Mon, May 18, 2:55 PM
- JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO) has fallen below $10 after missing Q1 revenue estimates. A better-than-expected gross margin (+60 bps Q/Q and -60 bps Y/Y to 16.1%) allowed EPS to beat; JA attributes the margin strength to lower materials costs and strong sales to high-ASP Japan.
- Q1 cell/module shipments totaled 681.5MW, -28.5% Q/Q (seasonality) and +6.8% Y/Y, and in-line with guidance of 650MW-700MW. Shipments are expected to total 680MW-720MW in Q2; full-year guidance of 3.6GW-4GW (200MW for downstream projects) is maintained, with JA forecasting Chinese and North American demand will improve in 2H15.
- Business performance: Module shipments +50.5% Y/Y to 584.1MW; cell shipments -61.1% to 97.4MW. China accounted for 21.4% of Q1 shipments, other Asia-Pac markets 53.9%, Europe 22.6%, the Americas 1%, and other markets 1.1%.
- Financials: Operating expenses were 9.9% of revenue, up from 9.3% in Q4 and 9.7% in Q1 2014. JA ended Q1 with $306.2M in cash, $325.2M in short-term borrowings, and $365.8M in long-term borrowings.
- Q1 results, PR
Fri, May 8, 4:06 PM
- Solar stocks outperformed today (TAN +2.9%) amid a 1.2% gain for the Nasdaq. The gains arrived after solar power optimizer/inverter maker SolarEdge (SEDG +18.4%) trounced FQ3 estimates and provided equally strong FQ4 guidance in its first post-IPO earnings report. Standouts included Canadian Solar (CSIQ +8.3%), JinkoSolar (JKS +4.5%), ReneSola (SOL +5.6%), JA Solar (JASO +4%), Trina (TSL +4.4%), and Vivint (VSLR +5.3%).
- SolarEdge, which counts SolarCity and Vivint as clients (among others), says it "continued to see strong growth in the United States and Europe both in the residential and commercial markets" in calendar Q1. In a column under embargo until 7:54AM ET Saturday, SA PRO author Casual Analyst argues SolarEdge's offerings have "an architectural edge" against top microinverter maker Enphase. SolarEdge is now up 55% from its $20 March IPO price.
- Canadian's gains come a day after the company (shifting to a business model where it holds/operates solar project assets for a YieldCo instead of selling them) offered light Q2 guidance to go with a Q1 beat.
- Roth defended Canadian today. "The Q2 guide highlights the lack of contribution by the rich pipeline of Canadian historical projects and the weaker economics of the core manufacturing business ... Q2 may represent an 'air pocket' until yieldco details emerge, which will likely highlight the value creation enabled by the new entity."
Tue, Apr. 28, 3:10 PM
- Following years of oversupply, a solar module shortage might emerge in 2H15 thanks to rising demand, Canadian Solar (CSIQ +5.3%) CEO Shawn Qu tells Bloomberg.
- He notes Canadian (relies heavily on Chinese plants) plans to expand its module capacity to 3.5GW from a current 3GW, and its cell capacity by 400MW to as much as 2GW. Bloomberg has forecast global installations will rise to 57.2GW in 2015 from 40GW in 2013.
- Qu also reiterates Canadian's plans to do an IPO a solar project YieldCo, and says it could arrive in 2H15. The YieldCo will contain low-risk U.S., U.K., Canadian, and Japanese projects.
- Chinese module makers Trina (TSL +3.4%), JA Solar (JASO +3.9%), and JinkoSolar (JKS +2.8%) have joined Canadian in rallying on a quiet day for equities. U.S. solar installers SolarCity (SCTY +2.2%) and Vivint (VSLR +2.2%) are also higher, as is solar optimizer/inverter maker (and SolarCity/Vivint supplier) SolarEdge (SEDG +3.9%).
