First Solar (FSLR): Competitive and Technology Risks, Stock Fairly Priced

Wedbush Morgan has reservations about First Solar (FSLR). Increased competition and new technologies are threatening the front-runner (Barron’s):

Thin-film manufacturing competitive landscape intensifies:

Q-cells (of Germany), Masdar PV (of the United Arab Emerites), Sunfilm (of Germany) and Signet Solar (closely held) are among the companies who have announced thin film capacity expansion in the past few months, adding to the manufacturing capacity expansions already in process from existing players such as First Solar (FSLR), Nanosolar (closely held), Heliovolt (closely held), and Sharp (listed in Japan). As a provider of turnkey manufacturing services using its proprietary thin film manufacturing processes, Applied Material’s (AMAT) SunFab division has been able to capitalise on the increasing popularity of thin film.

Technological advances continue to improve solar conversion efficiencies:

On May 12, 2008, SunPower announced it had produced a full-scale five-inch prototype solar cell with conversion efficiency of 23.4%…By way of comparison, First Solar reported first-quarter 2008 average conversion efficiency of 10.6%.

Wedbush maintains a HOLD on First Solar (FSLR), target price is $260.

See Also:

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