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First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)

  • 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 | Comment!
  • 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%.
    • Press Release
    | Nov. 6, 2014, 4:11 PM | 7 Comments
  • Nov. 5, 2014, 5:35 PM
  • Oct. 28, 2014, 10:23 AM
    • SunEdison (SUNE +3.4%) has signed an MOU with the Indian desert state of Rajasthan to "establish 5 GWs of capacity in the form of multiple Mega Solar Projects, with the expected capacity of each Mega Solar project 500 megawatts or more."
    • Rajasthan "aspires to create 25GW of solar capacity in the state in the next few years." Too ambitious? The national government is only aiming for 15GW by 2019. India's total installed solar capacity is currently at 2.7GW.
    • Separately, First Solar (FSLR +3.1%) and Acme Solar (a firm backed by a French utility) are set to win licenses to build major solar plants in Southern India, after offering the lowest electricity prices in an auction. SunEdison and two other firms are also set to win projects.
    • SunEdison and First Solar are among the many solar names rallying today.
    | Oct. 28, 2014, 10:23 AM | 1 Comment
  • Oct. 23, 2014, 11:59 AM
    • Southern Company's (SO +0.4%) Souther Power subsidiary tops 300 megawatts of solar generating capacity in California with the purchase of the 150-MW Solar Gen 2 facility from First Solar (FSLR +2.5%).
    • Solar Gen 2 is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 60K average CA homes. Construction of the project by First Solar began last year and is expected to be completed before year-end.
    • The juice from the plant is contracted to San Diego Gas & Electric on a 25-year agreement.
    • Source: Press Release
    | Oct. 23, 2014, 11:59 AM | 3 Comments
  • Oct. 14, 2014, 3:31 PM
    • Global growth, foreign-exchange, oil, and small caps are the subject of every client inquiry, says David Kostin. His team's recommendation: Buy "American exceptionalism."
    • In Kostin's view, U.S. economy and corporate fundamentals are still strong, with economic growth expected by Goldman economists to be 3.2% next year, the fastest expansion since 2005. Europe is expected to grow just 1%.
    • What his team likes are those stocks of companies which have a high proportion of domestic sales, plus sectors like Consumer Staples (XLP -0.1%) and Discretionary (XLY +0.7%) which stand to benefit from lower oil prices (plunging again today).
    • As for small caps (IWM +0.9%), Kostin is wary, noting downward earnings revisions have boosted small cap P/E ratios even as prices have declined.
    • The list of S&P 500 names capturing two or more of Kostin's themes: GT, GM, PCLN, AMZN, CMCSA, LOW, DG, TSN, ADM, CVS, AVP, WAG, PXD, HAL, JPM, BAC, SCHW, PNC, MS, C, GNW, LNC, MET, THC, AET, UNH, ESRX, HUM, WLP, BIIB, GILD, DAL, CMI, FLR, CRM, JBL, MA, FB, MU, FSLR, VMC, MON, T.
    | Oct. 14, 2014, 3:31 PM | 26 Comments
  • Oct. 13, 2014, 4:09 PM
    • Solar and fuel cell companies are among the biggest decliners on a day that saw NYMEX crude oil prices fall below $85/barrel (they're now slightly above), and Reuters report the Saudi government "will accept oil prices below $90 per barrel, and perhaps down to $80, for as long as a year or two." The Nasdaq as a whole finished down 1.4%.
    • Of note: Oil only accounts for 1% of U.S. electricity production, and also a small percentage of electricity output in many other large economies.
    • Solar decliners: SUNE -10.7%. FSLR -5.9%. SCTY -9.7%. DQ -9.4%. CSIQ -8.1%.JASO -7.7%. SOL -8.6%. TERP -7.5%. JKS -6.7%. CSUN -5.9%. VSLR -6.3%. TSL -8.7%. YGE -5%.
    • Fuel cell decliners: FCEL -6%. PLUG -4.7%. BLDP -7.4%.
    • Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
    | Oct. 13, 2014, 4:09 PM | 24 Comments
  • Sep. 22, 2014, 1:45 PM
    • High-beta tech stocks are selling off hard as the Nasdaq registers a 1.3% decline. The selling is broad-based, with Internet, solar, and enterprise tech stocks all well-represented among the ranks of major decliners.
    • Major Internet decliners: BIDU -4.7%. ANGI -7%. YELP -5.9%. AWAY -5.1%. CHGG -5.9%. GRUB -5.8%. P -5.2%. Z -4.6%. TRLA -4.8%. ATHM -7.9%. BITA -7%. DANG -5.9%. WB -5.3%.
    • Solar: FSLR -4.5%. SCTY -7.5%. SPWR -4.5%. DQ -7.6%. JKS -5.5%. ASTI -6.3%. ENPH -5.5%. CSIQ -4.8%.
    • Enterprise: WDAY -5.4%. GIMO -6.7%. VMEM -7.7%. IMPV -4.8%. MKTO -4.9%. SPRT -5.1%. CSOD -5.5%.