- ETFs: TAN, KWT
Mon, Apr. 13, 12:17 PM
- Chinese solar stocks are among today's standouts after Shanghai rose 2.2% and Hong Kong rose 2.7% overnight, continuing recent rallies. U.S. solar firms are largely missing out on the fun.
- ReneSola (SOL +13%) is today's biggest gainer. Yingli (YGE +6.2%), JA Solar (JASO +3.2%), Trina (TSL +3.4%), Daqo (DQ +2.7%), and China Sunergy (CSUN +5.6%) are also faring well, as is China-exposed Canadian Solar (CSIQ +2.4%).
- An upbeat RBC note could be helping the group: The firm notes there haven't been any Q1 warnings yet - Trina and Yingli warned a year ago - and that Beijing's 17.8GW 2015 installation target is generally seen as reasonable. It adds European and Japanese solar demand remains healthy, and thinks recent gross margin pressures will abate as ASPs stabilize and cost reductions continue.
- RBC sees Trina outperforming its peers "given its capacity expansion plan, strong balance sheet, and downstream business ramp." Earlier today, the company announced a deal to supply 116MW of modules for a 231MW Japanese project.
- Daqo is now up 11% since posting mixed Q4 results and offering an upbeat 2015 outlook on Friday morning.
- Update: Bernstein is also out with a bullish note: The firm expects the solar module market to continue consolidating, and for larger firms to take more share from smaller rivals.
Wed, Apr. 1, 2:36 PM
- Though the Nasdaq is down 0.8% and the S&P 0.6%, solar stocks remain in rally mode. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +1%) is now up 32% YTD, following a rough 2014.
- SunEdison (SUNE +3.8%) is among today's standouts; its TerraForm Power YieldCo announced this morning it's buying 521MW of wind projects from Atlantic Power for $350M. Trina is also faring well after announcing the sale of a 50MW U.K. solar plant.
- Other standouts include Chinese plays ReneSola (SOL +2.7%), Yingli (YGE +2.2%), JinkoSolar (JKS +5.2%), JA Solar (JASO +2.5%), and China Sunergy (CSUN +7.6%).
Tue, Mar. 24, 2:24 PM
- Buoyed this year by decent Q4 numbers, solid 2015 guidance, and YieldCo news, solar stocks are adding to their gains today even as the Nasdaq barely budges. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +0.7%) is up 35% YTD and nearing a 52-week high of $47.00.
- Chinese firms are adding to last week's gains - JinkoSolar (JKS +3.7%), ReneSola (SOL +3.3%), Daqo (DQ +4.8%), Trina (TSL +1.9%), JA Solar (JASO +2.7%), and China Sunergy (CSUN +12.5%) stand out. Beijing recently hiked its 2015 solar installation target by 2.8GW to 17.8GW (up from 2014's 14GW), while setting no specific targets for utility vs. distributed solar installations. The lack of utility/distributed targets is expected to make the goal easier to hit.
- U.S. names aren't getting left out: First Solar (FSLR +3.5%) and SolarCity (SCTY +2.1%) are rallying, as are microcaps RGS Energy (RGSE +6.5%) and Solar3D (SLTD +12.7%). Solar3D, a California installer, has risen 58% over the last 4 trading days.
Tue, Mar. 17, 11:02 AM
- Chinese solars, many of which remain sharply below their 52-week highs, are among the standouts on a morning in which the Nasdaq is off 0.2%.
- JinkoSolar (JKS +2.8%), which was down premarket following news of a fire at one of its plants, is among the gainers. As are JA Solar (JASO +3.3%), Daqo (DQ +5.3%), Yingli (YGE +7.1%), ReneSola (SOL +6.9%), Trina (TSL +5.6%), and China Sunergy (CSUN +2.1%). Canadian Solar (CSIQ +3.1%), which has extensive Chinese manufacturing ops, is also rallying.
- The gains come as WTI crude oil continues trading near $43/barrel. The Q4 results and full-year guidance provided by solar firms in February and March suggest oil (responsible for only a small % of global electricity output) isn't having a big near-term impact on solar investments.
