It doesn’t seem that long ago when anything solar was the hottest ticker in town. The federal and municipal renewable energy subsidies that were enacted here in the U.S., as well as in places like Germany, Spain and the U.K., led to meteoric rises in solar energy stock prices in the middle part of the last decade. It seemed as if the promise of cost-effective solar power was finally coming to fruition and that the sky-high multiples given to solar manufacturer stocks were fully justifiable. Oh, how things change.
One of the highest of the high-flying solar manufacturers, First Solar (FSLR) commanded a stock price of nearly $300 per share in 2008, and a P/E multiple north of 100. Of course this was prior to the bursting of the credit bubble and the collapse of the housing market in the U.S. and around the world. So, now that it seems we may be nearing the end of this economic catastrophe, I believe First Solar is worth another look.
As the premier solar manufacturing company in the U.S., First Solar has certain fiscal advantages. And with a stock price that is nearly 90% off its all-time high, it seems an attractive investment candidate. But let’s dig into the numbers behind this one-time behemoth and see if it stands up to scrutiny.
First Solar makes its panels using a process that is less time and energy-intensive than its competitors. That’s because they use cadmium-telluride (CdTe) as their semi-conductor material and apply it in a thin-film process onto glass.To continue reading, click here.