Why Short Interest in Solar Stocks Soared

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

The sell-off in solar stocks that followed the election of Donald Trump drove share prices down and short interest up over the past two weeks. Among the alternative fuel stocks, short sellers cut their positions sharply in two stocks, but trading has been heavy, with most seeing days to cover falling sharply as well.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) short interest jumped by 22.5% to 17.76 million shares, which represents about 23.7% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from six to three. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price fell by more than 18%. Its 52-week range is $28.60 to $74.29, and it closed at $30.59 on Friday, up about 2.7% for the day.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) short interest increased by 13.6% to 20.32 million shares, or 34.8% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from seven to six. In the short interest period to November 15, the share price fell by about 3.8%. The stock’s 52-week range is $6.00 to $31.10, and it closed at $7.03 on Friday, up about 3.1%.

SolarCity saw short interest increase 24.2% to 30.3 million shares, about 30.2% of the company’s total float. Days to cover fell from eight to seven. In the short interest period, the share price fell by 3.5%. SolarCity shares stopped trading on November 18, following the completion of the company’s acquisition by Tesla Motors Inc. (NASDAQ: TSLA).

Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: CSIQ) saw a drop of 1.1% in short interest during the two-week period to November 15. Some 15.4% of the total float, 6.79 million shares, were short, and days to cover fell from seven to three. The company’s share price fell by about 20.5% over the two weeks, and shares closed Friday at $11.56, up about 6.8% for the day, in a 52-week range of $10.25 to $29.83.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) posted a decrease of 12.6% in short interest during the settlement period. Some 4.49 million shares were short as of November 15. The stock closed at $2.90 on Friday, up about 0.9% for the day, in a 52-week range of $2.70 to $10.68. Shares dropped about 11% in the two-week short interest period, and days to cover rose from five to six.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) saw short interest increase by 2% to 31.1 million shares. Days to cover fell from 31 to nine, and about 17.4% of the company’s shares were short. In the first two weeks of November, the stock’s share price fell by 8.2%. Its 52-week range is $1.18 to $2.35, and shares closed Friday at $1.44, up about 2.9% for the day.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) saw a rise of about 1.9% in short interest to 10.69 million shares. About 10% of the company’s float was short, and days to cover fell from nine to four. The share price fell by about 10.5% in the two-week period. Last Friday, the stock closed at $3.69, down about 0.3%, in a 52-week range of $2.15 to $4.88.

Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) saw short interest drop by 16.8% in the two-week period to 2.39 million shares, about 6.2% of the company’s float. Days to cover fell from eight to three. The stock price fell by nearly 13% in the weeks to November 15. Shares closed at $8.50 on Friday, up about 2.4% on the day, in a 52-week range of $2.41 to $8.73.