Thu, Aug. 6, 12:00 PM
- North American solar plays SolarCity (SCTY -8.6%), SunPower (SPWR -5%), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ -5.1%) are seeing big losses after SunEdison (down 21%) posted mixed Q2 results - revenue beat, EPS missed - and reiterated its full-year system delivery guidance. The Nasdaq is down 1.7%.
- Vivint Solar (VSLR -5.9%), set to be acquired by SunEdison for a mixture of cash, stock, and convertible debt, is also off. So is inverter/power optimizer maker SolarEdge (SEDG -10.7%), which reports on Aug. 12.
- The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -5.1%) has more than given back the big Wednesday gains seen following First Solar's earnings.
Wed, Aug. 5, 2:01 PM
- Spurred by new rules for energy project auctions, SunPower (SPWR +3.7%) says it plans to have 1GW worth of Chilean solar capacity in 5 years. CEO Tom Werner: "To build such a big solar capacity, we will participate in the energy auctions processes. Chile has phenomenal sunshine, and the economic environment is favorable.”
- SunPower has already built a 70MW solar plant in Chile's Atacama Desert, and plans to start construction on a 100MW project in Central Chile later this year. The company is talking with banks to get financing, and plans to participate in a spring 2016 energy auction.
- The announcement comes 9 days after SunPower announced it's buying a 1.5GW U.S. solar project pipeline. Shares continue to join those of many solar peers in rallying in the wake of First Solar's Q2 report.
Tue, Aug. 4, 4:30 PM
- In addition to beating Q2 estimates, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is guiding for 2015 revenue of $3.5B-$3.6B and EPS of $3.30-$3.60, above a consensus of $3.44B and $2.36.
- As always, the company's quarterly/annual numbers depend a lot on the timing of revenue recognition for solar project sales. Q2 growth is attributed to "increased revenue recognition on the Silver State South project and the sale of majority interests in the North Star and Lost Hills-Blackwell projects."
- Bookings/pipeline: Q2 project bookings totaled 537MW, bringing the YTD total to 1.4GW. Expected future module shipments fell by 100MW Q/Q to 3.8GW, and expected future systems/module revenue by $600M to $7B. However, potential bookings opportunities rose by 2.7GW to 16.7GW (primarily early-stage).
- Module production: Output rose 4% Q/Q and 26% Y/Y to 563MW. Capacity utilization was 85% vs. 87% in Q1 and 80% a year ago. Average conversion efficiency rose 70 bps Q/Q and 140 bps Y/Y to 15.4%, with a best-line efficiency of 16.2%.
- Financials: Gross margin (affected by deal timings) rose to 18.4% from 8.3% in Q1 and 17% a year ago; Q3 GM guidance is at 21%-22%. R&D spend fell 10% Y/Y to $30M; SG&A rose 23% to $71M. Free cash flow was -$47.3M. First Solar ended Q2 with $1.78B in cash/investments, and $300M in long-term debt.
- First Solar has jumped to $49.29 AH. SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE) is up 2.8% to $23.07, and SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) up 1.9% to $27.23. SunEdison reports on Thursday.
- First Solar's Q2 results, PR, slides (.pdf)
Tue, Jul. 28, 6:38 PM
- Though SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) missed Q2 sales estimates (while slightly beating on EPS), the company forecasts 2015 revenue of $2.4B-$2.6B and EPS of $1.50-$1.80, above a consensus of $2.2B and $1.00.
- In addition, full-year EBITDA guidance has been hiked by $25M to $425M-$475M, and ~20% 2016 EBITDA growth is forecast.
- Q3 revenue guidance of $400M-$450M is below a $640.9M consensus. SunPower notes the forecast reflects the impact of its HoldCo strategy, through which it's retaining/operating certain solar project assets rather than selling them and recognizing the revenue, as well as deferrals due to real estate accounting.
- Top-line figures: SunPower recognized revenue on 194MW of solar sales, down from 219MW in Q1 and 312MW a year ago - 90MW were from solar plants, 39MW from commercial sales, and 65MW from residential sales. Power plants accounted for 43% of revenue, residential 40%, and commercial 17%.
- Metrics: MW deployed totaled 315MW (much higher than the recognized 194MW) vs. 266MW in Q1 and 316MW a year ago. Q3 and full-year deployment guidance is respectively at 300MW-330MW and 1.25GW-1.3GW, and SunPower expects a 30% deployment CAGR from 2015-2019. 340MW of solar cells were produced, up from 319MW in Q1 and 311MW a year ago. The global project pipeline is above 12GW.
