The hottest issue in the solar industry this past month has been Spain’s solar subsidy cuts. Why? Because Spain (along with Germany) will account for 66% of global solar installations in 2008. In fact, several major solar players, including SunPower (SPWR) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ), have more than 50% exposure to Spain.
The worst-case scenario for many solar stocks, an annual installation cap of 300MW in Spain, seems to be getting closer to reality. Citi believes the run-up in solar the past few days, because of a rumoured 500MW cap, is just setting up the stocks for disaster:
Late Monday the Ministry of Industry sent a draft of the PV Decree to National Energy Commission (CNE) – a consulting body that offers a technical opinion before final passage. The terms – unchanged from the Ministry’s initial proposal in July – call for a feed-in-tariff of €0.29 for ground-mount and €0.33 for rooftop w/an annual installation cap of 300MW. While the Ministry
appears to be targeting a late-Summer passage of a new royal PV decree, theoretically CNE could still come back w/recommendations that change the structure of the final decree -albeit indications are that Spain is leaning towards the 300MW cap. While this is hardly a huge negative surprise, stocks have rallied in recent days partially around hope of a ~500MW cap. It is important to remember that the market has never seen such a big decline in such an important mkt (~35- 40% of all incremental installs in ’08).
Citi believes Italy, but more so Germany, will pick up the slack for Spain. Therefore, the bank is very bullish on First Solar (FSLR), the solar company with the least exposure to Spain and the most to Germany. Citi is wary of SunPower (SPWR), which has high Spanish exposure, but low German exposure.
Latest First Solar (FSLR) News and Analysis
First Solar (FSLR), SunPower (SPWR): Spanish Subsidy Cut Proposal Now Officially On Table (FSLR, ESLR, SPWR, YGE, SOLF, STP, CSIQ)
Solarfun Power (SOLF), Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and Others: 50%+ Exposure To Spain (YGE, SPWR, STP, CSIQ, SOLF)
Spain Solar Subsidy Proposal Crushes Yingli Green Energy (YGE), Solarfun (SOLF), First Solar (FSLR), et al (YGE, SOLF, STP, FSLR, SPWR, WFR)