Nov. 11, 2014, 12:15 PM
- Newly-public Vivint Solar (VSLR -21.6%) has nosedived after missing Q3 EPS estimates and guiding for Q4 revenue of $5.5M-$6.5M, below a $7.3M consensus. Installations are expected to fall to 45MW-47MW from Q3's 49MW.
- Rivals SolarCity (SCTY -3%) and SunPower (SPWR -3.2%) are following Vivint lower, as are several other solar names. RGSE -6.2%. ENPH -5.7%. CSIQ -2.5%. JKS -2.2%. DQ -4.1%. CSUN -2.7%.
- Solar ETFs: KWT, TAN
Nov. 10, 2014, 10:08 AM
- SunPower (SPWR +0.7%) plans to use SolarBridge's microinverters, which convert the DC power generated by solar panels into AC power, in tandem with its high-efficiency panels. Deal terms are undisclosed.
- Whereas traditional string inverters convert the power generated by a group of solar panels (often 10 or more), microinverters convert power for individual panels. The former solution is cheaper, while the latter is more reliable, enables quicker expansion, and makes it easier for individual panels to be performance-optimized.
- Enphase (ENPH -0.7%) currently has a dominant position in the U.S. microinverter market.
Nov. 7, 2014, 10:54 AM
- First Solar (FSLR -10.3%) has dived towards $50 after missing Q3 estimates (if one excludes a $0.26/share one-time tax benefit) and lowering its full-year revenue guidance. Also not helping: First Solar disclosed on its CC (transcript) it's not pursuing a solar project YieldCo at this time.
- Nonetheless, the company does think "the ownership and operation of whole or partial interest in select solar-generating assets does have a role as a component part of [First Solar's] overall business model," and says it "likely will begin providing greater visibility into our retained ownership interest by reporting it as a separate segment commencing in 2015."
- When asked by a Baird analyst about the YieldCo decision, CEO Jim Hughes admitted First Solar has "a note of caution about the overall market position as we exit 2016 and move into 2017." Several other analysts also pressed the company about the various factors (growth expectations, cost of capital, taxes, etc.) that went into its YieldCo decision.
- UBS (Neutral) has lowered its 2015 EPS estimate by $0.35 to $5.00, citing opex growth and the potential for First Solar to retain equity interests in projects (rather than fully selling them). "We believe the market for solar assets has become more competitive and that the arb opportunity has tightened."
- Needham (Buy) admits First Solar's approach to monetizing solar projects gives it more flexibility, but it also thinks "a yieldco would ultimately create more shareholder value." It's still a fan of the company's execution, and also likes its plans to increase module manufacturing capacity by up to 46% next year.
- SunPower (SPWR -1.7%), which will share details about its asset monetization plans at its Nov. 13 analyst day, is also lower.
Nov. 4, 2014, 3:49 PM
- SunPower's (SPWR -2.8%) plant will be based in Cape Town, and is expected to create up to 150 local jobs. Recruitment efforts for the plant start in Q1 2015.
- For reference, SunPower has produced over 1.2GW of solar cells over the last four quarters. It currently has manufacturing plants in North America, Europe, and Asia.
Oct. 31, 2014, 3:42 PM
- SunPower (SPWR +7.5%) is creating a JV with five Chinese firms to "develop and own at least three gigawatts of photovoltaic power plants."
- The plants will be based in Sichuan Province, rely on SunPower's LCPV modules, and begin deployment in 2015. SunPower is investing $20M to obtain a 4.6% stake in the JV.
- SunPower previously struck a Chinese JV deal in Dec. 2012. It has also built a 300MW solar cell receiver facility in the country.
- Shares are among the biggest gainers on a good day for solar stocks.
Oct. 29, 2014, 11:25 AM
- SunPower (SPWR -4.6%) expects Q4 revenue of $575M-$625M and EPS of $0.15-$0.30, mostly below a consensus of $653.4M and $0.30.
- The company recognized revenue on 323MW of solar sales in Q3 - that's up from 311MW in Q2 and 252MW a year ago, but below guidance of 325MW-360MW. It expects to recognize 300MW-340MW in Q4.
- Gross margin was 16.7%, down from 19.5% in Q2 and 19.1% a year ago, and slightly below a 17%-19% guidance range. Q4 GM guidance is at 19%-21%. GAAP opex rose 8% Y/Y to $85.9M.
- Americas revenue (79% of total revenue) +38% Y/Y to $559.3M; Asia-Pac +6% to $100.3M; EMEA -63% to $44.6M. North American residential bookings rose over 50% Q/Q; Japan drove Asia-Pac growth.
- Solar product sales -6% to $210M; solar systems +30% to $444M.
