Solar Investor
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Everything posted by solarpete

  1. I feel your pain! Took a gamble on it myself and entered a small trading position when it pulled back from 7.00, figuring it would blast through on its way to 8 (the way it blasted through 6 on its way to 7)--only to watch it promptly pull back even farther, and now obstinately refuse to participate in rises in other solars. Think we're stuck at this level until their earnings. Last quarter's were driven by a one-time gain--hope they don't collapse when they can't repeat that this quarter. Well, at least I was smart enough to limit my exposure here.
  2. Precisely! Good luck (to us all)!!
  3. Your Base 10 prejudice is showing. Say that in binary!
  4. Agreed. Anyone care to speculate on whether they'll actually cease operations, which should ease the oversupply problem?
  5. Exactly the conclusion I came to as well. The very uncertainty that makes it difficult to pick long-term winners produces enough fluctuations in share price to allow plenty of trading opportunities. To use the baseball analogy, I've given up on swinging for the fences, and am concentrating on peppering the infield with singles instead. It's slow, but it seems to be working.
  6. Hello, Matt! I have to confess, I still don't get the allure of FB. It certainly wasn't obvious to me it would do as well as it did, so I guess I'm dim there, too. As for picking Amazon, Google, Microsoft, or Apple as surefire winners when they were nascent--again, if it were that easy, there'd be a bunch more millionaires today. Hindsight is always 20/20. You're correct about the potential for wind and solar. But right now, there still is not a proven business model that results in significant profits. When there were large subsidies, manufacturers had good margins. The subsidies have disappeared, never to return. So far, the profits have, too. Well, the fat profits, anyway. Margins on solar panels themselves are razor-thin. Yieldcos haven't proven very safe for investors. And installers are struggling to find the right business model, too--owning or leasing? The debate still rages on there (just look at Sunrun--starting to show some profits, but their stock is capped for now because the market doesn't like their reliance on leases). No real change to that situation likely for at least the next year. Long-term, I do think solar will win out in a big way, but I think it will take two game-changers to do so: transparent solar panels that can be used as window glass, and photovoltaic material that can be integrated into roof shingles. When THOSE technologies are where "regular" solar panels are now in terms of efficiency and price, watch out! Just about every single building will eventually feature them, whether new construction or retrofit. And those technologies are not pure fiction--they exist already: But will it be the current market leaders that will profit from these technologies, or will they be eliminated from the market by newer competitors? THAT is the huge unknown. In short, I do think solar has a huge future 20 years down the road. But I'm not at all convinced today's market leaders will share in those good times. They have near-term risk due to the falling ASP issue for their current technology product, and far-term risk due to the two disruptive technologies mentioned above. Is it possible they will survive the near-term challenges and find a way to own the technologies of the future? Yes. Is it likely? That is the million-dollar question.... Pete
  7. I don't think there is ever a time to "load up," at least not at a rock-bottom price. Ideally, investors want to "load up" when the price is still low but whatever doubts about the future of the company that caused that low price have been resolved. The problem is, by the time those doubts have been removed, the price is rarely if ever still that low. Investors have two choices: buy at a low price with the doubts still present or wait until doubts are removed and buy at a higher price. The first option entails more risk but greater reward, while the second lowers risk but also decreases the upside. So if by "time to load up" you mean is it "safe" to buy large quantities of the stock, as in future risk has been eliminated or at least greatly decreased, the answer is no. But by the time it has, the price will undoubtedly be higher. You have to decide for yourself when you want to "load up." Not much help, I know, but "dem's de facts." If it were that easy to determine a "safe" time to "load up," we'd all be stock market millionaires by now.
  8. Wow--they're certainly going out on a limb, giving everyone plenty of warning (heavy sarcasm)....
  9. I upped a little, but I'm weary. Seems like the market overall has lost any sort of legs. Yeah, I'm definitely keeping my own trading to small positions. Have to limit risk on any one position because as you say, market direction overall is uncertain. It's already risen quite a bit, so the current good economic climate could already be priced in, limiting further upside. On the other hand, I don't see any macroeconomic disasters looming either to cause a collapse. So we churn.
  10. THAT is the key! The question is, how long will that take? A couple of years, or a decade plus?
  11. Just the usual volatility in these stocks. We've all seen them gyrate up and down on no news. If you think the reaction is unwarranted, it may be worth buying a small position at the end of the day for a quick trade, in case it bounces back in the next few days. We've all seen that happen plenty of times.