Thu, Mar. 12, 11:07 AM
- JA Solar (JASO +1.6%) shipped 952.7MW of solar cells and modules in Q4, +21.3% Q/Q and +43.2% Y/Y, and above guidance of 850MW-900MW.
- Shipments are expected to fall to 650MW-750MW in seasonally weak Q1, but are forecast to grow to 3.6GW-4GW in 2015 from 2014's 3.1GW. 200MW-300MW of the 2015 shipments are expected to go towards downstream projects.
- Gross margin rose 50 bps Q/Q and was flat Y/Y at 15.5%. Hurting EPS: operating expenses rose to 9.3% of revenue from 8.8% in Q3, albeit while falling from the year-ago period's 12.8%.
- Module shipments rose 142% Y/Y, while cell shipments fell 76%. China accounted for 41% of shipments, other parts of Asia-Pac 37.3%, Europe 12.8%, and the Americas 4.4%. JA says it's "enthusiastic about expanding sales into new, underpenetrated geographies such as North America, South America, and India."
- JA ended 2014 with $347.3M in cash, $352.6M in working capital, $366.7M in short-term borrowings, and $310.2M in long-term borrowings.
- Shares opened sharply higher, but have since pared their gains.
- Q4 results, PR
Thu, Mar. 12, 9:14 AM
Tue, Feb. 24, 10:18 AM
- Beaten down over the last several months as oil and natural gas prices tumbled, solar stocks are rallying today (TAN +3.9%) after First Solar and SunPower announced they're in talks to form a solar project YieldCo, with plans to eventually do an IPO for it.
- The announcement comes less than a year after SunEdison (SUNE +1.5%) took its TerraForm Power (TERP +1.8%) solar project YieldCo public. Canadian Solar (CSIQ +8.1%), which has said it's looking to do a YieldCo at some point, is among today's biggest gainers (not counting First Solar/SunPower).
- Other standouts: SCTY +3.6%. JKS +6.2%. SOL +5.2%. TSL +4%. JASO +3.1%. YGE +4.3%. CSUN +4.5%. ENPH +2.4%.
Tue, Feb. 3, 10:59 AM
- Solar stocks are adding to yesterday's gains in a big way (TAN +3.6%) as oil prices (and oil/gas stocks) continue their recent rally: WTI crude is up $1.51 today to $51.08/barrel. The Nasdaq is close to breakeven.
- Also possibly helping solar firms: Canadian Solar's (CSIQ +21.2%) $265M deal to buy North American solar project developer Recurrent Energy from Sharp. The deal, which CSIQ estimates spells a $2.3B+ revenue opportunity, acts as a fresh vote of confidence for the downstream U.S. solar market in the wake of oil and natural gas' big declines.
- Notable gainers (besides CSIQ): FSLR +4%. SPWR +5.1%. JKS +8%. JASO +6.5%. SOL +7.1%. VSLR +6.3%. ASTI +7.7%. CSUN +7.7%. YGE +4.7%. HSOL +8.8%. DQ +3.4%. ENPH +5.8%. TSL +5.5%.
Mon, Feb. 2, 11:30 AM
- WTI crude oil soared above $48/barrel on Friday after ISIS attacked the Iraqi city of Kirkuk, and is holding its ground today. Oil/gas producers are rallying, and so are beaten-down solar firms (TAN +2.2%).
- Notable gainers: FSLR +6%. SCTY +9.2%. SUNE +5.5%. SPWR +4.9%. TSL +6.6%. JKS +4.8%. CSIQ +4.6%. DQ +13.2%. VSLR +4.4%. JASO +3.8%. ENPH +3.4%. HSOL +3.6%. YGE +4.3%. ASTI +3.1%. SOL +3.4%.
- RBC made a contrarian call on Friday, upgrading SunPower, JA Solar, and Trina to Outperform. A long list of U.S. and Chinese solar firms are expected to post Q4 results this month.
