Posts Tagged ‘First Solar’

Solar Power: Sunshine’s Cloudy Days

Solar Power: Sunshine’s Cloudy Days

By Mark Halper, courtesy of TIME

AP, posted in TIME Mike Ahearn, chairman of the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels, had every reason to party in September. That’s when his company, First Solar, based in Tempe, Ariz., was picked by China to build what promises to be the world’s biggest solar-electricity plant: a Manhattan-size facility in Inner Mongolia providing 2 gigawatts of power, about twice the size of a large coal plant or average nuclear power station. But the Chinese facility will take years to build, and the party buzz subsided pretty quickly. The next month, Wall Street analysts downgraded First Solar’s stock after the company missed its third-quarter revenue target. "I think the Wall Street perspective is pretty short-term," says Ahearn.

That’s true, but it’s also true that, while photovoltaic cells that turn sunlight into electricity may play a potentially vital role in weaning the world from fossil fuels, a transition will take decades — and the business metrics surrounding the solar-power industry currently are anything but bright. After a period of rapid expansion, panel manufacturers today are reeling from a pronounced supply surplus, falling prices and stagnating sales. In 2009, industry revenue plunged by nearly 40% to about $25 billion from $40 billion the previous year, according to BankAmerica Merrill Lynch alternative-energy analyst Steven Milunovich. Solar-panel output far outstripped demand last year; manufacturers made 66% more product than they were able to sell, estimates research firm iSuppli located in El Segundo, Calif. Some analysts believe the dismal conditions will persist into 2011, setting up marginal players worldwide for failure. "A large number of manufacturers will not survive," says Paul Semenza, an analyst with research company DisplaySearch, based in San Jose, Calif.

The global glut has been building for a number of years as hundreds of solar cell and panel start-ups, attracted by a potential boom in alternative energy as oil prices climbed and by government solar-energy-subsidy programs, swarmed into the market. Because the industry’s barriers to entry are relatively low — crystalline solar cells are rudimentary semiconductors that are comparatively easy to make — the number of solar-panel and photovoltaic suppliers mushroomed nearly tenfold from 2002, when there were about 80 manufacturers, to somewhere between 500 and 800 today, according to iSuppli. In China and Taiwan, whole solar-energy sectors sprouted almost overnight. Stefan de Haan, an analyst for iSuppli, says industry profit margins,…
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The Case For Shorting Solar Stocks

The Case For Shorting Solar Stocks (FSLR, STP, YGE, SPWRA)

solar companiesCourtesy of Vincent Fernando at Clusterstock

Industry fundamentals are looking pretty bad for solar.

After enjoying a few years of tight supply, far too much solar production capacity is coming online as a result.

Government policy hasn’t helped either. For 2009, half of total solar production might not even be sold due a change in government policy from a major solar buyer, Spain.

WSJ: Spain accounted for more than 40% of all new solar panel installation globally last year, installing 2.7 gigawatts — five times the 2007 figure — out of a global total of 5.6 gigawatts. According to Spain’s photovoltaic industry association, Asif, the country’s market was worth €16.38 billion ($23.24 billion). This year, with cuts to aid and a more complicated application process, there has been no new installation in Spain.

Other countries are introducing aid to the solar sector, particularly the U.S. But the new U.S. measures aren’t expected to arrive in time to shore up demand this year. And while China has pledged support for the solar industry via economic-stimulus packages, support is likely to primarily benefit its own low-cost producers that have easy access to credit from state-owned Chinese banks.

Even based on bullish Barlcays numbers shown below, supply is likely to oustrip demand by 30-40% for many years. This could collapse prices down to merely the cost of production… or worse.

Sahm Adrangi: Currently, there is too much supply in all the steps. There is too much polysilicon. There are too many wafers. There are too may solar cells and there are too many modules. The oversupply began in 4Q08, and has only become more exacerbated as time has gone on. Polysilicon prices have crashed from about $400/kg to about $70/kg. Marginal cost is estimated to be around $35 to $45/kg, and I’ll bet that prices will get there soon enough.

