Yesterday, 5:40 PM
Tue, Aug. 25, 12:34 PM
- The Nasdaq is up 3.4% - a Chinese rate cut is helping - and solar stocks are among the day's standouts. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN +7.4%) is now up 14% from a Monday morning low of $25.51, albeit still down 13% from where it traded going into last week.
- Today's gains come after Pres. Obama announced several new incentives meant to boost solar investment. Among them: $1B in additional loan guarantee authority for distributed energy projects, the unlocking of Property-Assessed Clean Energy (PACE) financing for solar installations involving single-family homes, and the creation of a HUD/DOE program to give homeowners "a simple way to measure and improve the energy efficiency of their homes, by increasing homeowners' borrowing power."
- The announcement follows the White House's early-August unveiling of its Clean Power Plan, which aims to cut carbon emissions by 32% by 2030, relative to 2005 levels. Solar still only accounts for less than 1% of U.S. electricity output; renewable sources collectively account for 13%, with hydro responsible for half of the total and wind about a third.
- It also follows the launch of Google's Project Sunroof, which (with the help of satellite imagery) provides would-be home solar installers with advise on installation size and financing options, among other things.
- Major gainers include First Solar (FSLR +8.4%), JinkoSolar (JKS +27.1%), Trina (TSL +17.2%), Canadian Solar (CSIQ +13.2%), SunPower (SPWR +6.6%), JA Solar (JASO +10.6%), China Sunergy (CSUN +12.3%), Yingli (YGE +7.3%), SolarEdge (SEDG +6.9%), and Daqo (DQ +5.9%).
- Cowen has launched coverage on Canadian Solar with an Outperform rating and $28.50 target. Meanwhile, First Solar thin-film module rival TSMC announced today it's shuttering its solar manufacturing ops, while citing a lack of scale/competitiveness.
Mon, Aug. 24, 12:45 PM
- Off nearly 9% in early trading, the Nasdaq is now down just 0.4%. Along the way, many tech names have not only erased their early losses, but are now posting major gains.
- Standouts include Micron (MU +5.3%), Skyworks (SWKS +6.7%), GoPro (GPRO +4.1%), Cree (CREE +6.7%), SunPower (SPWR +6.1%), Mobileye (MBLY +5.1%), Amkor (AMKR +9.1%), ExOne (XONE +4.7%), NXP (NXPI +3.7%), Yelp (YELP +4.3%), Cirrus Logic (CRUS +4.4%), and GoDaddy (GDDY +4.1%).
- See also: SolarCity, SunEdison
- Update (4:08PM ET): The Nasdaq went south again in afternoon trading, closeng down 3.8%. Skyworks, Cree, SunPower, Amkor, Mobileye, ExOne, and GoDaddy managed to stay in the green, while Micron, NXP, Yelp, GoPro, and Cirrus closed with modest losses.
Thu, Aug. 6, 12:00 PM
- North American solar plays SolarCity (SCTY -8.6%), SunPower (SPWR -5%), and Canadian Solar (CSIQ -5.1%) are seeing big losses after SunEdison (down 21%) posted mixed Q2 results - revenue beat, EPS missed - and reiterated its full-year system delivery guidance. The Nasdaq is down 1.7%.
- Vivint Solar (VSLR -5.9%), set to be acquired by SunEdison for a mixture of cash, stock, and convertible debt, is also off. So is inverter/power optimizer maker SolarEdge (SEDG -10.7%), which reports on Aug. 12.
- The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -5.1%) has more than given back the big Wednesday gains seen following First Solar's earnings.
Wed, Aug. 5, 2:01 PM
- Spurred by new rules for energy project auctions, SunPower (SPWR +3.7%) says it plans to have 1GW worth of Chilean solar capacity in 5 years. CEO Tom Werner: "To build such a big solar capacity, we will participate in the energy auctions processes. Chile has phenomenal sunshine, and the economic environment is favorable.”
- SunPower has already built a 70MW solar plant in Chile's Atacama Desert, and plans to start construction on a 100MW project in Central Chile later this year. The company is talking with banks to get financing, and plans to participate in a spring 2016 energy auction.
- The announcement comes 9 days after SunPower announced it's buying a 1.5GW U.S. solar project pipeline. Shares continue to join those of many solar peers in rallying in the wake of First Solar's Q2 report.
Tue, Aug. 4, 4:30 PM
- In addition to beating Q2 estimates, First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) is guiding for 2015 revenue of $3.5B-$3.6B and EPS of $3.30-$3.60, above a consensus of $3.44B and $2.36.