    • Others: HIMX -4.6%. SIGM -5.6%. WATT -9.7%. CYNI -5.3%. ADNC -5.7%. PXLW -5%. SWIR -5.8%. MITK -6%. OCLR -6%.
    | Sep. 22, 2014, 1:45 PM | 14 Comments
  • Sep. 12, 2014, 2:14 PM
    • Solar stocks are on the move after Trina Solar (TSL +3.7%) CEO Gao Jifan says its factories are operating at full capacity but the company still can't meet the demand for its solar panels.
    • China's top three solar panel makers are at full capacity and will have to expand their production, Gao says, noting that TSL's solar panel production will rise to 3.8 GW by year-end, up from ~3.4 GW at the end of June.
    • China recently announced new subsidies for smaller solar energy projects, which Goldman Sachs says will make selling power to the country's electrical grid much more lucrative for the operators and will cause prices of solar components to rise.
    • CSIQ +2.6%, CSUN +7.4%, YGE +3%, FSLR +1.7%, SPWR +0.8%, JASO +2.4%, SOL +5.4%.
    • ETFs: TAN, KWT
    | Sep. 12, 2014, 2:14 PM | 2 Comments
  • Aug. 26, 2014, 9:55 AM
    • BofA/Merrill thinks First Solar (FSLR -0.1%) will likely decide not to create a YieldCo, a move it argues would remove the company's ability to sell projects at more attractive valuations.
    • Needham cited the potential for a YieldCo as a reason for upgrading First Solar following its Q2 report. On the CC (transcript), CEO Jim Hughes remained non-committal. "On the YieldCo, in terms of details, one we haven't reach the decision and two, I don't think we're prepared to discuss details other than to say, we're obviously close observers of the marketplace."
    • Following the successful IPO of SunEdison's TerraForm Power unit, a number of solar firms have said they're considering a YieldCo.
    | Aug. 26, 2014, 9:55 AM | 2 Comments
  • Aug. 12, 2014, 3:50 PM
    • Citi's Shahriar Pourreza: "Our sector tilt is favorable towards solar downstream names versus the upstream manufacturers - First Solar (FSLR +0.1%) is the bellwether in the downstream market."
    • Pourreza predicts First Solar's "balance sheet strength and bankability premium" should "should allow it to continue to capture large scale projects in key growth regions globally."
    • Shares are closing near breakeven on a day when many solar stocks are down over 4%. They remain well above where they traded going into last week's Q2 report.
    | Aug. 12, 2014, 3:50 PM | 1 Comment
  • Aug. 6, 2014, 7:44 AM
    • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) -3% premarket, recovering roughly half of losses following its Q2 earnings miss; Needham's upgrade of shares to Buy from Hold may be helping.
    • In explaining the upgrade, with a $75 price target, the firm cites factors including a high likelihood of a FSLR yieldco, thus creating meaningful value; positive metrics supporting greater growth trajectory ahead; near-term opportunities created by the U.S. tariffs on Chinese modules; and strong efficiency gains.
    • Although Q2 results were weak due to "lumpy" timing of project revenue, Needham says it is not concerned and instead focused on FSLR's strong YTD bookings, increased expected revenue and long-term pipeline expansion, suggesting strengthening of FSLR's business.
    • Also, Brean Capital maintains its Buy rating and $83 price target, saying FSLR's Q2 results were unexpected but the shortfall is not material to the stock's valuation; the firm notes FSLR's cadmium telluride technology efficiency has surpassed crystalline, which it considers a significant positive going forward (
    | Aug. 6, 2014, 7:44 AM | 1 Comment
  • Aug. 5, 2014, 4:41 PM
    • In spite of its big Q2 miss, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is reiterating guidance for full-year EPS of $2.40-$2.80 (consensus is at $2.70) and operating cash flow of $300M-$500M.
    • The Q2 miss is blamed on project delays that led to deferred revenue recognition to 2H14, and the push-out of revenue recognition for the Campo Verde project.
    • Thanks to the shortfall, gross margin dropped to 17% from 27% a year ago. Opex fell 10% to $90.8M. Net cash was $1.2B at quarter's end.
    • Expected future systems/3rd-party module revenue is up $500M Q/Q to $7.6B, and expected module shipments for systems and 3rd-party modules is up by 400MW to 3.2GW.
    • Potential bookings opportunities are up 500MW to 12.7GW; the lion's share are called "early-stage," and nearly half are in North America. Operations & maintenance (O&M) bookings are above 800MW YTD, thanks in part to the Skytron acquisition.
    • Module production +1% Q/Q and +15% Y/Y to 447MW, and average conversion efficiency rose 50 bps Q/Q and 100 bps Y/Y to 14%. First Solar has achieved a 21% cell efficiency in lab tests, beating a prior mark of 20.4%.
    • FSLR -5.3% AH. Q2 results, PR, slides
    | Aug. 5, 2014, 4:41 PM | 1 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.