Energy Business

Why Short Interest in Solar Stocks Is Mostly on the Rise

Short interest moves among solar and alternative energy stocks mostly increased during the two-week reporting period that ended on January 29. In the solar segment, three of the five companies we watch saw short interest rise. Three of four alt energy stocks also saw an increase in short interest during the period.

Solar rooftop installer SolarCity reported quarterly results after markets closed Tuesday, and the company’s outlook for the current quarter sent shares plummeting. The whole sector is in for a rough ride Wednesday.

First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) saw short interest decrease by 1.5% to 5.56 million shares, which represents 7.56% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at two. In the two-week short interest period, the stock’s share price rose by about 11%. The stock’s 52-week range is $40.25 to $72.12 and it closed at $66.48 on Tuesday, up about 3.6% for the day. The joint venture yieldco, 8point3 Energy Partners, that First Solar and SunPower teamed up to create reported solid earnings and cash distributions, giving shares of the partners a boost during the two-week short interest period.

SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) showed a decrease of 10.2% in short interest to 93.6 million shares. About 29.8% of the company’s float was short, and days to cover rose from two to three. In the latest short interest reporting period, the share price rose by about 11%. The stock closed at $2.63 Tuesday night, up about 6.5% for the day, in a 52-week range of $2.02 to $33.45.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) short interest rose by just 0.1% to remain essentially flat at 11 million shares, or 19.3% of the company’s float. In the two weeks to January 29, the share price rose by more than 9%. The stock’s 52-week range is $18.25 to $35.11, and it closed at $22.96 on Tuesday, down about 1.9% for the day. Days to cover remained unchanged at five. Shares tumbled more than 4% in Tuesday’s after-hours trading session, likely related to the poor outlook given by SolarCity.

SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) saw short interest rise by 0.1% to 23.87 million shares, 38.6% of the company’s total float. Days to cover fell from eight to six. In the period, the share price fell by around 4%. The stock’s 52-week range is $24.07 to $63.79, and shares closed at $26.35 Tuesday, down about 5.7% for the day. After reporting earnings, shares dropped 32% in after-hours trading on SolarCity’s soft guidance for the first quarter.


Canadian Solar Inc.

(NASDAQ: CSIQ) saw a rise of 2% in short interest in the two-week period. Some 12.8% of the total float, 5.45 million shares, were short, and days to cover remained unchanged at two. The company’s shares dropped about 0.5% over the short interest period. Shares closed most recently at $17.77, down about 3.3% for the day, in a 52-week range of $14.16 to $40.08.

FuelCell Energy Inc. (NASDAQ: FCEL) posted an increase of 1.7% in short interest during the period. Some 3.61 million shares were short as of January 29. The stock closed at $4.81 on Tuesday, down about 2.4% for the day, in a 52-week range of $4.51 to $17.40. Shares added about 4% between the settlement dates.

Plug Power Inc. (NASDAQ: PLUG) saw short interest increase by 0.7% to 34.35 million shares. Days to cover fell from 16 to 12, and about 19.3% of the company’s shares were short. In the two weeks to January 29, the stock’s share price rose by 10%. Its 52-week range is $1.30 to $3.38, and shares closed Tuesday at $1.56, down about 3.1% for the day.

Clean Energy Fuels Corp. (NASDAQ: CLNE) saw a decrease of 2.2% in short interest to 14.7 million shares. About 20.8% of the company’s float was short, and days to cover rose from eight to 10. Shares fell by about 4% in the two weeks. The stock closed at $2.25, down about 1.3%, on Tuesday. The 52-week trading range is $2.15 to $10.48.

Pacific Ethanol Inc. (NASDAQ: PEIX) saw short interest rise by 5.9% in the two-week period to 4.23 million shares, about 11.5% of the company’s float. Days to cover remained unchanged at four. The stock price rose about 4.5% by the end of the month. Shares closed at $3.15 on Tuesday, down about 6.3% on the day, in a 52-week range of $2.41 to $13.70.

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