Aug. 1, 2014, 12:26 PM
- Solar stocks are underperforming (TAN -4%) amid a market selloff after SunPower (SPWR -8.5%) posted mixed Q2 results and provided Q3/2014 guidance ranges with midpoints below consensus.
- SunPower also announced it's building a new plant (Fab 5) that could go live in 2017 and eventually produce 700MW+/year of modules, boosting its capacity by over 50%. "Our share has been in single digits for a while and demand for the last 24 months suggests that we can expand share," says CEO Tom Werner.
- The announcement comes 6 weeks after SolarCity (SCTY -3.5%) unveiled plans to build a 1GW+ module plant with newly-acquired Silevo's help, and said it will later build "one or more significantly larger plants at an order of magnitude greater annual production capacity."
- Minimal capacity investments, together with rising U.S./Asian demand, have helped module prices stabilize following gut-wrenching declines in prior years.
- Also: SunPower stated on its CC (transcript) it hasn't decided whether to create a solar project YieldCo similar to SunEdison's (SUNE -4.3%) TerraForm Power (TERP -4.7%), which recently turned in a strong IPO. "It does not look like the company is likely to make a decision anytime soon," says Raymond James.
- Nonetheless, Brean has upgraded SunPower to Buy, citing optimism about strong demand and healthy pricing.
- Other notable decliners: FSLR -3.6%. TSL -8.4%. JKS -6%. CSIQ -5.6%. CSUN -5.7%. YGE -5%. SOL -4.5%. ENPH -5.8%. RGSE -4.5%. HSOL -3.9%. JASO -4.4%.
Jul. 28, 2014, 7:59 AM
- Solar names are under pressure following the U.S. government's move to place anti-dumping duties as high as 165% percent on solar panels and cells from China.
- China condemns the action, saying "if escalating problems in the China-U.S. solar industry are ignored, in the end it will damage up and downstream industries in both countries."
- Moving sharply lower premarket: YGE -5.1%, CSIQ -4.3%, JKS -3.8%, TSL -2.7%, JASO -2.5%, SCTY -2.2%, HSOL -4.9%
- Moving up: SPWR +1.8%, FSLR +2.7%.
- ETFs: TAN, KWT
Jul. 27, 2014, 10:18 PM
- The Commerce Department has imposed preliminary anti-dumping tariffs ranging from 26%-165% on Chinese and Taiwanese solar cell/module imports. The tariffs come on top of the anti-subsidy tariffs imposed in early June, and in spite of a WTO ruling declaring U.S. solar tariffs violate global trade rules.
- Among the affected exporters,Trina (NYSE:TSL) is getting off the lightest: Between the June and July tariffs, it's dealing with a combined rate of 29.3%.
- Yingli (NYSE:YGE), Canadian Solar (CSIQ), and Hanwha (NASDAQ:HSOL) are set to pay a combined rate of 47.27%, and Suntech (NYSE:STP) a combined rate of 49.24%. ReneSola (NYSE:SOL) and JinkoSolar (NYSE:JKS) have to pay a 58.87% anti-dumping rate.
- Chinese module makers can pay 2012 tariff rates instead if they use Chinese (rather than Taiwanese) cells. Those rates are generally a little milder, often ranging from 24%-31%.
- "The tariffs in this case are so high as to prohibit basically any manufacturer from selling at a competitive price in to the U.S," says GTM Research's Shayle Kann. A final DOC ruling on the tariffs is expected around Dec. 15, and an ITC ruling on Jan. 29. (the full ruling - .pdf)
- U.S. rivals First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) and SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) stand to benefit. Their shares rose following the June tariff announcement.
- Other Chinese solar firms: JASO, CSUN, LDK
Jul. 11, 2014, 1:05 PM
- First Solar (FSLR -0.3%) is reportedly abandoning its effort to build a 2GW solar plant in the Chinese city of Ordos, following years of talks.
- The company signed an MOU with the Chinese government in 2009 to build the plant. Two years later, it signed an MOU with Guangdong Nuclear to help develop the project.
- For reference, First Solar estimated it had 12.2GW of potential booking opportunities at the end of Q1. Shares briefly dipped due to the report, but have bounced back.
Jul. 8, 2014, 10:08 AM
- OTR Global reports the Chinese government is thinking of cutting its 2014 solar installation targets due to credit availability issues.
- The government previously set a 2014 installation target of 14GW (8GW distributed systems, 6GW utility). Deutsche has already expressed doubts about its feasibility following a soft Q1.
- U.S. and Japanese shipments have been faring better, but new DoC tariffs could take a toll on near-term Chinese sales to the former market.