  12. In a perfect world, yes. In the view of our real-world markets, no. Otherwise they would not give the CN market leaders measly PEs of 3-5, when other tech stocks command 3x that. As you noted, the markets have doubts that solar manufacturers can be profitable without subsidies. And so far, they do indeed seem to be struggling. While they may not be in danger of going bankrupt (at least not the major ones), their profits are slim at best, at least for the foreseeable future. It remains to be seen whether they can eventually come up with a business model for both significant and sustainable profits.
  13. Trump is a self-centered greedy narcissist who knows damn well the damage coal plant emissions cause--he just doesn't care, as long as they don't affect HIM. Try putting up a smokestack next to one of his properties and see how "coal-friendly" he is then! Fortunately, the power of the Federal government in dictating the future of renewables has greatly decreased over the past decade, as the price point has finally come down to where wind and solar are on par with fossils, especially coal. Just google "Kentucky coal plant shutdowns" to get an idea of what's going on even in the heart of coal country. The future of renewables is now in the hands of state regulators and local utility boards. Those that were reluctant to move away from coal will continue to be so. But those that see the promise of both cheap and clean energy will continue to pursue that path, with or without the Feds. And I think that by and large, the market knows this. I'd be surprised if solars tank just based on this one action by the Idiot in Chief.
  14. I've noticed the same thing. Perhaps a trading opportunity there?
  15. Good point. That's usually my downfall--I buy too much, too early. You once opined CSIQ could drop below 10--I wouldn't rule that out.
  16. Agreed--I'm looking at it as a trading vehicle only as well. It was bouncing around quite a bit a couple of months ago, which made it suitable for trading. But it's been in an extended downtrend for a while now, which even good earnings did not reverse.
  17. Did you catch the analyst's "success rate"? 44%. Worse than flipping a coin. I'm beginning to think I'm in the wrong business....
  18. Good question! I for one don't think it's a terrible investment (I have some), but it's not getting the respect it should. They're making money, blew away earnings estimates last quarter, and even guided to continued growth next year--but because the rate of that growth is now seen to be 20%, instead of 100%+, they sold off along with everyone else. With a trailing P/E under 6, and a forward P/E lower than that, they should be a good buy right now. Beats me how RUN trades below 5, but FSLR is worth 30 (well, 29 now)....
  19. Not sure there's much to say. Until we see ASPs stabilize, manufacturers are going to struggle. Installers should be doing better, but only Sunrun appears to be making any money, and the market (well, the Motley Fool, anyway) hates their continued reliance on leases.
  20. Yup, saw that. The one bright spot. Will wait a few days to see where the bottom is, then may buy a trading position. (Although JKS is dropping as well--depending on how low they go, I may use them for that trading stake instead.)
  21. That's what we all thought about the previous glut. Didn't happen then. Makes me very nervous that it won't happen now either.
  22. The problem isn't demand, despite the word "glut" still being used frequently. JKS certainly isn't seeing a glut, at least not for its products. The problem is falling margins, requiring ever-increasing shipment volumes to maintain the same level of profit. Usually, as shipments rise, so do profits. Not so for this industry. That trend has to eventually change--to use a calculus analogy, you can't reach the limit of infinite shipments with infinitesimal profits per unit shipped. The question becomes, what happens to each individual company as we approach that limit? Do they go under, or do they survive and emerge into a new, stable balance between ASPs and costs? And when does this happen?
  23. Good analysis. Thanks! ASPs dropping by 28% in one year--ouch! As long as ASPs were high and costs were high, dropping ASPs could be mitigated by lowering costs. But now that both ASPs and costs are quite low, do you have any insights on how much further can costs be lowered?
  24. Yes, I hold CSIQ, both a position from a much higher price and a trading position from the mid-15s (where I thought the bottom was a few months ago). If it drops after ER, I'll likely buy another trading position, as long as their guidance isn't dismal. I agree the market isn't always rational. But in this case, with expectations being negative, I think a drop before ER is logical. (It's also why I'm not buying more before ER. We might see a double whammy--a drop before ER based on poor expectations, and a further drop after ER if those expectations are confirmed.)
  25. I don't know. I just know you're pretty negative on all manufacturers right now, and since you're a bona fide expert on the industry, I expect analysts and knowledgeable traders to share your views (that is, you all come to more or less the same conclusions). So I'm surprised that you're surprised that CSIQ sells off prior to its ER, given the poor expectations.