Solar Oversupply

Perhaps companies such as Suntech (STP), Yingli (YGE), SunPower (SPWRA), and even First Solar (FSLR), despite its technology advantage, could be in for a long, nasty price war.

 


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Why First Solar Faces A Tough Future

Why First Solar Faces A Tough Future (FSLR, STP, TSL)

Courtesy of Jay Yarow at Clusterstock, Green Sheet 
 

 

 

 
 


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Yingli Green Energy, Trina Solar and First Solar

Trader Mark comments on a few solar power companies, noting that they’re inadequately differentiated by American investors. Here are his thoughts.

Analyst: Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and Trina Solar (TSL) Expected to Take Market Share from US/Euro Solar Makers

solar - from the breakthroughCourtesy of Trader Mark at Fund My Mutual Fund

I’ve been a long time investor in the solar space (circa late 06) and one thing that has really irked me over the years is the complete lack of differentiation. Much like the market as a whole nowadays, its "all or nothing" in this space. The one exception has been First Solar (FSLR) – an American "thin film" (different technology than most solar companies) producer. The Chinese names have especially all been thrown together in one pot and when its time to run up solar, they all go up together (in varying degrees) and when solar is out of favor they all get pole axed. Hence doing any due diligence is really a waste of time.

Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and a company that has cost me many real (and virtual) dollars over the years, Trina Solar (TSL) are 2 of the Chinese solar markets with good size, and the most integrated production models. This should have differentiated them over the years – but as I said above, not in American investors eyes. We like "big easy to understand, sweeping themes" – i.e. oil up, solar good. And that’s as comprehensive as it seems to get.

We are seeing some nice action in both these names today, on the back of an analyst report which is alluding to the advantages the two companies have. Now that silicon (which is the main cost component on the material side) has swooned after bottlenecks plagued the industry for 3+ years, the other main cost is labor. And you are not going to compete with the Chinese on labor costs…

  • Both Trina Solar (TSL) and Yingli Green Energy (YGE) shares are trading higher today following upgrades by Morgan Stanley analyst Sunil Gupta. He thinks both companies are going to take market share in the solar sector from U.S.-based and European rivals. Here are the details
  • Trina:


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Cautious About First Solar

Analysts Sound Cautious About First Solar (FSLR)

Jay Yarow at the Green Sheet of ClusterStock

First SolarFirst Solar (FSLR) gave an "impressive" presentation yesterday at its investor/analyst meeting about the future of its business, but it wasn’t enough to make analysts feel better about the stock.

We’ve received analyst reports morning from FBR, Deutsche Bank and Cannaccord Adams. Here’s their summaries:

Canaccord Adams downgraded from Buy to Hold with a $180 price target with a 25x multiple of its 2009 EPS estimate.

IMPACT: Modestly negative. First Solar remains the leading solar company, in our opinion; however, the company issued fairly ambitious targets with respect to the project pipeline and technology advances, and a lack of visibility into further positive catalysts remains. Additionally, the company’s business model and financial model are changing fairly significantly. As we suspected, the company’s new focus will lower GMs but likely increase income in absolute terms. While the company has finally properly set expectations, we believe that the decreasing margin profile may turn some investors off until the higher income and cash flows actually materialize.

FBR has an underperform rating with a $110 price target with 5X EV/sales and 12x EV/EBITDA, versus the its peer group (SPWRA, STP, TSL, YGE) average of 1.5x EV/sales and 8x EV/EBITDA.

We walked away from the First Solar (FSLR) analyst event impressed with the quality of presentation and the company’s long-term vision, which was communicated clearly, We continue to believe that First Solar is among a few industry leaders that have sound long-term and short-term strategies based on the realities of the industry. However, in light of the fact that the company has now publicly acknowledged that the business model is changing (revenue mix has changed from one item to three separate items), we think there is an increased probability of a capital increase (to beef up the balance sheet), while challenges remain in the near term (excess inventories, customer insolvency, tight credit market) that are the most important factors, which, in our view, will pressure the stock for the remainder of CY09. Additionally, we walked away feeling incrementally confident that the consensus estimates are too aggressive and do not reflect the realities of the industry.