- Solar stocks are lower amid a market selloff: YGE -5.3%. CSIQ -4.7%. SCTY -3.5%. FSLR -3.5%. SPWR -3.2%. JKS -4.6%. HSOL -4.4%. SOL -3.5%. DQ -3.4%. CSUN -5%. TSL -2.7%. ENPH -3%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
- Update: OTR's note comes amid a report the Chinese government plans to hike its subsidies for power sales stemming from rooftop solar projects by up to 55%, putting their revenue (on a per-kWh basis) on par with ground-mounted projects.
Jun. 26, 2014, 2:31 PM
- The U.S. government's development finance arm and a World Bank entity are respectively providing $230M and $60M for a 141MW First Solar (FSLR +1.6%) project to be built in Chile's Atacama Desert. The deal paves the way for First Solar to start construction.
- First Solar notes the project is one of several it has planned for Latin America. Last year, the company bought Solar Chile, a firm owning a 1.5GW portfolio of local solar projects.
- Shares have moved higher on the news, and are once more closing in on a 52-week high of $74.84.
- Previous: First Solar scores 150MW CA solar project
Jun. 17, 2014, 12:55 PM
- SolarCity has announced plans to build a 1GW+ module plant in NY, and to follow it up with one or more much larger facilities. Notably, the company declares (in spite of a current capacity glut) it needs to build the plants to meet long-term solar demand.
- Yingli missed Q1 estimates, but reported a healthy gross margin (thanks in part to strong Japanese sales) and reiterated full-year guidance.
- Also: Goldman is out with a bullish note, predicting rooftop solar installations will post a 40% CAGR through 2016.
- Gainers: FSLR +2.8%. SPWR +4.2%. SUNE +4.4%. JASO +8.2%. SOL +7.5%. JKS +6.5%. CSIQ +7.4%. DQ +4.2%. ASTI +3.9%. HSOL +6.9%. TSL +5.6%. ENPH +3.5%. CSUN +3.7%. RGSE +11.3% (announced a new Hawaiian deal).
- SolarCity's plans are a positive for equipment vendors GT Advanced (GTAT +1.5%) and Veeco (VECO +1.6%), each of which has seen its solar orders plummet thanks to the capacity glut.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
- Yesterday: Solar stocks rally; Deutsche upbeat on YieldCo potential
Jun. 16, 2014, 11:05 AM
- "We are becoming increasingly constructive on the solar sector as we expect further tightening of the solar supply/demand balance and expect increased investor interest driving valuation multiple expansion," says Deutsche, which last month struck a far more cautious tone on the industry.
- The firm adds it expects "the emergence of 5-6 publicly traded [solar project] YieldCos over the next 12-18 months to act as a robust growth enabler." It has upgraded SunEdison (SUNE +6.4%), which recently filed an S-1 for its TerraForm Power (TERP) YieldCo, to Buy.
- YieldCo momentum is seen growing ahead of potential 2016 U.S. solar tax credit changes, and greater international activity is expected to start in 2015, as grid parity is reached in more markets.
- Notable gainers: FSLR +3%. SPWR +4.7%. CSUN +5.2%. SOL +4.8%. RGSE +3.4%. HSOL +3.4%. YGE +3.3%. CSIQ +3.1%.
- SunPower might also be getting a lift from news of a $200M, 2-year loan program with Admirals Bank to finance U.S. residential solar projects. SunPower has already reached residential financing deals with Google and BofA/Merrill this year.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Jun. 13, 2014, 6:25 PM
- Tenaska Solar Ventures has hired First Solar (FSLR) to design and build a 150MW solar plant near El Centro, CA.
- First Solar will both provide EPC services for the project, and use its solar modules. Construction is expected to start later this year, and commercial operation is set for 2016.
- The company claimed 12.2GW of potential booking opportunities at the end of Q1.
- Previous: First Solar buys solar monitoring/control system provider
Jun. 4, 2014, 9:30 AM
- The Department of Commerce has imposed new preliminary tariffs on Chinese solar module imports, covering both modules featuring Chinese and non-Chinese cells. Trina (NYSE:TSL) is seeing an 18.56% tariff, bankrupt Suntech (NYSE:STP) a 35.21% tariff, and most other firms a 26.89% tariff.
- The move follows a complaint from Germany's SolarWorld that Chinese firms are using a loophole involving imported cells to sidestep the DOCs 2012 tariffs. A separate anti-dumping decision is due on July 25.
- Morgan Stanley notes many were expecting either a lower tariff (perhaps around 15%) or a settlement similar to the EU/China deal. Not surprisingly, the Chinese government says it's "strongly dissatisfied" with the DOC's action, and warns it could hurt trade ties.
- Chinese solar exporters are off: TSL -6.2%. YGE -5.8%. CSIQ -5.1%. JKS -8.8%. JASO -4.4%. CSUN -3.3%.