- Financials: Gross margin (non-GAAP) fell to 17.6% from 20.5 in Q1 and 19.5% a year ago. GAAP operating expenses rose 2% Y/Y to $103.8M. SunPower ended Q2 with $694M in cash, $12M in short-term debt, $225M in long-term debt, and $694M in convertible debt.
- Shares have risen to $26.30 AH.
- Q2 results, PR, slides (.pdf), datasheet (.pdf)
Tue, Jul. 28, 4:14 PM
Mon, Jul. 27, 5:29 PM
- SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) has bought the project pipeline from Australia's Infigen Energy for an undisclosed sum. It includes projects "in varying stages of development across 11 states."
- Some of the projects are expected to go to the company's 8point3 Energy (NASDAQ:CAFD) YieldCo JV with First Solar (recently went public). The pipeline includes 55MW of projects in Kern County, CA for which SunPower expects to begin construction this year, and begin commercial operation in 2016.
- SunPower recognized revenue on 736MW of solar plant deals in 2014, and 115MW in Q1. Q2 results arrive Tuesday afternoon.
- SPWR +0.5% AH to $25.23.
Tue, Jul. 14, 5:39 PM
Tue, Jul. 14, 12:42 PM
- Goldman and JPMorgan have respectively resumed coverage on SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) with Buy and Overweight ratings. Peer/YieldCo partner First Solar is down slightly after being started at Neutral by Goldman and Overweight by JPMorgan.
- The launches come with SunPower having fallen 19% from a June peak of $33.25 going into today, thanks to a broader solar stock selloff.
Mon, Jun. 29, 11:39 AM
- Solar stocks are among the top decliners on a morning the Nasdaq is down 1.4%, thanks to a global selloff in equities triggered by Greek news. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -4.1%) is now down 21% from an April peak of $50.00; it's still up 16% YTD, after having tumbled in 2H14.
- Major decliners include U.S. firms SolarCity (SCTY -4.9%), First Solar (FSLR -4.3%), SunPower (SPWR -4.2%), SunEdison (SUNE -5.1%), Vivint (VSLR -7%), and RGS Energy (RGSE -8.2%), Chinese firms JinkoSolar (JKS -7.4%), Yingli (YGE -6.4%), China Sunergy (CSUN -8.3%), ReneSola (SOL -5.5%), and Trina (TSL -5.4%), and Israeli inverter/power optimizer maker SolarEdge (SEDG -5%).
- Some news: 1) SunEdison and its TerraForm Power YieldCo have closed their $350M acquisition of Atlantic Power's 521MW wind plant portfolio. 2) SolarCity, vita its homebuilder partner program, has launched new energy storage and fixed-rate solar electricity pricing options in California (easily its largest market). The electricity, provided via 20-year deals, is said to feature a cost "equivalent to the lowest standard residential electricity rates of California's largest utilities." 3) SolarEdge is partnering with system provider Andalay on a solution that allows SolarEdge's optimizers to be quickly integrated with Andalay's solar modules.
- Last Thursday: Home solar installer/electricity provider Sunrun files for IPO
- Update: Also possibly hurting the group: A Supreme Court ruling blocking EPA regulations meant to limit emissions from coal power plants. The court ruled regulations need to take costs into account.
Fri, Jun. 19, 11:36 AM
- After pricing its 20M-share IPO at the high end of its $19-$21 range, 8point3 Energy (Pending:CAFD) opened at $20.75 and is currently at $20.70, down 1.4%.
- The solar project YieldCo is valued at $1.47B. Given plans for an initial quarterly distribution of $0.2097/share, its forward yield is 4.1%.
- Parents First Solar (FSLR -1.7%) and SunPower (SPWR -2.5%), which respectively own 31.1% and 40.7% post-IPO stakes, are off moderately.
- Prospectus, IPO analysis
- Prior 8point3 coverage
Fri, Jun. 19, 8:15 AM
- 8point3 Energy (Pending:CAFD) has priced its 20M-share IPO at the high end of its $19-$21 range. The solar project YieldCo has raised $420M, and is valued at $1.49B. Shares begin trading today.
- First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) will own a 31.1% post-IPO stake in 8point3 (22.2M shares), and SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) a 40.7% stake (28.9M shares). IPO buyers/public investors will own the rest.