Deutsche Bank maintains its hold rating raising its price target to $170 from $167, with a 20x C2010 EPS valuation.

First Solar entering a transitional period…
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Are Environmentalists Out To Get First Solar? (FSLR)

Courtesy of Jay Yarow at ClusterStock

Are Environmentalists Out To Get First Solar? (FSLR)

A private citizen told California investigators to check out the land rights First Solar said it acquired when it paid $400 million in stock for OptiSolar’s project pipeline. When the deal was announced, First Solar said it received "strategic land rights of approximately 136,000 acres." In reality, OptiSolar only had applications for the land rights.

Applications are considerably less valuable. If First Solar labeled those applications as assets, and priced them into the acquisition, then the company may be in violation of the law. At this point, it’s unclear if First Solar did or did not label them as assets. It’s also unclear if it’s illegal to price them into the deal, reports Dow Jones.

In spite of the haze around this minor infraction, it’s receiving a decent amount of coverage. Major news outlets are reporting on it as well as most energy/solar focused blogs.

Our intial reaction was that this was much ado about nothing. The Bureau Of Land Managment in California is worried about speculators paying for applications, holding them, then selling them to developers at higher prices. We don’t consider First Solar a speculator, so we thought it was long shot that they were violating the law.

While developing a project is not First Solar’s typical operating pattern, it is a direction the company is heading. In the relase announcing the OptiSolar acquisition, First Solar mentioned other construction projects it was working on. For this reason, we don’t think First Solar plans on just selling off its application permits.

We are curious about the identity of the "private citizen" that tipped investigators. After news broke that First Solar was under investigation, Earth2Tech reported that:

A couple weeks ago we received an email query from an exec at an environmental group wondering about the legality and ethics of solar maker OptiSolar incorporating yet-to-be-approved Bureau of Land Management land applications into its price when solar giant First Solar agreed to acquire the thin-film PV company back in March. I’m not sure how legal it is, I told him, but I would assume


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ValueWalk

Ray Dalio Urges 'Beautiful Deleveraging' of Police Departments

By The Stonk Market. Originally published at ValueWalk.

During a YouTube livestream from a bathroom at an undisclosed location, Ray Dalio looked into the camera and reminded viewers, “I’m not just rich, I’m also socially relevant.”

“I’m looking at these protests, and these calls to defund the police, thinking ’how can I insert myself into this conversation?’ That’s when I realized that police departments need a beautiful deleveraging,” said Dalio. “And I swear this isn’t just the Ambien talking.”

“Don’t get me wrong – I love surveillance, obvi...



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Phil's Favorites

Why are white supremacists protesting the deaths of black people?

 

Why are white supremacists protesting the deaths of black people?

A member of the far-right Boogaloo Bois group walks next to protestors in Charlotte, N.C., on May 29, 2020. Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images

Courtesy of Matthew Valasik, Louisiana State University and Shannon Reid, University of North Carolina – Charlotte

As protests...



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Zero Hedge

Orphaned Silver Is Finding Its Parent

Courtesy of ZeroHedge View original post here.

Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com,

This article examines the prospects for silver, which has been overlooked in favour of gold. Due to the economic and monetary consequences of the coronavirus lockdowns and the earlier turning of the credit cycle, there is an increasing likelihood of a severe and sustained downturn that will require far more monetary expansion to deal with, favouring the prospects of both gold and silver returning to their former monetary roles.

...

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Biotech/COVID-19

COVID-19: A Data-Driven Analysis

 

COVID-19: A Data-Driven Analysis

By John Mauldin and Mike Roizen, MD 

Should you wear a mask in public? This seemingly simple question immediately generates emotional, political, and social anxiety.

It is just one of many provocative questions COVID-19 is forcing upon us. They should be simple, data-driven policy issues but many are not.

