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First Solar: Seeing Light At The End Of The Tunnel

Aug. 01, 2022 10:11 AM ETFirst Solar, Inc. (FSLR)ENPH, SEDG39 Comments
Alpha Compounder profile picture
Alpha Compounder


  • In general, companies in the business of providing renewable energy solutions are expected to benefit from the tailwind of rising global demands.
  • First Solar is expected to benefit from the "Inflation Reduction Act" but so are its competitors.
  • Overall, First Solar may not be the best investment choice when compared to its larger competitors.

Light at the end of the tunnel


Investment Thesis

First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) is negatively affected by the global headwinds of inflation and the armed conflict in Ukraine that disrupt supply chains and accentuate an already rising global inflation.

In the long run, it is expected to benefit

This article was written by

Alpha Compounder profile picture
An Individual retail investor who primarily invests in companies with proven profitability. Occasional interest in smaller loss-making companies that have exceptional growth potential.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no stock, option or similar derivative position in any of the companies mentioned, and no plans to initiate any such positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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Comments (39)

brettze profile picture
The wealthy typically choose Sunpower panels as they are highest in efficiency. this is great!!
many rooftops use Chinese panels..
brettze profile picture
most wealthy people buy rooftops simply becaue they pay more for every kilowatt hour than most ordinary Americans do. Wealthy peoplle are high mainteance types with high consumption that reflects in their utitliy bills . they pay more , actually ! So they see rooftops as sensible despite very high costs per watt to put on rooftops as compared to community solar programs that are now serving the lower incomes.. Actually community solar is for everybone , but you know how snobs goes.. thoe snobs want tax credits and bigger savings on their utility bills .. It is the utitlites that get screwed . This is the reason utilties are not willing to buy back electricity from rooftops.
Liberals stack the costs against utilities before utilties knew what hit them.
If you want an expensive rooftop, fine, here is $100 tax credit for you tops.
All our focus onrenewable energy should go to community solar and utiiltiy scale solar farms alone..
along with wind farms of course.
The wealthy can install their own wind turbine for all I care but no tax credit!
But ENPH and SEDG are not direct competitors to FSLR so not sure why the article makes the comparison. FSLR directly competes with other solar panel makers of which 90% are made by Chinese companies like CSIQ, JKS, Longi or Trina.
@kukukki 100% agree. Definitely not a comparison to ENPH or SEDG
brettze profile picture
@kukukki Yet you think it is ok to depend on China for 95% of your solar panels and with Enphase/Solaredge riding on it.
Chinese solar panels are not recyclable at all. and microinverters are not going to be replaced in most panels as owners will ignore them as broken forever.. too expensive to replace them one byh one on each panel with too many trips by repairmen.
First Solar doesnt use microinverters ...
you will see a movement away from rooftops toward community solar projects .. where microinverters will no longer be used.
I roll my eyes up when I see Enphase/solaredge stocks keep climbing.. They are useless junk1
brettze profile picture
Exxon at $10 a share ahead! Bankrupted!
Dividends stopped!
brettze profile picture
Renewable energy growth will continue to be severely constricted by limited copper supplies.. We are activel managing copper supplies to free up as much copper as possible for copper intensive renewable energy growth with limted success. We contniue to block copper mines ,etc.. China will start buying copper away from us.. and use them to grow their own renewable energy growth for themselves . they will pay any price for copper because of cheap labor /slave labor that can be usd to offset rising copper prices..
FSLR probably can do well to buy copper futures to help offset costs somehow.
FSLR is managing on too low prices for their solar panels made worse with continued Chinese panel dumpings. Biden extending to China is a bad thing for FSLR for next two years through no fault of his.. I can udnerstand Biden's stance but he still delay things we need to do right now.
Those who use Chinese solar panels mostly for rooftop solar installations are not true renewable energy workers.. they are wolves in oil fleeces..
this pretty sum up things !
Biden was fooled.
or suckered!
unless he is not an adovcate for reenwable energy and climate change ..
he can say anything to please anybody but not me. I am not fooled..
I sold FSLR and bought XOM!
with closed nose..
Good substantive article. Your take may be why Goldman Sachs reiterated their sell rating today. Their stock price objective is around $60.
Are you serious? You are comparing the finances of a company that makes DC to AC inverters (Enphase) to a company that makes solar panels (First Solar). Like they are in the same business?
Turre profile picture
@xanadu99 Yes, It's a total nonsense article. There should be some minimum quality standards that you have to reach to submit and article to Seeking Alpha.
WealthWise.dca profile picture
@xanadu99 +1 comparing apples to oranges
brettze profile picture
@xanadu99 Enphase and Solaredge are the real reasonwhy FSLR stockprice is going nowhere.. Wall Street pick Enphase over FSLR for obvius reasons that is to slow down renewable energy!
FSLR could ahve produced several times as many panels by now ..
We still need more copper mine openings to conitinue renewable energy growth which Wall Street is still having none of this.
Everybody is blocking renewable energy from almost every angle unseen!
Saries profile picture
Sometimes you can learn more from the comments than the author. Such is the case. I truly wish that SeekingAlpha had an unfollow or block author button.
Beware, this author is not very well versed in this field. The most important takeaway from this entire article is:
"Moreover, a specific part of the "Inflation Reduction Act" that FSLR is widely expected to benefit from may not even be implemented into law eventually given the common occurrence of gridlock in the U.S. government."

