First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) has raised its guidance, of a sort. While the company did not give financial guidance it did raise its Megawatt order expectations. The lack of actual finance guidance is puzzling, but if this can hold it may bleed over into benefits for the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (NYSE: PBW) and the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE: TAN) (formerly the Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (NYSE: TAN)).
After the close of trading on Wednesday, First Solar announced that it has signed agreements with 7 key customers that will generate an increase of some 380 megawatts in orders for 2011 that is above its previously announced volumes. After looking through various forecasts, our data showed that there is an expected 2,124 MW of capacity expected in 2011
While there has been much concern over levels in Europe over subsidies ending periods and over tighter budgets, the company went on to say that the expanded contracts are with existing customers and will serve predominantly European markets.
It further noted that its customers continue to expect robust growth in the market for solar electricity in Europe in 2011 and this additional sales volume will allow the company to continue to scale up.
As far as when these were brought in, the new contracts were said to be “all signed in recent weeks and follow announcements that First Solar is planning to add manufacturing capacity in Germany and France in order to better meet local demand and to encourage the development of the market for utility-scale solar electricity.”
First Solar shares closed down 2.8% in regular trading today at $138.64, and shares rose 1.5% to $140.80 in the after-hours session.
First Solar has a weighting only about 2.24% of the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (NYSE: PBW), but it has the largest weighting in the Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (NYSE: TAN) or Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSE: TAN) with a weighting of 12.79%.
JON C. OGG