Shares of First Solar FSLR are up on Wednesday after a strong analyst upgrade and a string of other positive solar-related news that has emerged over the past week.
Axiom Capital analyst Gordon Johnson, a notable solar industry bear, upgraded First Solar from a “Hold” to a “Buy” and upped its price target to $51 per share on Wednesday. “Given that we believe First Solar is selling modules at $.50 to $.60, and we are hearing rumblings that they are sold out through the third quarter of 2018,” Johnson told Benzinga.
“We believe the company is going to show potentially significant upside to consensus estimates, which have not changed dramatically.”
On the back of this upgrade, First Solar jumped 3.5% in morning trading. The solar energy company hasn’t quite reached its 52-week high, but it is now rests at its highest point so far this year. First Solar is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)
The company, which builds large-scale photovoltaic (PV) power stations, is set to report earnings on August 2.
Elsewhere in the solar industry, China invested heavily in solar energy last year and is set to continue this trend going forward. The country installed 34.5 GW of solar power in 2016, and China reportedly added 18 GW of additional solar energy in the second quarter of this year alone.
On that note, Jinko Solar JKS is one of the biggest solar energy movers so far today, up 9.13%.
Negative estimate revisions have sent the stock down to a Zack Rank #5 (Strong Sell), but fresh activity in China could spur new momentum, with shares of Jinko Solar skyrocketing this month.
All of this solar investment has helped China become the biggest renewable energy investor on the planet. According to a recent Time report, which focused on a massive former Chinese coal mine that is now a lake with 166,000 floating solar panels, the Chinese government has set its sights on spending $360 billion on clean energy by 2020. The push will reportedly help create 13 million new jobs.
Other Asian powerhouses are getting in on the action too. For example, India just announced it is set to debut its first ever solar-powered train, which will reportedly save roughly 21,000 liters of diesel fuel every year.
However, what might prove to be better news for investors in the States is that the U.S. has also invested heavily in this sector.
In the U.S., 14.6 gigawatts worth of new solar energy projects were installed last year, which proved to be a record setting year — and a massive jump from the 7.5 GW installed in 2015.
Today, in Miami, Florida it was announced that in South Miami new homes will soon be required to be built with solar panels — the first such mandate in the state. The ordinance will also affect select home renovations as well.
“Solar reduces the cost of home ownership, it makes houses sell faster, it returns more to a builder, it makes local jobs, and most importantly, it reduces carbon emissions today to help our children and grandchildren have a better future tomorrow,” South Miami Mayor Philip Stoddard, said on Tuesday night.
Canadian Solar CSIQ just announced that four solar power plants in Japan are now using its high-efficient MaxPower modules to power the plants. Shares of the company jumped 6.27% on Wednesday after the news broke.
Shares of Vivint Solar, Inc. VSLR are up 1% today after the company announced it is set to bring rooftop solar panels to Pittsburgh.
Want to know more about the renewable energy sector as a whole? Read our Zacks industry outlook: Will Global Investments Boost Alternative Energy Stocks?
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