- Prospectus, IPO analysis
- Prior 8point3 coverage
Wed, Jun. 10, 1:21 PM
- First Solar (FSLR +2.2%) and SunPower's (SPWR +4.6%) 8point3 Energy solar project YieldCo is looking to sell 20M shares at $19-$21 under the symbol CAFD (known to YieldCo and REIT followers as shorthand for cash available for distribution). The IPO underwriters: Goldman, Citi, Deutsche, JPMorgan, HSBC, Baird, MUFG, Mizuho, CLSA, and HSBC. (prospectus)
- At the price range's midpoint, 8point 3 would be valued at $1.02B and reap gross proceeds of $400M; the latter figure rises to $460M if a 3M-share overallotment option is used. Net proceeds will be partly used to make a cash distribution to First Solar and SunPower.
- 8point3 plans to pay an initial quarterly distribution of $0.2097/share; that spells a 4.2% yield at the price range's midpoint. As previously disclosed, 8point3 has an initial portfolio consisting of 432MW of U.S. projects. It also has a right of first offer for 1.14GW of projects owned by First Solar and SunPower, the lion's share of which are in the U.S.
- First Solar and (especially) SunPower are higher on a good day for markets in general, and solar stocks in particular.
Thu, Jun. 4, 2:19 PM
- In a complaint filed at a San Francisco federal court, SunPower (SPWR -1.2%) alleges SunEdison (SUNE -1.2%) obtained proprietary info by poaching 20 employees in the U.S., Spain, and Italy.
- Among the allegations: Two SunPower employees joining SunEdison stole "dealer information, distribution channel strategy information, market research, sales roadmaps and other highly confidential documents." SunEdison exec Vikas Desai is said to have "personally solicited and encouraged some SunPower employees to leave SunPower to join SunEdison."
- Shares of both companies are lower on a down day for equities.
Tue, May 19, 11:26 AM
- Solar stocks are selling off for the second day in a row (TAN -1.7%) as Yingli (YGE -42.4%) plunges into penny stock territory after disclosing in its 2014 annual report (filed after the close last Friday) its financial woes "raise substantial doubt about [its] ability to continue as a going concern."
- Decliners include Chinese firms JinkoSolar (JKS -3.3%), ReneSola (SOL -6.4%), Trina (TSL -4.8%), and China Sunergy (CSUN -6.5%), as well as China-exposed Canadian Solar (CSIQ -4.8%), which yesterday held its investor day (presentations can be found here).
- U.S. firms SunPower (SPWR -3%) and Enphase (ENPH -2.9%) are also off. Enphase's decline comes in spite of an upgrade to Strong Buy from Needham.
- Yingli CFO Wang Yiyu downplays his company's disclosure, which has sparked fears Yingli will be the next Suntech or LDK Solar. "Potential risks don’t mean they will happen and don’t mean Yingli is facing or will face such risks. They shouldn’t cause an overreaction.”
- Wolfe Research's Gordon Johnson (formerly with Axiom, bearish on solar for a long time) thinks Yingli's disclosure has "caused a lot of investors to overlook massive debts on the balance sheets of pretty much EVERY publicly traded Chinese solar company," and that a Yingli liquidation could affect credit access for peers.
- RBC's Mahesh Sanganeria, however, argues Yingli's problems are company-specific. "It is well understood by now that global solar demand is strong this year, as evidenced by a number of large contract signing announcements, active solar project development and acquisition, and positive company earnings." He does admit solar cell/module prices have been falling, but suggests this is partly due to lower costs, along with a weak yen/euro and lower polysilicon prices.
Thu, Apr. 30, 5:57 PM
- Though SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) insists its "underlying business fundamentals remain strong for 2015," the company is refraining from providing 2015 guidance "until the company can finalize the estimates regarding the impact" of its 8point3 Energy YieldCo JV with First Solar. The company has guided for 315MW-350MW of Q2 module deployments, and 200MW-230MW of module revenue recognition.
- No explanation is provided in SunPower's earnings release for its Q1 revenue miss - First Solar just cited (among other things) the retaining of projects for the YieldCo as a factor behind its Q1 miss.
- Revenue recognition timings led power plant revenue to fall 49% Y/Y to $226.2M. Commercial solar revenue fell 36% to $49.1M. Residential solar fell 6% to $155.3M.
- Gross margin (non-GAAP) was 20.5% vs. 20.4% in Q4 and 22% a year ago. 319MW of modules were produced vs. 313MW in Q4 and 306MW a year ago.
- Shares have fallen to $30.78 AH.
- Q1 results, PR, slides (.pdf), datasheet (.pdf)
Thu, Apr. 30, 4:06 PM
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