Why Shares of First Solar, Inc. Plunged 19% in August

By Markets Fool.com

Continue Reading Below

Image source: Getty Images.

What happened

Shares of solar manufacturer First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) plunged 19% in August, according to data provided fromS&P Global Market Intelligence, after reporting earnings that failed to excite investors.

So what

Second-quarter results released last month weren't exactly terrible, and I went into the numbers in depth here. Management expects to earn $4.20 to $4.20 per share this year, which isn't bad in a highly competitive solar environment.

Continue Reading Below

But First Solar did nothing to ease fears that 2017 will be awful. If you look at its project backlog, there are just 303 MW of projects due to be completed in 2017 and 40 MW in 2018. In 2019, that figure skyrockets to 810 MW, showing that there's demand for solar but only after a chasm beginning next year.

Now what

First Solar is running into weak utility demand because utilities have already met their mandates for the next couple of years. And the company doesn't have exposure to the growing distributed energy market that may have a decent year in 2017. To top it off, it is investing in more efficient solar panels and a more complete solar system design that includes the option for energy storage, causing customers to push purchases back until the new products come out.

Add it all up and First Solar could have a rough 2017 and even 2018 before the industry's growth picks up in 2019 and beyond.

A secret billion-dollar stock opportunity
The world's biggest tech company forgot to show you something, but a few Wall Street analysts and the Fool didn't miss a beat: There's a small company that's powering their brand-new gadgets and the coming revolution in technology. And we think its stock price has nearly unlimited room to run for early in-the-know investors! To be one of them, just click here.

Travis Hoium owns shares of First Solar. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.