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- The solar industry is in the early phases, and it is likely that several of the current industry players will underperform, or may not exist in the long term.
- Several Chinese companies which may look appealing on a valuation basis have significant country and business model-specific risks.
- ETFs provide a low risk diversified way to benefit from this growth industry.
The Devil Is In The Details Of Solar Securitization
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Wed, Jun. 4, 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
Tue, Jun. 3, 7:02 PM
- Pres. Obama’s plan to cut power plants’ carbon dioxide emissions places a widely differing burden on different states; EPA figures show targets for 2030 range from a 72% reduction in measured emissions rates to just 11%.
- As well as having the highest emissions rate goal, North Dakota is being asked to make the smallest cut from 2012 levels (11%); Washington state has the lowest goal and is being asked to make the steepest reduction (72%).
- Though Washington's governor supports the climate plan, heavy polluters, such as Louisiana and Texas, promise to fight the rules; the top U.S. emitter of greenhouse gases, Texas must cut ~100M metric tons of carbon dioxide from its annual emissions, more than the next three states combined.
- The EPA says it is trying to be flexible, but such an approach could leave it vulnerable to legal challenges.
- ETFs: XLE, XLU, TAN, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, FCG, VPU, DIG, KWT, GASL, DUG, IYE, GASX, PXJ, UPW, FENY, RYE, RYU, FUTY, FXN, FXU, DDG, SDP
Tue, Jun. 3, 12:45 PM
- EPA chief Gina McCarthy says she expects for significant changes in proposed state emission goals before a final rule is issued next year if the individual states show they can’t meet the targets.
- McCarthy says the agency made changes when developing its rules on mercury pollution in 2012 after utilities complained, and says she "wouldn’t be surprised if we made significant” revisions to the carbon proposal.
- McCarthy notes "confusion" around the targeted 30% emission cuts, saying it’s not a goal of the plan but an estimate of what the EPA thinks can be achieved.
- Coal names are broadly lower: WLT -4.4%, ACI -3.7%, ANR -2%, ARLP -1.9%, CNX -1.3%, CLD -0.3%, BTU -0.2%.
- Big utilities are mostly higher: EXC +1.6%, AEP +1%, NRG +0.7%, D +0.5%, XEL +0.4%, SO +0.3%, PEG +0.2%, NEE +0.1%, DUK -0.2%
- ETFs: XLE, XLU, TAN, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, FCG, VPU, DIG, KWT, GASL, DUG, IYE, GASX, PXJ, RYE, FENY, UPW, RYU, FUTY, FXN, FXU, DDG, SDP
Mon, Jun. 2, 7:27 PM
- Representatives of the coal and utility industries criticized proposed new U.S. emissions rules for power plants, but WSJ reports that some were relieved the outcome wasn't worse.
- The industries had been hoping the EPA would apply emission reduction standards from a baseline of 2005, and they feared the EPA draft would use a more recent, and thus tougher-to-meet baseline, but the Obama administration decided on 2005 after all.
- Coal-fired power plants won't have much difficulty meeting the EPA's mandate for a 30% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030, an industry lobbyist says, since carbon emissions from coal plants have dropped 14% since 2005 (also).
- However, coal companies and electric plants remain concerned about an earlier deadline to reduce emissions 25% by 2020; other big consumers of power, such as steel mills, say they too could have a tough time with the new rules.
- ETFs: XLE, XLU, TAN, ERX, KOL, IDU, VDE, OIH, ERY, FCG, VPU, DIG, KWT, GASL, DUG, SLX, IYE, GASX, PXJ, FENY, RYE, UPW, FUTY, RYU, FXN, FXU, DDG, SDP
Thu, May. 29, 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%).
Wed, May. 21, 11:36 AM
- Though Trina's Q1 module shipments were only in-line with the company's revised guidance, it's expecting Q2 shipments will rise 70%-81% Q/Q.
- Volatile solar stocks are responding well (TAN +3.8%) to Trina's outlook, which follows a more subdued Q2 growth forecast from Canadian Solar (CSIQ +3.6%) last Friday, and comes amid general concerns about Chinese growth.