- U.S. peers First Solar (FSLR +2.5%) and SunPower (SPWR +5.5%) are higher. But SolarCity (SCTY -2.8%) and SunEdison (SUNE -3.5%) are off, as investors fear higher panel costs for solar projects. Also: SunEdison has announced a new $500M convertible debt offering. $350M-$400M of the proceeds will go to its TerraForm Power (Pending:TERP) spinoff.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Jun. 3, 2014, 12:37 PM
- First Solar (FSLR -1.4%) is buying skyton-energy, a provider of solar plant monitoring/control hardware and software, as well as related operations & maintenance (O&M) services, from Germany's AEG Power. Terms are undisclosed.
- Skytron's systems are currently installed within 600 European solar plants possessing a combined 5GW of capacity - more than 2x First Solar's current portfolio of monitored assets.
- The deal strengthens First Solar's portfolio of solar installation/management offerings as it battles for new solar project contracts, and bolsters its European foothold. The company had a 12.2GW pipeline of potential booking opportunities at the end of Q1.
- Shares are lower, but less so than many solar peers.
May. 29, 2014, 2:45 PM
- SunEdison has filed an S-1 for its anticipated solar project spinoff. The spinoff, named TerraForm Power, will own a slew of SunEdison-built solar projects, while generating revenue (and distributing related cash flows) from electricity sale agreements.
- The IPO might pave the way for other companies with sizable downstream project portfolios, such as First Solar (FSLR +2.8%), JinkoSolar (JKS +9.7%), and Trina (TSL +8.2%), to do spinoffs of their own. SunEdison's move comes after SolarCity (SCTY +5.6%) twice raised funds by selling solar asset-backed notes.
- Solar stocks are following SunEdison higher (TAN +2.6%). In addition to the aforementioned companies, gainers include SunPower (SPWR +2.5%), Yingli (YGE +3.5%), Canadian Solar (CSIQ +4.6%), and Daqo (DQ +1.5%).
May. 23, 2014, 9:11 AM
- Southern Co. (SO) and Turner Renewable Energy agree to acquire the largest solar facility in New Mexico, the 50 MW Macho Springs solar facility, from First Solar (FSLR).
- The facility is expected to generate enough electricity to power more than 18K homes in El Paso Electric's (EE) service territory.
- Financial terms are not disclosed.
May. 21, 2014, 4:00 PM
- First Solar (FSLR +3%), along with Australian solar firm Ingenero, plans to develop a hybrid diesel-solar project in Queensland, Australia. The project will provide power for a Rio Tinto bauxite mine, and is expected to be finished in late 2014.
- Shares have joined a solar stock rally that has come in the wake of Trina's strong Q2 outlook. They've been gradually trending lower since mid-March after taking off in response to the company's analyst day guidance.
May. 7, 2014, 11:45 AM
- A Q1 beat and full-year guidance hike aren't enough to keep First Solar (FSLR -4.2%) from selling off. Possibly contributing: In spite of the guidance hike, First Solar stated on its CC (transcript) Q2 EPS "will be significantly lower" than a $0.60 consensus due to project timings; that implies 2014 results will be very back-end loaded.
- Also: First Solar disclosed in its earnings slides (.pdf) its expected future systems/3rd-party module revenue is down $400M from the end of 2013 to $7.1B. However, expected module shipments are up by 100MW to 2.8GW, and potential booking opportunities have risen by 1.6GW to 12.2GW.
- Module production totaled 441MW, -1% Q/Q and +19% Y/Y. Conversion efficiency rose 10 bps Q/Q and 60 bps Y/Y to 13.5%, with lead-line efficiency rising 30 bps Q/Q and 120 bps Y/Y to 14.2%. The company is aiming for 18.1%-18.9% lead-line efficiency by 2017.
- Other solar stocks are also off (TAN -2.8%), as investors continue showing a take-no-prisoners attitude towards momentum stocks in general. Canadian Solar (CSIQ +0.3%) has given back the premarket gains it saw following a Q1 guidance hike.
- Notable decliners: SCTY -8.8%. SUNE -7%. TSL -5.5%. CSUN -5.1%. YGE -4.8%. SPWR -4.2%. DQ -5.7%.
May. 6, 2014, 4:17 PM
- First Solar (FSLR) has hiked its 2014 EPS guidance range by $0.20 to $2.40-$2.80; the consensus is at $2.49. Gross margin is now expected to be in a range of 17%-18% vs. a prior 16%-18%, and operating cash flow in a range of $300M-$500M vs. a prior $250M-$400M.
- Gross margin rose 250 bps Y/Y in Q1 to 24.9%, contributing to First Solar's big EPS beat. A 10% drop in opex to $97.4M (compares with 26% rev. growth) also helped.
- Due to project construction work, First Solar ended Q1 with $1.4B in cash/marketable securities, down $385M from the end of Q4.
- Shares +4.5% AH.
- Q1 results, PR
FSLR vs. ETF Alternatives
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.
Other News & PR