- As always, the company's quarterly/annual numbers depend a lot on the timing of revenue recognition for solar project sales. Q2 growth is attributed to "increased revenue recognition on the Silver State South project and the sale of majority interests in the North Star and Lost Hills-Blackwell projects."
- Bookings/pipeline: Q2 project bookings totaled 537MW, bringing the YTD total to 1.4GW. Expected future module shipments fell by 100MW Q/Q to 3.8GW, and expected future systems/module revenue by $600M to $7B. However, potential bookings opportunities rose by 2.7GW to 16.7GW (primarily early-stage).
- Module production: Output rose 4% Q/Q and 26% Y/Y to 563MW. Capacity utilization was 85% vs. 87% in Q1 and 80% a year ago. Average conversion efficiency rose 70 bps Q/Q and 140 bps Y/Y to 15.4%, with a best-line efficiency of 16.2%.
- Financials: Gross margin (affected by deal timings) rose to 18.4% from 8.3% in Q1 and 17% a year ago; Q3 GM guidance is at 21%-22%. R&D spend fell 10% Y/Y to $30M; SG&A rose 23% to $71M. Free cash flow was -$47.3M. First Solar ended Q2 with $1.78B in cash/investments, and $300M in long-term debt.
- First Solar has jumped to $49.29 AH. SunEdison (NYSE:SUNE) is up 2.8% to $23.07, and SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) up 1.9% to $27.23. SunEdison reports on Thursday.
- First Solar's Q2 results, PR, slides (.pdf)
Tue, Jul. 28, 6:38 PM
- Though SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) missed Q2 sales estimates (while slightly beating on EPS), the company forecasts 2015 revenue of $2.4B-$2.6B and EPS of $1.50-$1.80, above a consensus of $2.2B and $1.00.
- In addition, full-year EBITDA guidance has been hiked by $25M to $425M-$475M, and ~20% 2016 EBITDA growth is forecast.
- Q3 revenue guidance of $400M-$450M is below a $640.9M consensus. SunPower notes the forecast reflects the impact of its HoldCo strategy, through which it's retaining/operating certain solar project assets rather than selling them and recognizing the revenue, as well as deferrals due to real estate accounting.
- Top-line figures: SunPower recognized revenue on 194MW of solar sales, down from 219MW in Q1 and 312MW a year ago - 90MW were from solar plants, 39MW from commercial sales, and 65MW from residential sales. Power plants accounted for 43% of revenue, residential 40%, and commercial 17%.
- Metrics: MW deployed totaled 315MW (much higher than the recognized 194MW) vs. 266MW in Q1 and 316MW a year ago. Q3 and full-year deployment guidance is respectively at 300MW-330MW and 1.25GW-1.3GW, and SunPower expects a 30% deployment CAGR from 2015-2019. 340MW of solar cells were produced, up from 319MW in Q1 and 311MW a year ago. The global project pipeline is above 12GW.
- Financials: Gross margin (non-GAAP) fell to 17.6% from 20.5 in Q1 and 19.5% a year ago. GAAP operating expenses rose 2% Y/Y to $103.8M. SunPower ended Q2 with $694M in cash, $12M in short-term debt, $225M in long-term debt, and $694M in convertible debt.
- Shares have risen to $26.30 AH.
- Q2 results, PR, slides (.pdf), datasheet (.pdf)
Tue, Jul. 28, 4:14 PM
Tue, Jul. 14, 5:39 PM
Tue, Jul. 14, 12:42 PM
- Goldman and JPMorgan have respectively resumed coverage on SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) with Buy and Overweight ratings. Peer/YieldCo partner First Solar is down slightly after being started at Neutral by Goldman and Overweight by JPMorgan.
- The launches come with SunPower having fallen 19% from a June peak of $33.25 going into today, thanks to a broader solar stock selloff.
Mon, Jun. 29, 11:39 AM
- Solar stocks are among the top decliners on a morning the Nasdaq is down 1.4%, thanks to a global selloff in equities triggered by Greek news. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN -4.1%) is now down 21% from an April peak of $50.00; it's still up 16% YTD, after having tumbled in 2H14.
- Major decliners include U.S. firms SolarCity (SCTY -4.9%), First Solar (FSLR -4.3%), SunPower (SPWR -4.2%), SunEdison (SUNE -5.1%), Vivint (VSLR -7%), and RGS Energy (RGSE -8.2%), Chinese firms JinkoSolar (JKS -7.4%), Yingli (YGE -6.4%), China Sunergy (CSUN -8.3%), ReneSola (SOL -5.5%), and Trina (TSL -5.4%), and Israeli inverter/power optimizer maker SolarEdge (SEDG -5%).