Today’s letter is in a different format from the usual Thoughts from the Frontline. As long-time readers know, I am in frequent (and lately almost daily) contact with Dr. Mike Roizen, emeritus head of wellness at the famous Cleveland Clinic, member of the Cleveland Clinic’s leadership team, and author of many books which, thanks ...



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The Technical Traders

WOW, look at this huge setup unfolding in S&P 500. Squeeze the FOMO !!

Courtesy of Technical Traders

If you have FOMO on the stock market you better watch this video because it will make you feel better if what is unfolding is exactly what I have been talking about for the past week. The Short/FOMO Squeeze!

I offer membership services for active traders, long-term investors...



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Kimble Charting Solutions

Is the 39 Year Treasury Bond Bull Market Over?

Courtesy of Chris Kimble

10 Year US Treasury Bond Yield “inverted” Chart

This chart should look familiar, as I’ve shared and updated it a few times to alert clients and readers.

It is the 10 Year US Treasury Yield Chart… inverted.

As you know, bond yields and price move in opposite directions. So this is a way to analyze and think about bonds. And as I’ve pointed out before, inverted charts can also reduce bias.

As you can see, bond yields created the largest reversal pattern in decades. When inverted (as this chart is), yields look like bond prices. So this is action is very bearish for bond prices on a long-term historic...



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Chart School

Silver volume says something is near boiling point

Courtesy of Read the Ticker

Fundamentals are important, but they must show up in the chart. And when they do and if they may matter, it is a good sign if price and volume waves show a change of character.

The Point and Figure chart below is readtheticker.com version of PnF chart format, it is designed to highlight price and volume waves clearly (notice the Volume Hills chart).

Silver ETF volume is screaming at us! The price volatility along with volume tells us those who have not cared, are starting to, those who are wrong are adjusting, and those who are correct are loading up. Soon the kettle will blow and the price of silver will be over $20. 

Normally silver suffers in a recession, maybe this time with trillions of paper money being creat...

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Lee's Free Thinking

US Southern States COVID19 Cases - Let's Give Credit Where Due

 

US Southern States COVID19 Cases – Let’s Give Credit Where Due

Courtesy of  

The number of new COVID 19 cases has been falling in the Northeast, but the South is not having the same experience. The number of new cases per day in each Southern state has been rangebound for the past month.

And that’s assuming that the numbers haven’t been manipulated. We know that in Georgia’s case at least, they have been. And there are suspicions about Florida as well, as the State now engages in a smear campaign against the fired employee who built its much praised COVID19 database and dashboar...



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Digital Currencies

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

 

Blockchains can trace foods from farm to plate, but the industry is still behind the curve

App-etising? LDprod

Courtesy of Michael Rogerson, University of Bath and Glenn Parry, University of Surrey

Food supply chains were vulnerable long before the coronavirus pandemic. Recent scandals have ranged from modern slavery ...



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Members' Corner

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

 

Coronavirus, 'Plandemic' and the seven traits of conspiratorial thinking

No matter the details of the plot, conspiracy theories follow common patterns of thought. Ranta Images/iStock/Getty Images Plus

Courtesy of John Cook, George Mason University; Sander van der Linden, University of Cambridge; Stephan Lewandowsky...



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Insider Scoop

Economic Data Scheduled For Friday

Courtesy of Benzinga

  • Data on nonfarm payrolls and unemployment rate for March will be released at 8:30 a.m. ET.
  • US Services Purchasing Managers' Index for March is scheduled for release at 9:45 a.m. ET.
  • The ISM's non-manufacturing index for March will be released at 10:00 a.m. ET.
  • The Baker Hughes North American rig count report for the latest week is scheduled for release at 1:00 p.m. ET.
...

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Promotions

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Feb. 26, 1pm EST

Click HERE to join the PSW weekly webinar at 1 pm EST.

Phil will discuss positions, COVID-19, market volatility -- the selloff -- and more! 

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Mike will show off the TradeExchange's new platform which you can try for free.  

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Mapping The Market

How IPOs Are Priced

Via Jean Luc 

Funny but probably true:

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Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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