We should know soon if this becomes law or not. There is likely well more than $10 billion on the bill for FSLR
brettze profile picture
The bigger competitors depend entierly on Chinese solar panel "dumping" that Wall Street doesnt not care about at all. China is poised to produce 95% of the world solar panels and all of them are not recylable .. most of them will be recycled into glass mixed with silver that nobody wants.. First Solar recyles own solar panels from own customers DIRECTLY!! and PREPAID!!!
Actually First Soalr is competiing wiht China with prepaid recycling .. while China offers none.
we will be all up to our eyes in old solar panels nbody wants.
Wall Street doesnt care about what happens a few years down the road.. they only cares about this quarter ..
I ask you whehter Wall Street is a good judge of stock valuation?
Turre profile picture
To start with, why don’t you compare First Solar against other solar panel manufacturers? Comparing it with inverter manufacturers is like comparing BMW to Makita.
George Wind profile picture
@Turre very well said.

Most often these FSLR articles skillfully avoid the direct comparison with the Korean and Chinese solar panel manufacturers because the FSLR thin film technology's (barely 18%) efficiency is now so far behind the efficiency of LONGI, Trina, Jinko, JA Solar, Jolywood, Seraphim etc, etc that is not even funny.
These Chinese solar giants already sport 22% efficiency for their panels.
Most of them have already been also available in a bifacial implementation (for no or little extra cost) for the last several years.
The bifacial feature increases the "efficiency super advantage" of the LONGI, Trina, JKS even farther.

No wonder FSLR never participates in any large solar panel GigaWatt auctions in the Middle East, S.America or EU.
But FSLR sales in US are piece of cake. FSLR has been enjoying a massive monopoly in the US since Obama administration issued the anti-Chinese tariffs.

Yet the management just lowered their 2022 year net profit guidance to (25c) min and 25c max.
So likely FSLR will (according to the management) barely break even in 2022. Why is that??

There were so many prognostication over the last 5 years that FSLR will make a "killing" and their Series-6 will take over the industry.
Instead FSLR efficiency stagnated at 18% ( versus 22%) and their panel Wattage stagnated correspondingly at 460 W (best bin) versus Chinese 650 to 750 W.

I am sorry if this will perhaps upset the author ( @Alpha Compounder ) and/or some exuberant FSLR optimists, but these are the facts. Not the only facts, but very important ones.
brettze profile picture
@George Wind First Solar panels are SAME as the rest because he former start generating electricity much eariler in the day and keep generating much later into the afternoon due to its wider peripheral like absorption while crystalline is narrower . This mean yo need axis tracking costs added that makes it more expensive .
First Solar is still continuing to improve efficiency now at 21 or so in the labs..
you cannot recycle crystalline unless you can use the glass that is molten out of it for your craftwork as hobby if you want. it is expensive to recover usable materilas out of crystalline not First Solar which is 90% recoverable and far cheaper,.
you prepaid for the recycling service when you order FSLR panels ..
you dont know who will accept your crystaline and not mention charging you for it.
those who choose crystalline is heading for a big mess
in the future.
we will likely ship them out to the Third World nations as secondhand panels with half of the efficiency remaining.
brettze profile picture
@George Wind the biggest reason First solar got behind is that we dont know how to look and find suitable land for construction. Recently we "discovered" landfills, closed mines, brownfields all over and we are now cataloguiing them all for any utilty scale solar developers to pore over and apply for permitting. Polticians had been listening to snake oil experts on solar energy.. who are not even interested in maximizing renewable energy growth at all.
Polticians dont have time to ask specific questions or well informed questionis to experts to see how really honest those experts were.
Democracy is stilll run by experts who steers polticans.
Politicans do not need as many security agents with them while talking with experts as they do with common people with more insights than the experts themselves.. Polticians never dine and wine with common people but alwasy do with experts..
those uppity nosed high brow quipps.
"It faces competitors from other bigger players like Enphase Energy, Inc. (ENPH), and SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. (SEDG) by market capitalization."

ENPH and SEDG do not make solar panels and do not compete with FSLR.
Just because they are all in the solar industry does not make them competitors.

FSLR is also not in the residential solar market, like ENPH and SEDG.
@jollyc Good heavens, why would someone who doesn't know that ENPH and SEDG don't make the same stuff as FSLR write an article as an authority? Not to mention the author doesn't seem to know the difference between headwinds and tailwinds.
brettze profile picture
@vince.slupski he has no depth at all. he moves from industry to industry with 15 minute attention spans. Like Jim Cramer, you know?
You didn’t write about the most important thing - how will gov freebies affect profit.
brettze profile picture
@Sound Investments Why shoud Intel spend on new fabs all by itself while it can always go to TSMC or SAmsung to make chips for Intel. Intel doesnt really need fabs and Wall Street seems to agree. what si the point or WTF?! Intel offered to build more fabs if it can get some help .. it has nothing or little to do with profits.. AMD can join with own fab buildings.. but choose not to. this is their decision. Everyone is now talking with Intel about chip manufacturing at Intel IFS.. Mediatek is the first chip designer to sign agreement with Intel IFS.. you can look for more to come .. Qualcomm is also expected.. even Nvida.. maybe AMD and Apple!
Everyone keeps yapping that Intel cannot make chips anymore which is not true.
Wall Street is lying al the times.
srivaud profile picture
I too think the street has taken an overly pessimistic view on Intel, I think the depth of their material science will make itself be felt over the next 3-5 years.
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