American solar manufacturer, First Solar, is just one of the many global solar stocks soaring on global markets. The largest US solar panel manufacturer hit a two-year high last week after the company boosted its profit forecast for the year.
On November 5th the company peaked at $62.12, the highest recorded price since its low of $11.77 in June of 2012. According to First Solar, recent stock price increases have been attributed to a revenue stream that has come on board from a major Californian project.
According to Reuters, the once profitable company was hit hard by Chinese production surges as well as reductions in generous government incentive programs in the US. Cutting costs and increased penetration into overseas markets (where solar incentives are still present) has been a saviour for the company’s utility scale projects.
First Solar released its financial quarter results on the 1st of this month, reporting that its net sales were $1.3 billion within the quarter – an increase of $746 million from the prior quarter.
First Solar is the second largest solar company by market capitalisation and the largest PV installer in the US and has reported earnings per share at $2.28 – growing nearly 80 per cent from year-ago earnings.
Last week the company announced it would be offering another $54,425 worth of notes, maturing in 2026, pushing stock price up by 16 per cent. This offering will add to the $US396.6 million raised in October by stock and note offerings, according to PV Tech.
The Californian based, and French-owned, solar manufacturer SunPower currently manufacturers the most efficient panels for sale in the industry. The company has recently announced that it made an acquisition of a solar panel cleaning products company, plans to invest in a major new factory, and raised its earnings outlook – pushing stock up by 10 per cent.
Furthermore, SunPower reported earnings per share of 33 cents a share, compared to an EPS and company loss of 5 cents and $48.5 million a year ago (respectively), outperforming the market estimate of 24 cents per share. The company has also announced it will expand solar cell manufacturing capacity by more than 25 per cent, bringing total capacity up to 1.8GW.
Elon Musks’ SolarCity has been one of the hottest solar stocks this year but after posting mixed third quarter results the stock price dived around 13 per cent on November 7th. The company, which has seen initial shareholders stock more than quadruple in value since its IPO less than a year ago, is still projecting installations to expand 90 per cent.
Experts were expecting earnings per share of 48 cents, which was revised down to 43 cents a share. Further to this, the company is expecting to make a loss of 55-65 cents per share in the fourth quarter, with experts saying it will be more like 53 cents a share.
Investors are blaming the increase in capital expenditures, which has more than doubled to around $217 million in the last year. Also worth noting is the relatively large amount of stock that is still owned by Elon Musk – 73 per cent to be exact – leaving little room for remaining stocks to be freely traded on the market.
SunPower and SolarCity have been two of the best performing stocks on the NASDAQ of this year, in SolarCity’s case – before third quarter results were posted. On the other hand, SunPower announced its quarterly profit in October – its first in two years.
Canadian Solar, one of the four biggest solar PV manufacturers in the world, is expecting to release its first quarterly profit in more than two years thanks to shipment and sales increases, which have recently pushed the stock up by 10 per cent. According to the Wall Street Journal Canadian Solar said its third quarter solar module shipments and gross margins are set to exceed previous expectations.
The company, with its five-year high in January of 2010 of $32.68, is well on its way back up, recording a price of $28.65 at close of markets yesterday.
As RenewEconomy reported, many leading manufacturers are now predicting that annual installations will tip 50 GW for the first time in 2014. North America, currently at 4.4GW of solar power, is not the only country recording growth in installs, with Japan and China both expecting up to 7GW and 10GW, respectively.
The numbers show a major move in the US markets from excess supply and powerful competition from Asian manufacturers to profit taking mode through cost restructuring and utilisation of other overseas markets.