Tue, May 5, 5:06 PM
- SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) installed 153MW of solar systems in Q1, +87% Y/Y and above guidance of 145MW. Installations are expected to rise to 180MW (+69% Y/Y) in Q2. Full-year guidance for 920MW-1GW of solar deployments (not the same as installations) is reiterated.
- Q2 revenue guidance of $86M-$92M ($70M-$74M for op. lease and system incentive revenue, and $16M-$18M for system and component sale revenue) is below a $96.8M consensus. EPS guidance of -$1.60 to -$1.70 is below a -$1.48 consensus.
- Q1 bookings totaled 237MW, +15% Q/Q and +74% Y/Y. 27.4K new customers were added, up from Q4's 21.3K and bringing the total count to 217.6K. Estimated contracted payments remaining rose by over $1.1B Q/Q to $6.11B, and retained value forecast by ~$250M to $2.7B.
- Cost/watt was $2.95, up 3% Q/Q (seasonality is blamed) but down 9% Y/Y. A record low cost/watt is expected in Q2; the company is still aiming for $2.50 by 2017. SolarCity ended Q1 with $576M in cash/short-term investments, $479M in long-term debt, $100M in solar bonds, $312M in solar asset-backed notes, and $796M in convertible debt.
- Shares have fallen to $57.90 AH.
- Q1 results, shareholder letter (.pdf), slides (.pdf)
Tue, May 5, 4:37 PM
Tue, May 5, 11:57 AM
- Ahead of this afternoon's Q1 report, SolarCity (SCTY -1%) has closed a $500M loan facility with BofA/Merrill, Credit Suisse, and Deutsche. The facility is expected to "finance more than 500 MW of solar power systems for homeowners, businesses and government organizations."
- SolarCity, never shy about raising funds, launched a $1B+ fund with Credit Suisse last month to finance commercial solar projects. The company ended 2014 with over $640M in cash/investments, $245M in long-term debt, $230M in convertible debt, and $53M in solar asset-backed notes.
- Shares are following the Nasdaq lower ahead of earnings. Baird downgraded to Neutral yesterday, citing regulatory concerns and the margin impact of solar deployment mix shifts. Deutsche (bullish for a long time) reiterated a Buy, arguing pending California electricity rate changes are a positive.
Fri, May 1, 9:36 AM
- As many expected, SolarCity (SCTY +0.7%) hasn't been left out as Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA) unveils a home/business/utility battery line: The company has launched a battery backup service for residential solar clients, a revamped energy storage system for business/government clients, and a new microgrid service for remote communities that feature Tesla's batteries.
- The residential backup service covers permitting, installation, and monitoring, and revolves around Tesla's Powerwall home battery. Stored solar energy is used to provide backup power during grid outages.
- The business/government solution pairs Tesla batteries with SolarCity's DemandLogic energy storage/software system to lower peak demand and provide backup during outages. The microgrid service adds the battery to SolarCity's GridLogic microgrid platform. It can work either with the grid or independently of it.
- SolarCity will begin taking orders for the services today; installation isn't expected to start until October. DemandLogic has been using Tesla battery packs since its late-2013 launch.
- A month ago: SolarCity moves higher as Musk promises new non-auto product
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
Wed, Apr. 22, 10:05 AM
- Continuing its aggressive financing pace, SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) has "activated a fund including an investment from Credit Suisse that is expected to finance more than $1 billion in commercial solar energy systems - including battery storage systems - for businesses, schools and government organizations across the U.S."
- SolarCity thinks the fund is the largest of its kind, and expects it to "finance more than 300 megawatts of new commercial solar projects over the next two years." It follows the January creation of a $200M facility with Credit Suisse to finance system purchases via SolarCity's MyPower residential loan program.
- SolarCity has also partnered with Goldman on financing deals over the last two years. Shares have risen to their highest levels since last November.
Thu, Apr. 9, 12:29 PM
- Believing "numerous catalysts" exist for the next 6-9 months, BofA/Merrill (Buy) is holding onto its $95 SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) target (71% above current levels).
- Among the potential catalysts: 1) Clarity on California's solar retail rates and net metering policies. 2) Improved booking/installation mix leading to better retained value. 3) The arrival of 2016 installation guidance (possibly in Q4). 4) The "emergence of a cash flow oriented view of [SolarCity's] operating systems."
- The firm values SolarCity's existing operating business at $40/share. It assigns a $55/share valuation to its solar development ops, which was forecast to deliver 15.4GW of installations from 2018-2024. BofA sees SolarCity ending 2016 with 3.1GW of cumulative leased installations that will respectively produce $355M and $200M in unlevered and levered cash flow.
- Also: Though admitting Arizona's policies are a setback - SolarCity has sued a local utility for placing ~$50/month in surcharges on new solar installations - BofA notes "constructive regulatory frameworks" have emerged elsewhere. SA author Simple Investment Ideas argued yesterday Arizona-like utility charges won't hold up long-term.
- Smaller rival Vivint (VSLR +3.2%) has joined SolarCity in rallying.