- Notable gainers (besides Trina): CSUN +14.1%. SOL +8.7%. JKS +6.6%. YGE +5.9%. DQ +5.7%. JASO +4.9%. ASTI +6.8%. ENPH +3.9%. SUNE +2.7%.
- NPD Solarbuzz recently noted the world's top-20 module suppliers are collectively forecasting 30%+ 2014 shipment growth. The firm added the outlooks imply 2014 end-market demand will be near 50GW.
Thu, May. 15, 2:43 PM
- Chinese solar demand fell to just 1GW in Q1 from 6GW in seasonally strong Q4, writes Deutsche, which was upbeat about local solar activity at the start of the year.
- Deutsche believes Q2 installations will be in a 3GW-4GW range, and (following talks with Chinese solar firms) and thinks 2GW is a more realistic target for 2014 Chinese distributed solar installations than the government's 8GW target. A 14GW target has been set for total installations (8GW distributed, 6GW utility)
- The Deutsche report comes a couple days after Bloomberg reported the Indian government has deemed foreign solar firms (inc. U.S. and Chinese companies) guilty of dumping products, a move that raises the possibility of tariffs. Though still much smaller than China's solar market, the Indian market has been growing quickly.
- Solar stocks (TAN -3.6%) are underperforming amid a market selloff. Notable decliners: JKS -7.5%. SCTY -6.1%. TSL -5.4%. CSIQ -5.3%. YGE -4.9%. CSUN -4.7%.
- Daqo (DQ -9.8%) is especially hard-hit after pricing its 2M-share secondary offering (previous) at $29.
Wed, May. 7, 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%.
Mon, Apr. 28, 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%.
Tue, Apr. 15, 1:49 PM
- While broader equity markets are only seeing modest declines, tech stocks aren't so lucky. The Nasdaq-100 (QQQ -0.8%) had its lowest print since October this morning before recovering slightly.
- Chinese tech stocks (KWEB -4.3%), including 2013 solar high-flyers (TAN -4.2%), are especially hard-hit following a Shanghai selloff triggered by PBOC withdrawals. Other Internet (PNQI -2.3%) and social media (SOCL -2%) stocks aren't faring much better.
- Will earnings season come to the rescue? Intel and Yahoo report after the bell today, and Google and IBM after the bell tomorrow.
- Tech ETFs: XLK, VGT, FDN, ROBO, SOXL, SKYY, TECL, USD, SMH, IPK, IYW, ROM, TDIV, SOXS, SOXX, KWT, TECS, XSD, IXN, IGV, FTEC, RYT, IGM, PXN, QTEC, PSCT, FXL, IGN, PSI, SSG, MTK, REW, PXQ, XSW, FONE, PSJ, AAIT, PTF, CQQQ, QQQC
- Update: Tech stocks rallied in the final hours of trading. The Nasdaq closed up 0.3%.
Fri, Apr. 11, 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
Mon, Mar. 10, 3:57 PM
- Chinese Internet and solar names, many of them among the standouts of the 2013/2014 tech rally, are heading into the close with steep losses after the Chinese government reported exports fell 18.1% Y/Y in February (much worse than expected).
- Internet decliners: WUBA -10.7%. YOKU -7.3%. ATHM -7.2%. QUNR -6.4%. NQ -6%. RENN -5.2%. CTRP -5.2%. YY -4.4%. WBAI -4.4%. KONG -5.5%.
- Solar decliners: JKS -6.3%. YGE -5.8%. TSL -6.7%. CSUN -4.9%. CSIQ -4.5%. DQ -4.2%. HSOL -4.5%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Wed, Mar. 5, 8:29 AM
- Canadian Solar (CSIQ) -5.4% premarket after swinging to a Q4 profit but warning of weather-related effects on its top line in the current quarter.
- Q4 solar module shipments totaled 621 MW, up 30% Q/Q and 54% Y/Y.
- Issues downside guidance for Q1, seeing revenue of $415M-$430M vs. $545M analyst consensus estimates and solar module shipments of 470-490 MW, caused by severe winter in North America which delayed construction and recognition of ~$100M in revenue from some utility-scale projects in Canada.
