Tue, Feb. 24, 1:16 PM
- SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) states in its Q4 earnings slides (.pdf) its planned solar project YieldCo with First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) will be a 50/50 JV, and promises it will lower the companies' cost of capital and improve their financing options for solar projects.
- Meanwhile, Deutsche's Vishal Shah (a long-time solar bull) has upgraded First Solar to Buy ahead of this afternoon's Q4 report, and declares the YieldCo could be "one of the best growth stories out there."
- Under "conservative assumptions," he sees SunPower and First Solar respectively having 640MW and 755MW of projects they can contribute, resulting in an equity value of $2.8B. Assuming an 85% payout ratio, Shah sees the YieldCo providing a 5% dividend yield. He adds the companies could each contribute another ~1.5GW of projects (via their pipelines) by the end of 2016.
- Raymond James' Pavel Molchanov compares the alliance to a Duke/UNC or Coke/Pepsi partnership. "By joining forces, First Solar and SunPower can create an asset base that is even larger ... With the S-1 set to be filed in 1Q, we see no reason why the IPO couldn’t take place in 2015."
- The YieldCo news is easily overshadowing SunPower's light Q1 guidance: Revenue of $410M-$460M and EPS of $0.05-$0.15 vs. a consensus of $544.7M and $0.25. Though the company says its "business fundamentals for 2015 remain strong," it's withdrawing its full-year guidance until YieldCo plans are finalized.
- SunPower recognized revenue on 293MW of solar systems in Q4, a little below guidance of 300MW-340MW. It expects to recognize 240MW-270MW in seasonally weak Q1. Q4 gross margin was 20.4%, +370 bps Q/Q and flat Y/Y. Q1 GM guidance is at 18%-20%.
Tue, Feb. 24, 12:45 PM
Tue, Feb. 24, 9:16 AM
Tue, Feb. 24, 8:02 AM
Mon, Feb. 23, 5:37 PM
Mon, Feb. 23, 4:41 PM
- First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) and SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) "are in advanced negotiations to form a joint YieldCo vehicle (the YieldCo) to which they each expect to contribute a portfolio of selected solar generation assets from their existing portfolio of assets."
- After reaching a deal, the companies plan to do an IPO for the YieldCo. Investors in both companies have been urging them to follow SunEdison's lead in launching solar project YieldCos; each had been non-committal until now.
- FSLR +9.7% AH to $54.44. SPWR +11.5% to $31.00. SunPower's Q4 report arrives tomorrow morning; First Solar reports after tomorrow's close.
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.
Tue, Jan. 27, 5:35 PM
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%.
Thu, Jan. 15, 2:56 PM
- Yesterday's oil rally has proven short-lived: WTI crude is down $1.90 today to $46.58. With equities going in the same direction, solar stocks (TAN -3%) are having another rough day.
- SolarCity (SCTY -3.9%) and SunEdison (SUNE -6.9%) are also contending with target cuts from Canaccord's Josh Baribeau (to $64 and $26, respectively), who nonetheless maintains Buy ratings. "We are choosing to get slightly less aggressive on the riskier high-multiple names in the solar group as a result of growing macro uncertainty and business model changes in 2015."
- However, Baribeau "[remains] confident in SolarCity's momentum," and expects the company to generate "significant value" from its contracted assets in time. Q4 supply chain talks indicate U.S. residential solar demand remains "very strong."
- Regarding SunEdison, he's worried the company is "taking on a greater amount of execution and capital risk following announcements of potential manufacturing capacity and international joint ventures." But he still considers it "the world's leading renewable project developer, with a track record of executing."
- Fellow U.S. solar firms SunPower (SPWR -7%) and Vivint Solar (VSLR -7.6%) are also off sharply. Other industry names are seeing more modest declines, but still generally underperforming the Nasdaq.
Tue, Jan. 13, 9:52 AM
- Citing its recent selloff - shares have fallen 37% over the last four months - Credit Suisse's Patrick Jobin has upgraded SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) to Outperform, while keeping his $37 target intact.
- Though believing Japanese solar policy changes and low oil prices act as headwinds, Jobin notes SunPower has less than 15% revenue exposure to Japan, and that oil only accounts for 1.5% of all electricity production in key markets.
- Last week, Deutsche called SunPower one of its top solar picks, while generally pounding the table for the industry.
Thu, Jan. 8, 1:15 PM
- Deutsche's Vishal Shah, bullish on solar for a long time, asserts the "recent volatility in solar stocks, driven largely by oil price weakness, presents an attractive entry point for investors as we expect 2015 to be a year of stable industry pricing and accelerating volume growth."
- Shah expects solar to see a "balanced supply/demand outlook as strong demand from the US and improving demand from China/other emerging solar markets offsets any potential demand weakness in the UK/Japan."
- He observes oil accounts for just ~5% of global electricity output, and sees both solar project pipelines/margins and module margins rising in 2015. Tariffs against Chinese module vendors are expected to be "completely removed."
- His top picks are SolarCity (SCTY +3.3%), SunEdison (SUNE +4.1%), SunPower (SPWR +6.1%), and Vivint (VSLR +0.3%); the first three are faring quite well today. Yingli (YGE +0.2%), however, has been downgraded to Hold due to balance sheet and financial flexibility concerns.
- Other major gainers: FSLR +3.9%. JKS +6%. ENPH +5.4%. CSIQ +3.7%. RGSE +5.2%. TERP +3.2%.
- SunEdison announced today it has bought new wind turbines that will allow it to build up to 1.6GW of wind projects that qualify for U.S. tax credits. The purchase follows the company's $2.4B deal to buy project developer First Wind.
- ETFs: TAN, KWT
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.
Mon, Jan. 5, 1:18 PM
- WTI crude is down by $2.36 to $50.33/barrel, and briefly fell below $50/barrel for the first time since '09. Brent crude is down $3.18 to $53.24/barrel. Solar stocks, no stranger to getting hit hard by crude's decline, are seeing more pain (TAN -2.1%).
- U.S. solar firms First Solar (FSLR -5.5%), SolarCity (SCTY -5.9%), SunPower (SPWR -4.6%), SunEdison (SUNE -6%), and TerraForm (TERP -4.4%) are especially hard-hit. But other names are also underperforming: CSIQ -3.6%. DQ -5.1%. CSUN -4.2%. JKS -2.8%. SOL -3.5%. The S&P is down 1.8%.
- A reminder: Oil accounts for only ~1% of U.S. electricity production, and transmission/distribution costs often have a bigger impact on electricity prices than energy input costs.
- Industry news: 1) Canadian Solar has completed selling two 10MW Ontario plants to renewable energy investment firm RET. 2) Hanwha (HSOL +0.9%) has struck a deal to supply 80MW of modules for a Chilean solar plant. 3) China Sunergy has won a 30MW solar module contract from an Indian solar park builder.
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