldco would ultimately create more shareholder value." It's still a fan of the company's execution, and also likes its plans to increase module manufacturing capacity by up to 46% next year.
    • SunPower (SPWR -1.7%), which will share details about its asset monetization plans at its Nov. 13 analyst day, is also lower.
    | Nov. 7, 2014, 10:54 AM | 6 Comments
  • Nov. 7, 2014, 9:14 AM
    | Nov. 7, 2014, 9:14 AM | 2 Comments
  • Nov. 6, 2014, 4:39 PM
    • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is lowering its 2014 revenue guidance by $100M to $3.6B-$3.9B; consensus is at $3.77B. However, gross margin guidance has been hiked to 19%-20% from 18%-19%.
    • The company is reiterating guidance for full-year EPS of $2.40-$2.80 (consensus is at $2.61), op. cash flow of $300M-$500M, and module production of 1.8GW-1.9GW. Capex guidance has been cut by $50M to $250M-$300M.
    • Q3 new bookings totaled 521MW, raising the YTD total to 1.7GW. YTD book-to-bill is "well above" 1.
    • 448.9MW of solar modules were produced, flat Q/Q and up 5% Y/Y. Average conversion efficiency rose 20 bps Q/Q and 90 bps Y/Y to 14.2%.
    • Potential bookings opportunities (mostly early-stage) rose by 1GW Q/Q to 13.7 GW. Expected future systems/3rd-party module revenue fell $200M to $7.4B. Expected module shipments for systems and 3rd-party modules rose 100 MW to 3.3GW.
    • Due to project timings, free cash flow was -$390.5M. First Solar's cash/marketable securities fell by $234M Q/Q to $1.1B. Debt totaled $218M at quarter's end.
    • FSLR -1.6% AH. Q3 results, PR, slides, datasheet.
    | Nov. 6, 2014, 4:39 PM
  • Nov. 6, 2014, 4:11 PM
    • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR): Q3 EPS of $0.61 misses by $0.03.
    • Revenue of $889.13M (-30.0% Y/Y) misses by $160.87M.
    • Shares +0.5%.
    | Nov. 6, 2014, 4:11 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.