Short Sellers Piling Into Solar Energy Stocks

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Short interest moves among solar and alternative energy stocks were mixed during the two-week reporting period that ended on August 15. Of the companies we watch, short interest rose on three of the four solar stocks and two of the four alt energy stocks.

The solar industry is facing another glut of cells and modules, and a shakeout like the one that occurred about five years ago may be in the offing. The result, naturally, is more short interest in all these stocks, except the one that is being acquired.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) saw short interest rise by 22.4% to 14.75 million shares, which represents 19.7% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from eight to two. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price fell by nearly 19%. Its 52-week trading range is $36.75 to $74.29, and it closed at $37.32 on Wednesday, down about 0.4% for the day.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) short interest rose by 6.9% to 16.71 million shares, or 28.6% of the company’s float. In the two-week period to August 15, the share price fell by nearly 29%. The stock’s 52-week range is $9.87 to $31.10 and it closed at $9.92 on Wednesday, down 1.1% for the day, after posting the new 52-week low. Days to cover fell from nine to three.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) saw short interest drop by 7.2% to 19.92 million shares, 31.2% of the company’s total float. Days to cover increased from six to seven. In the two weeks, the share price fell by nearly 11%. The stock’s 52-week range is $16.31 to $58.87, and shares closed at $22.50 on Wednesday, down about 2.6% for the day.

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) saw a rise of 16.3% in short interest between the settlement dates. Some 13.9% of the total float, 6.16 million shares, were short, and days to cover fell from three to two. The company’s share price fell by about 8% over the two-week period, and shares closed Wednesday at $12.89, down about 4.2% for the day, in a 52-week range of $12.12 to $29.83.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) posted an increase of 5.7% in short interest during the period. Some 4.3 million shares were short as of August 15. The stock closed at $5.16 on Wednesday, down about 3.4% for the day, in a 52-week range of $4.51 to $12.24. Shares dropped about 1.1% in the two weeks, and days to cover rose from six to 10.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) saw short interest increase by 3.8% to 29.82 million shares. Days to cover rose from 14 to 23, and about 16.7% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to August 15, the stock’s share price fell by about 4%. Its 52-week range is $1.30 to $2.98, and shares closed Wednesday at $1.66, down about 1.8% for the day.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) saw a drop of 12% in short interest to 6.97 million shares. About 7% of the company’s float was short and days to cover fell from five to two. Shares rose by more than 16% in the first two weeks of August. The stock closed most recently at $4.21, down about 3.4% on the day, in a 52-week range of $2.15 to $6.44.

Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) saw short interest fall by 10.3% in the two-week period to 4.23 million shares, about 11% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at six. The stock price rose about 0.3% in the two weeks. Shares closed at $6.67 on Wednesday, down 6.8% on the day, in a 52-week range of $2.41 to $7.64.