- Expects FY 2014 shipments of 2.5-2.7 GW with revenue of $2.7B-$2.9B, in line with analysts' views, as project revenue recognition is back-end loaded.
- Sales have shifted strongly to Asia and the Americas: In Q4, the Asia region accounted for 62% of sales vs. 39% in the year-ago period, the Americas totaled 32% vs. 20%, and Europe accounted for 5.5% vs. 41% a year ago.
- ETFs: TAN, KWT.
Tue, Mar. 4, 1:34 PM
- With the help of positive earnings news from Trina and Yingli, volatile solar stocks are among the standouts (TAN +6%) on a very good day for equities.
- Trina posted mixed Q4 results, but also issued a strong 2014 module shipment forecast. Yingli has pre-announced its Q4 module shipments will be soundly above prior guidance.
- Notable gainers: SPWR +8.6%. JASO +8%. CSUN +6.6%. CSIQ +7.3%. STRI +10.1%. DQ +8.4%. SOL +6%.
- SunEdison (SUNE +10.5%) is taking off with the help of a Morgan Stanley upgrade. Analyst Timothy Radcliff thinks the commercial-scale solar market could grow to 129GW by 2018, with a rush of activity prior to a 2017 federal tax credit cut. He also thinks SunEdison's solar project yieldco spinoff could sport a $1.6B valuation within 12-18 months, and notes such instruments "trade at premium valuations given [their] predictable and growing cash flows."
- JinkoSolar (JKS +14.8%) is more than recouping yesterday's post-earnings losses with the help of positive commentary. Roth (Buy) notes Jinko's 2014 module guidance of 2.3GW-2.5GW beat the firm's 2.1GW estimate, and thinks Jinko is the first Chinese company to see its non-silicon processing costs drop below $0.40/watt.
Wed, Feb. 26, 12:14 PM
- With 17 of the 20 analysts covering First Solar (FSLR -11.5%) holding neutral or bearish stances going into the company's Q4 report, little sympathy is being shown in response to a big Q4 miss and soft Q1 guidance.
- Goldman (Sell, PT lowered to $42 from $45) continues to see a "lack of upside in First Solar's utility-scale model." The firm points to checks showing a "challenging U.S. growth outlook for large-scale utility projects," mixed performance in emerging markets, and the lack of a near-term yieldco spinoff/IPO for First Solar's solar projects (SunEdison recently filed for one).
- Goldman also thinks First Solar's ability to hit a 1:1 book-to-bill at the end of 2013 was accompanied by a mix shift towards lower-margin module orders.
- Morgan Stanley is pleased with First Solar's cost-cutting moves, but also thinks investors are counting on "a large degree of profitable international growth," which it considers "highly uncertain." Cowen expects gross margin to be down 450 bps Q/Q, but also notes Q1 guidance "may not be indicative of full-year results."
- In spite of First Solar, peers are turning in a strong day (TAN +4.1%). The Street's positive response to SunEdison's Capital Markets Day could be helping.
- Notable gainers: SCTY +6.6%. CSIQ +8.4%. DQ +6.9%. JKS +4.2%. JASO +3.5%. ENPH +4.1%.
Tue, Feb. 18, 4:03 PM
- On a good day for many tech momentum plays, solar and Chinese Internet stocks led the way.
- Solar names could be benefiting from Chinese government remarks suggesting Beijing remains open to trade talks to end its ongoing solar import dispute with the U.S. The comments come after the ITC added Chinese solar panels made with Taiwanese cells to its list of Chinese panels covered by import duties.
- Also: SunEdison (SUNE +6.6%) has filed for an IPO for its solar project business, a move that could entice other companies with major solar project ops to do the same.
- Solar gainers: FSLR +6.9%. SCTY +8%. JASO +12.6%. DQ +9.2%. CSUN +8.1%. YGE +5.5%. JKS +5.3%.
- Chinese Web gainers: CTRP +11.5%. CCIH +16.8%. RENN +11%. YOKU +6.1%. QIHU +6.9%. WUBA +10.6%. WBAI +7.9%. GOMO +9.1%. SOHU +5.6%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
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