Are Short Sellers Regaining Their Interest 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 September 15. Of the companies we watch, short interest rose on three of four solar stocks and on three of four alt energy stocks.

Solar stocks are seeing a pullback in short interest after significant share price drops in mid-August. In the past three months, the four solar stocks we track have dropped within a range of more than 8% to more than 38%. The drop has tapered off and short interest is waning in the three of the four stocks.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) saw short interest rise by 0.7% to 12.6 million shares, which represents 16.9% of the company’s float. Days to cover slipped from five to four. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price fell by 7.6%. The stock’s 52-week range is $33.74 to $74.29, and it closed at $37.25 on Monday, up about 0.5% for the day.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) short interest increased by 7.1% to 16.54 million shares, or 28.3% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to September 15, the share price fell by nearly 25%. The stock’s 52-week range is $7.37 to $31.10, and it closed at $8.27 on Monday, down 2.9%. Days to cover fell from six to four.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) saw short interest jump 16.1% to 21.67 million shares, 33% of the company’s total float. Days to cover tumbled from 11 to four. In the short interest period, the share price fell by 17.4%. The stock’s 52-week range is $16.20 to $58.87, and shares closed at $19.98 Monday night, up nearly 4% for the day. As SolarCity’s share price continues to drop, the spread between the current price and the $23 per share offer price from Tesla Motors gets larger, creating an opportunity for a trader willing to bet that the deal will close at Tesla’s offering price. So far, not so many are taking that side of the bet.

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) saw a drop of 1.4% in short interest during the two-week period to September 15. Some 17.2% of the total float, 7.65 million shares, were short, and days to cover rose from two to four. The company’s share price fell by about 7.9% over the two-week period, and shares closed Monday at $12.67, down about 2.2% for the day, in a 52-week range of $11.72 to $29.83.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) posted an increase of 8% in short interest during the two-week period. Some 4.8 million shares were short as of September 15. The stock closed at $5.27 on Monday, down about 0.4% for the day, in a 52-week range of $4.51 to $12.24. Shares dropped about 4% in the short interest period, and days to cover fell from 12 to eight.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) saw short interest increase by 4.5% to 31.68 million shares. Days to cover fell from 18 to 14, and about 17.7% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to September 15, the stock’s share price fell by about 7.7%. Its 52-week range is $1.30 to $2.98, and shares closed Monday at $1.64, up about 0.6% for the day.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) saw a rise of 5.1% in short interest to 9.05 million shares. About 8.4% of the company’s float was short, and days to cover rose from two to three. Shares dropped by about 4.3% in the period to September 15. The stock closed at $4.40, up about 2.3%, on Monday in a 52-week range of $2.15 to $6.44.

Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) saw short interest fall by 7.2% in the two-week period to 3.46 million shares, about 9% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at six. The stock price fell by 5.6% in the first two weeks of September. Shares closed at $6.45 on Monday, down about 1.7% on the day, in a 52-week range of $2.41 to $7.64.