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
May 6, 2014, 4:08 PM
May 6, 2014, 10:15 AM
- First Solar (FSLR +0.8%) will act as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor for a 19.76MW solar project in Kings County, CA, and a 23MW project in Kings and neighboring Kern County. The former project is expected to be finished in October, and the latter in Q1 2015.
- Shares are up slightly ahead of this afternoon's Q1 report. The company had 2.7GW of expected future module shipments at the end of Q4, and $7.5B worth of expected future module/systems revenue.
May 5, 2014, 5:35 PM
- ACLS, AFG, AGU, ALL, AMTG, ARC, ARRS, ATVI, AVNR, AVNW, AWR, BEAT, BID, BIO, CENT, CHUY, CNVR, CODE, CPT, CSU, CYH, CYNI, DDR, DIS, DLR, DPM, DTLK, EA, EGAN, ENPH, ETE, ETP, EXTR, FEYE, FMC, FNGN, FRGI, FSLR, FST, FTR, GALE, GHDX, GNC, GNMK, GRPN, IAG, ICUI, IMI, JIVE, LBTYA, LGCY, LLNW, LYV, MCHP, MITT, MOVE, MPO, MRO, MTDR, MYGN, NYMT, OCLR, OKE, OKS, PBPB, PEGA, PSEC, PXD, PZZA, QGEN, QUAD, RDN, REGI, RGP, RLOC, RP, SAAS, SAPE, SGMO, SPA, SSNI, SXL, THOR, THRX, TRIP, TRMB, TRMR, TSRA, WES, WFM, WTI, ZAGG, ZU.
Apr. 28, 2014, 2:15 PM
- The latest rout in once-high-flying tech momentum plays isn't leaving solar stocks unscathed. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -6.2%) is now down 21% from its March 7 high of $51.07.
- Likely adding fuel to the fire: Credit Suisse has slashed its 2014 Chinese solar installation forecast by 500MW to 11.5GW, soundly below the government's 14GW target (set in February). CS thinks policy changes related to utility-scale projects, feed-in tariff reimbursement, and distributed solar incentives are needed for investment to pick up.
- The firm adds JinkoSolar (JKS -10.8%), Trina (TSL -12.2%), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ -12.8%) are well-positioned to profit from downstream projects, given they have access to financing from the China Development Bank and other sources. On the other hand, it thinks Yingli (YGE -4.1%) and ReneSola (SOL -8.8%) are "less likely to access project capital due to their strained balance sheets." Yingli recently priced a stock offering expected to yield $83M in net proceeds.
- Other decliners: FSLR -5.3%. SCTY -7.1%. SUNE -6.8%. CSUN -9.8%. JASO -9.4%. DQ -9.3%. HSOL -5.9%. SPWR -5.1%.
Apr. 16, 2014, 9:43 AM
- The U.S. Energy Department plans to offer up to $4B in loan guarantees to renewable energy projects, focusing on advanced electric grid technology and storage, biofuels that can be used in conventional vehicles, energy from waste products and energy efficiency improvements.
- Despite the high-profile collapse of Solyndra, the Obama administration believes most of its energy investments have done well, and it credits the program with strengthening the U.S. solar industry.
- Solar stocks: TAN, JASO, SPWR, TSL, FSLR, LDK, CSIQ, YGE, SOL, JKS, CSUN, SCTY, HSOL, EMKR, SUNE, DQ.
- Battery related names: PLUG, BLDP, CBAK, ZBB, ABAT, ULBI, ENS, HPJ.
- EV cars: TSLA.
Apr. 11, 2014, 3:20 PM
- Solar stocks are broadly lower following Yingli Green Energy's (YGE -5.1%) warning of greater than projected declines in PV module shipments in Q1.
- The first solar company to make a Q1 pre-announcement, YGE estimated Q1 shipments fell by the low 30s in percentage points from Q4, below prior company guidance of a mid-20s decrease, due to softness in China and project delays in Algeria.
- YGE reiterated its FY 2014 shipment guidance of 4.0-4.2 GW, and sees higher prices lifting Q1 margins more than expected.
- Although some of YGE's weaknesses may have been company-specific, the warning has cast a shadow over solar stocks today: SUNE -2.4%, FSLR -2.9%, TSL -2.6%, SCTY -1.7%, SPWR -5.2%, JKS -7.6%.
- ETFs: TAN, KWT
Apr. 8, 2014, 4:00 PM
- Smart bargain hunting or catching a falling knife? After being bludgeoned almost ceaselessly over the last couple of weeks, many high-beta tech stocks are closing the day with sizable gains.
- The rebound comes on a day when hedge fund Coatue Management announced plans to return over $2B to investors following a 9% March decline caused by tech stock losses. It also comes as several tech giants, including Apple, Microsoft, H-P, and IBM, finish the day near breakeven, or with modest losses.
- Leading U.S. Internet gainers: LNKD +6.2%. P +6%. ZU +5%. SALE +7.2%. SSTK +6%. AOL +4.6%.
- Chinese Internet gainers: EJ +9.1%. WBAI +8.9%. QIHU +7.9%. ATHM +8.1%. YY +6.8%. SFUN +8.7%. GOMO +9.8%. Ctrip and Qunar were among the sector's biggest gainers following M&A rumors.
- Others: FSLR +7%. NMBL +6.2%. NPTN +5.9%. PANW +5.5%. EGHT +5.4%. RFMD +4.9%. QIWI +4.9%. CRUS +4.3%. RALY +5.5%.
Apr. 4, 2014, 1:12 PM
- Citi's Shahriar Pourreza has upped his First Solar (FSLR +1%) PT to $87 from $63, and is reiterating a Buy. He thinks the solar module/project giant will beat 2015/2016 consensus estimates, and expects higher ASPs to lift margins.
- First Solar took off two weeks ago after setting 2014/2015 guidance and providing aggressive module efficiency targets at its analyst day. They're holding onto modest gains today even as the Nasdaq drops 2.5%.
Mar. 19, 2014, 12:46 PM
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.
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