Fri, Jan. 30, 9:21 AM
- SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO), and Trina (NYSE:TSL) have each received upgrades to Outperform from RBC in the wake of the huge solar rout seen over the last few months. The firm's cites optimism about solar growth and SunPower's plans to build a 700MW+ module plant.
- SPWR +1.3% in spite of lower Nasdaq futures. JASO +2.5%. TSL +0.8%. SunPower reports on Feb. 24.
Mon, Jan. 26, 2:09 PM
- Though WTI crude is still below $46/barrel and the Nasdaq is only up 0.3%, beaten-down solar stocks are posting big gains (TAN +3.9%). Quite possibly helping: Pres. Obama has said the U.S. will help finance an Indian effort to install 100GW of solar capacity by 2022.
- The head of an Indian think tank estimates such an effort would cost $160B. India says it's seeking $100B worth of investments over 7 years. The country's bureaucracy/red tape has often stalled major foreign investments; the new government has repeatedly promised to change that.
- First Solar (FSLR +4.1%) and SunEdison (SUNE +4.1%) are among the companies to have struck deals for Indian solar projects. SunEdison has announced plans to invest up to $4B in an Indian solar manufacturing plant through a JV. First Solar and Trina (TSL +5.4%) are weighing plans to build their own local plants.
- Other notable gainers: SCTY +4.7%. JKS +7.5%. SOL +5.8%. SPWR +2.9%. CSIQ +4.6%. JASO +4.4%. RGSE +3.7%. ASTI +9.3%. HSOL +3.2%. DQ +3.7%.
Tue, Jan. 20, 12:40 PM
- Chinese solar plays JinkoSolar (JKS -6.7%), ReneSola (SOL -3.9%), JA Solar (JASO -3.5%), Daqo (DQ -9.3%), and Trina (previously covered) are posting sizable losses. As is Canadian Solar (CSIQ -10%), which depends heavily on its Chinese manufacturing ops.
- The decline comes as WTI crude oil falls by 3.7% to $46.89/barrel, and Henry Hub natural gas falls by 8.6% to $2.86/mmBtu. Also: The Shanghai exchange fell 7.5% on Monday following 3-month ban on new margin trading accounts, before rising 1.8% today. The Nasdaq is currently down 0.3%.
- Saudi Arabia has provided a bit of bad news, stating it's pushing back the completion date for its massive clean energy program (includes $109B worth of solar investments) by 8 years to 2040. Unlike many of its top energy customers, Saudi Arabia depends heavily on oil (suddenly much cheaper) for electricity production.
- U.S. solar stocks are also underperforming, but less dramatically. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -2.3%) is less than $0.30 away from its 52-week low of $31.77.
- Update: Also potentially hurting: A Chinese government study found 23% of solar panel samples taken from local firms featured glass coating defects that can affect long-term power efficiency. The defects were in products set to be used in China.
Tue, Jan. 6, 2:47 PM
- The broad Monday selloff in solar names that accompanied WTI crude's plunge towards $50/barrel has been followed by major Tuesday losses (TAN -2%) as WTI falls by another $2.34 to $47.70/barrel.
- Brent crude is down by $2.44 to $50.67/barrel, and Henry Hub natural gas is up by $0.03 to $2.91/mmBtu (still down sharply over the last few months). The Nasdaq is down 1%.
- 3%+ decliners: SUNE -5.9%. SPWR -4.3%. JKS -5.8%. DQ -9.4%. VSLR -4.6%. YGE -4.4%. HSOL -4.5%. ENPH -7.6%. CSUN -8.8%. TSL -3.4%. ASTI -10.2%. CSIQ -3.9%.
- SA author Short/Long Trader sees a buying opportunity. Though admitting a "historic connection" exists between oil prices and renewable investment, the author sees little impact on rising solar demand from low oil prices going forward.
- Trina, Canadian Solar, and JA Solar (JASO -1.4%) are Short/Long's favorite picks, given their low valuations - all three have P/Es below 10 - and generally healthy fundamentals.
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