Mon, Mar. 30, 1:00 PM
- After initially trading lower today, SolarCity (SCTY +1.5%) has caught a bid from an Elon Musk tweet stating a "major new Tesla product line -- not a car" will be unveiled on April 30.
- Musk is the chairman of both SolarCity and Tesla. 15 months ago, the companies announced a backup energy storage solution for SolarCity solar installations that relies on Tesla battery packs. Tesla's gigafactory plans have fueled speculation the company could become a major battery supplier to third parties.
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.
Mon, Mar. 16, 7:20 AM
- SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) has unveiled GridLogic, a microgrid service that combines distributed solar, batteries and controllable loads to enable a cleaner and more affordable way of providing power when a grid is down.
- The microgrid service can operate either in conjunction with or independently of the utility grid.
Fri, Mar. 13, 12:50 AM
- SolarEdge (Pending:SEDG), an Israeli maker of power converters and related inverters for solar systems, has set a $16-$18 price range for its 7M-share IPO. That spells a valuation range of $610M-$686M. (prospectus)
- SolarEdge's systems replace traditional solar junction boxes with DC/DC converters (referred to by the company as power optimizers) attached to individual solar panels; the converters optimize power output by tracking each module's maximum power point. They also feature DC/AC inverters that are simpler and cheaper than traditional inverters (since power tracking and voltage management is handled by the power optimizers), and Web-based system monitoring software.
- The company had revenue of $140.3M (+141% Y/Y) during the six months ending Dec. 31, and net income of $5.9M. Shipped products went into 389MW of systems, up from 153MW a year earlier.
- SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) is SolarEdge's biggest client: The U.S. solar installer accounted for 32.3% of revenue during the aforementioned timeframe. Vivint Solar (NYSE:VSLR) is also a customer.
- Top microinverter maker Enphase (NASDAQ:ENPH) is a major rival. SolarEdge claims its systems are cheaper, more reliable, and offer better shade tolerance than microinverter-based systems (among other things).
Wed, Mar. 11, 12:37 PM
- Under a new reseller deal, DirecTV technicians visiting customer homes will be able to pitch homeowners on SolarCity's (SCTY +1.5%) solar installation/electricity services in every major market SolarCity operates in. A $400 rebate will be provided to homeowners who sign up for the deal between March 11-18.
- DirecTV has 20M+ U.S. customers. SolarCity's existing reseller partners include Best Buy, Home Depot, and fellow Elon Musk company Tesla.
Thu, Mar. 5, 1:46 PM
- SolarCity (SCTY +2.9%) has joined other solar stocks in rallying following Canadian Solar and Vivint Solar's Q4 reports. Vivint, a SolarCity rival, reported Q4 installations of 50MW above guidance of 45MW-47MW. SolarCity's Q4 deployments (slightly different from installations) totaled 176MW.
- Helping SolarCity's cause: VP Jimmu Chuang offered positive remarks at a Bloomberg conference about the idea of creating master limited partnerships (MLPs - publicly-traded entities for which only distribution payments are taxed) for solar assets.
- Chuang: "[In] this industry, we need a lot of help because the public policy is not as good. REIT is certainly one intriguing idea. MLP, to me, is more exciting because ... we need a lot of tax equity investment because that’s how the structures work." Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) plans to reintroduce a bill that would pave the way for solar MLPs.
- Yesterday: SolarCity expand to New Mexico, sues Arizona utility
Wed, Mar. 4, 5:43 PM
- SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) has made New Mexico the 16th state in which it operates: The company "plans to open a local solar operations center in Albuquerque this month and initially expects to hire 50 local employees in sales, installation and related roles."
- The company's MyPower solar loan program (12K+ customers nationally) will be offered to New Mexico homeowners. SolarCity states NM "will be the first place where SolarCity has launched solar service through MyPower exclusively."
- Meanwhile, in neighboring Arizona, SolarCity is suing utility Salt River Project (SRP - provides electricity to the Phoenix metro area) for allegedly engaging in "unlawful abuse of monopoly power" by placing distribution and demand charges on customers generating their own power.
- The charges, approved by SRP last Thursday, will add a ~$50/month fee starting in April to leased and owned solar systems installed after Dec. 8, when the plan was first floated. SolarCity claims applications have fallen 96% in SRP territory since Dec. 8; the company accounts for about half of the 15K solar customers in the region.
- SA author Casual Analyst recently argued the impact of SRP's charges is "likely to be devastating" for SolarCity, and that it may have contributed to the company's Q4 deployment miss.
Thu, Feb. 26, 9:20 AM
- Hungry as ever to add more project financing, SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) has created a $750M fund to finance residential solar projects in 14 states and Washington D.C. Google (NASDAQ:GOOG), which is no stranger to renewable investments, will be investing $300M in the fund.
- Google and SolarCity partnered on a $280M residential project fund back in 2011. SolarCity stated last week it had already lined up most of the financing it needed to hit a 2015 deployment target of 920MW-1GW.
- SolarCity has risen to $54.00 premarket.
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%.
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