First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) shares jumped 2.12% to $73.18 on Thursday after Stifel analyst Sven Eenmaa raised the price target from $75 to $81. Stifel has a Buy rating on the stock. First Solar has been pursuing international deals aggressively as the U.S. utility-scale solar market shows signs of a slowdown. Eenmaa sees significant growth opportunity for the Tempe, Arizona-based company.
First Solar has an unsold project portfolio of 1.4GW
Yesterday, TerraForm Power Inc (NASDAQ:TERP) said at its earnings call that it would focus on third-party project acquisitions to increase cash flows available for distribution. On September 2, NextEra Energy Inc (NYSE:NEE) also expressed intentions of third-party project acquisitions. They will likely consider solar and wind assets and utility-scale projects.
Stifel said TerraForm and NextEra Energy’s statements were positive for First Solar’s unsold project portfolio. Both these companies already have First Solar utility-scale projects in their respective portfolios. As of early August, the James Hughes-led company has about 1.4GW of unsold project portfolio.
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Meanwhile, First Solar has secured loan to build a 141MW solar project in Chile. It will be the largest solar farm in South America. The company also said recently that it was developing multiple solar projects in Japan, totaling 250MW. First Solar plans to invest $100 million in Japan. What’s more, the company has also announced to build a 45MW solar plant in India.
First Solar backlog to increase ahead of the ITC step-down
First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced new bookings of a whopping 810MW during the second-quarter this year. Stifel believes First Solar’s backlog will benefit substantially as demand rises ahead of the Investment Tax Credit step-down in 2016. The company management has said in the past that it was pursuing several opportunities. Eenmaa expects First Solar to announce outcomes of the big utility-scale request-for-proposals later this month or in October.
Stifel’s revised 12-month price target of $81 is 17x the research firms FY2015 EPS estimate of $4.88. For the current year, the research firm expects First Solar to generate full-year earnings of $2.70 per share.