It’s a big week for solar stocks as several major companies within the industry are due to release their earnings reports. Today especially is key for the solar industry because we’re expecting reports from SolarCity, Solaredge Technologies and SunPower. Shares of all three firms tumbled as a result of Donald Trump’s surprise win, and SunPower even earned an analyst downgrade due to Trump’s expected support for traditional energy, despite the earnings release that’s due in a matter of hours.
Solar stocks hit by Trump’s election
Solar stocks as a whole took a fall on Trump’s win, with SunPower stock declining by as much as 13.22% to $6.37 and SolarCity shares off by as much as 5.94% to $19.61. Solaredge Technologies shares declined by as much as 4.39% to $14.15 per share, while Vivint Solar slumped by as much as 8.58% to $2.93. The Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) fell by roughly 5% to $17.89.
Meanwhile traditional energy companies such as Chesapeake Energy and Valero Energy enjoyed gains on Wednesday, with the former climbing by as much as 5.83% to $5.63 and the latter rising by as much as 5.88% to $61.56.
SunPower downgraded to Neutral
In a note dated Sept. 9, Bank of America Merrill Lynch analyst Krish Sankar said he downgraded SunPower from Buy to Neutral and slashed his price objective in half to $10 per share. He expects investor sentiment on solar stocks to keep falling thanks to Trump, who has said he plans to cut federal spending on climate change by up to $100 billion over eight years. The president-elect said he will do this by eliminating climate programs such as the Paris Climate Agreement, but Sankar warned that policy changes that could damage the sector may be on the horizon.
He noted that residential solar is particularly sensitive to such policy changes and added that he doesn’t see an “immediate catalyst” for SunPower. He expects some policies such as the Investment Tax Credit to stay in place while others such as Net Metering may not have such positive outcomes.
Trump not expected to be friendly to solar
He added that investors were expecting Hillary Clinton to win, which may be one reason solar stocks reacted so negatively to Trump’s win. Hillary’s platform featured the Clean Energy Challenge, a 140GW solar installation target and other policies that are friendly to green energy companies. Trump, on the other hand, is pushing to lower corporate taxes, causing developers to not need tax equity financing as much and increasing the need for traditional financing. This would be negative for balance sheets and parent companies’ valuation metrics, and Krishnar warned that it could be a problem for yieldcos.
Other analysts are warning that this may not be such a good time to be in solar stocks either. CFRA analyst Angelo Zino told MarketWatch that Trump and his Republican-led Congress present “significant risks” to the possibility of reduced or eliminated federal tax credits for solar products, which were extended toward the end of 2015.