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Solar Installers’ Stocks Hit Again

Paul Ausick

After markets closed Tuesday night, solar installer Real Goods Solar Inc. (RSOL) reported that revenues fell 3% and that it took an earnings per share loss of $0.11. Just a week ago SolarCity Corp. (SCTY) also reported a larger-than-expected loss.

The key here seems to be competitive pricing pressure. Real Goods said in its earnings release that the revenue decline for installing solar energy systems more than offset the greater number of installations it performed in the second quarter. Gross margins at the company also fell, from 29.6% a year ago to 25%, again due to competitive pricing pressure.

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SolarCity forecast a sharp decline in revenue for its current quarter and a larger earnings per share loss than analysts were expecting.

Real Goods also said that it planned to look for additional acquisitions, having already acquired two smaller companies. SolarCity announced yesterday that it had acquired Paramount Solar, a direct marketer of solar energy products. But if Real Goods’ experience with acquisitions is any guide, investors don’t see acquisitiveness as a solution.

Following its lackluster report, shares of Real Goods Solar are down about 9.2% at $2.17 in a 52-week range of $0.40 to $7.17.

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SolarCity’s shares are down nearly 5%, a combination of the acquisition and Real Goods’ poor performance. The company’s stock is trading at $36.03 in a 52-week range of $9.20 to $52.77.

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