- 2015 guidance will be provided at SunPower's Nov. 13 analyst day, as will an "overview of the company's asset monetization strategy" (a HoldCo reference?).
- Q3 results, PR, slides, datasheet
Oct. 29, 2014, 8:02 AM
Oct. 28, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Oct. 13, 2014, 1:46 PM
- The odds of SunPower (SPWR -1.6%) announcing a solar project YieldCo next month are "better than 50/50," says Raymond James' Pavel Molchanov, who upgraded shares to Outperform this morning.
- Molchanov also thinks "there has been enough multiple compression over the past month" to put prior valuation concerns to rest. SunPower is down 33% from its June high of $42.07.
- JPMorgan also cited a potential YieldCo announcement as a reason for upgrading SunPower. To date, the company has been officially non-committal on doing a YieldCo.
- Shares have given back the early gains they saw on account of the upgrade. Q3 results arrive on Oct. 29.
Oct. 13, 2014, 9:07 AM
Oct. 10, 2014, 5:36 PM
Oct. 3, 2014, 9:26 AM
- JPMorgan has upgraded SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) to Overweight. The firm cites the recent selloff in shares, and the potential for a YieldCo announcement. Its target is $43.
- Shares were down 23% from a June high of $42.07 as of yesterday's close. Thus far, SunPower has said it's undecided on whether to follow SunEdison's footsteps and launch a solar project YieldCo.
Sep. 22, 2014, 1:45 PM
- High-beta tech stocks are selling off hard as the Nasdaq registers a 1.3% decline. The selling is broad-based, with Internet, solar, and enterprise tech stocks all well-represented among the ranks of major decliners.
- Major Internet decliners: BIDU -4.7%. ANGI -7%. YELP -5.9%. AWAY -5.1%. CHGG -5.9%. GRUB -5.8%. P -5.2%. Z -4.6%. TRLA -4.8%. ATHM -7.9%. BITA -7%. DANG -5.9%. WB -5.3%.
- Solar: FSLR -4.5%. SCTY -7.5%. SPWR -4.5%. DQ -7.6%. JKS -5.5%. ASTI -6.3%. ENPH -5.5%. CSIQ -4.8%.
- Enterprise: WDAY -5.4%. GIMO -6.7%. VMEM -7.7%. IMPV -4.8%. MKTO -4.9%. SPRT -5.1%. CSOD -5.5%.
- Others: HIMX -4.6%. SIGM -5.6%. WATT -9.7%. CYNI -5.3%. ADNC -5.7%. PXLW -5%. SWIR -5.8%. MITK -6%. OCLR -6%.
Sep. 12, 2014, 2:14 PM
- Solar stocks are on the move after Trina Solar (TSL +3.7%) CEO Gao Jifan says its factories are operating at full capacity but the company still can't meet the demand for its solar panels.
- China's top three solar panel makers are at full capacity and will have to expand their production, Gao says, noting that TSL's solar panel production will rise to 3.8 GW by year-end, up from ~3.4 GW at the end of June.
- China recently announced new subsidies for smaller solar energy projects, which Goldman Sachs says will make selling power to the country's electrical grid much more lucrative for the operators and will cause prices of solar components to rise.
- CSIQ +2.6%, CSUN +7.4%, YGE +3%, FSLR +1.7%, SPWR +0.8%, JASO +2.4%, SOL +5.4%.
- ETFs: TAN, KWT
Aug. 7, 2014, 10:05 AM
- SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE) recognized revenue from 54MW of solar systems in Q2, below guidance of 60MW-80MW. But it also retained 164MW on its balance sheet, better than guidance of 100MW-120MW.
- The company now expects to finish 1GW-1.15GW of solar systems in 2014, at the high end of prior guidance of 900MW-1.15GW. Revenue is expected to be recognized from 290MW-310MW (down from 460MW-580MW), and 710MW-830MW are expected to be retained (up from 440MW-570MW).
- In addition, SunEdison forecasts average 2014 project pricing of $2.50-$3.00/watt, better than prior guidance of $2.40-$2.75. That's providing a lift to EPS, which beat consensus by $0.40 in Q2.
- Solar project pipeline rose by 700MW Q/Q in Q2 to 4.3GW, and backlog by 100MW to 1.1GW. 475MW of the pipeline is under construction, up from 463MW at the end of Q1 and 200MW a year ago.
- Gross margin was 4.6% vs. 3.8% in Q1 and 5.9% a year ago. An aggressive construction pace led free cash flow to total -$80.2M. SunEdison ended Q2 with $954.7M in cash/equivalents, and $5.39B in debt. ~$3.5B of the debt is directly tied to solar systems financing.
- Peers SunPower (SPWR +4.2%) and SolarCity (SCTY +2.8%) are also rallying. SolarCity reports after the bell.
- Q2 results, PR
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%.
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