Energy Business

First Solar Gets Bounce from German Demand (FSLR, SPWR, TSL, YGE, STP, TAN)

Solar panel maker First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) is trading up nearly 15% today following the company’s announcement that it will now keep its German manufacturing facility open until the end of this year to meet stronger demand for the company’s solar panels in Europe. The company had planned to close the plant in October.

The news is giving providing a lift to other panel makers SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR), Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL), Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: YGE), and Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (NYSE: STP). First Solar did acknowledge that the extension to its German manufacturing is only temporary, emphasizing that the longer term trend in Europe calls for fewer solar installations, not more.

At the same time, Taiwan’s Digitimes reports that China’s solar firms are “halting capacity expansions and moving businesses towards systems developments.” A number of companies not identified by name in the report, plan to create “‘ money pools’ to ensure abundant and available funds for project financing.”

Digitimes did not say where the pools of financing would be available, but given the support that the Chinese government is throwing behind solar development, it seems reasonable to conclude that the financing would be available outside China. That will help with installation costs, but the pools cannot finance feed-in tariffs over 20 years, so it’s hard to see how the pools are going to have much of an impact on demand for solar installations.

Shares of First Solar are up about 16.4% at $14.35 in a 52-week range of $11.43-$142.22. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (AMEX: TAN) is up about 4.4% at $17.69 in a 52-week range of $2.42-$34.12.

Paul Ausick

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