- Some news: 1) SunEdison and its TerraForm Power YieldCo have closed their $350M acquisition of Atlantic Power's 521MW wind plant portfolio. 2) SolarCity, vita its homebuilder partner program, has launched new energy storage and fixed-rate solar electricity pricing options in California (easily its largest market). The electricity, provided via 20-year deals, is said to feature a cost "equivalent to the lowest standard residential electricity rates of California's largest utilities." 3) SolarEdge is partnering with system provider Andalay on a solution that allows SolarEdge's optimizers to be quickly integrated with Andalay's solar modules.
- Last Thursday: Home solar installer/electricity provider Sunrun files for IPO
- Update: Also possibly hurting the group: A Supreme Court ruling blocking EPA regulations meant to limit emissions from coal power plants. The court ruled regulations need to take costs into account.
Wed, Jun. 10, 1:21 PM
- First Solar (FSLR +2.2%) and SunPower's (SPWR +4.6%) 8point3 Energy solar project YieldCo is looking to sell 20M shares at $19-$21 under the symbol CAFD (known to YieldCo and REIT followers as shorthand for cash available for distribution). The IPO underwriters: Goldman, Citi, Deutsche, JPMorgan, HSBC, Baird, MUFG, Mizuho, CLSA, and HSBC. (prospectus)
- At the price range's midpoint, 8point 3 would be valued at $1.02B and reap gross proceeds of $400M; the latter figure rises to $460M if a 3M-share overallotment option is used. Net proceeds will be partly used to make a cash distribution to First Solar and SunPower.
- 8point3 plans to pay an initial quarterly distribution of $0.2097/share; that spells a 4.2% yield at the price range's midpoint. As previously disclosed, 8point3 has an initial portfolio consisting of 432MW of U.S. projects. It also has a right of first offer for 1.14GW of projects owned by First Solar and SunPower, the lion's share of which are in the U.S.
- First Solar and (especially) SunPower are higher on a good day for markets in general, and solar stocks in particular.
Tue, May 19, 11:26 AM
- Solar stocks are selling off for the second day in a row (TAN -1.7%) as Yingli (YGE -42.4%) plunges into penny stock territory after disclosing in its 2014 annual report (filed after the close last Friday) its financial woes "raise substantial doubt about [its] ability to continue as a going concern."
- Decliners include Chinese firms JinkoSolar (JKS -3.3%), ReneSola (SOL -6.4%), Trina (TSL -4.8%), and China Sunergy (CSUN -6.5%), as well as China-exposed Canadian Solar (CSIQ -4.8%), which yesterday held its investor day (presentations can be found here).
- U.S. firms SunPower (SPWR -3%) and Enphase (ENPH -2.9%) are also off. Enphase's decline comes in spite of an upgrade to Strong Buy from Needham.
- Yingli CFO Wang Yiyu downplays his company's disclosure, which has sparked fears Yingli will be the next Suntech or LDK Solar. "Potential risks don’t mean they will happen and don’t mean Yingli is facing or will face such risks. They shouldn’t cause an overreaction.”
- Wolfe Research's Gordon Johnson (formerly with Axiom, bearish on solar for a long time) thinks Yingli's disclosure has "caused a lot of investors to overlook massive debts on the balance sheets of pretty much EVERY publicly traded Chinese solar company," and that a Yingli liquidation could affect credit access for peers.
- RBC's Mahesh Sanganeria, however, argues Yingli's problems are company-specific. "It is well understood by now that global solar demand is strong this year, as evidenced by a number of large contract signing announcements, active solar project development and acquisition, and positive company earnings." He does admit solar cell/module prices have been falling, but suggests this is partly due to lower costs, along with a weak yen/euro and lower polysilicon prices.
Thu, Apr. 30, 5:57 PM
- Though SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) insists its "underlying business fundamentals remain strong for 2015," the company is refraining from providing 2015 guidance "until the company can finalize the estimates regarding the impact" of its 8point3 Energy YieldCo JV with First Solar. The company has guided for 315MW-350MW of Q2 module deployments, and 200MW-230MW of module revenue recognition.
- No explanation is provided in SunPower's earnings release for its Q1 revenue miss - First Solar just cited (among other things) the retaining of projects for the YieldCo as a factor behind its Q1 miss.
- Revenue recognition timings led power plant revenue to fall 49% Y/Y to $226.2M. Commercial solar revenue fell 36% to $49.1M. Residential solar fell 6% to $155.3M.
- Gross margin (non-GAAP) was 20.5% vs. 20.4% in Q4 and 22% a year ago. 319MW of modules were produced vs. 313MW in Q4 and 306MW a year ago.
- Shares have fallen to $30.78 AH.
- Q1 results, PR, slides (.pdf), datasheet (.pdf)
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
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