SolarCity Corp Remains Top Solar Pick: Goldman

SolarCity Corp Remains Top Solar Pick: Goldman
By BrokenSphere (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

SolarCity shares have gotten killed over the last month or so, declining 27% even though there has been a rash of positive data points on the company recently. The solar panel installer posted solid results for the second quarter, finished its fourth asset-backed security, and started its first international expansion, moving into Mexico.

SolarCity unaffected by sector-wide problems

Goldman Sachs analysts Brian Lee, Hank Elder and Kensey Berry think the reason for Wall Street’s bearishness on SolarCity is related to the broader trends in the sector, specifically the availability of financing and the cost of capital. They believe other solar stocks besides SolarCity are also being negatively impacted by these sector trends even though they are not impacted by them.

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The analysts see an opportunity in SolarCity because of the weakness related to issues that do not impact it. The company’s shares are close to a two-year low even though its fundamentals are still strong.

SPI trade show approaching

They listed three potential catalysts they see for SolarCity over the next several months. The first is Solar Power International, which begins on Sept. 14 and has previously been a catalyst for U.S. solar stocks. Historically, the stocks of U.S.-based have gained about 14% around the trade show, which is the largest solar trade show in the U.S., over the last three years.

They say because of the recent weakness in SolarCity shares, they think investors’ expectations remain low going into the show. As a result, they think solar stocks in general could again end up outperforming this year before the year ends. They add that data points will probably be positive for growth in the U.S. and continued reduction in costs.

SolarCity expected to hold analyst day

Although SolarCity has not announced an analyst day, the Goldman Sachs team thinks the company will hold one sometime in the second half of the year. They believe the company will focus on the ramp of its Silevo Solar business located in California. SolarCity acquired Silevo (a startup that has made strides in the use of silicon in solar modules to reduce the cost of and improve the performance of those modules) last year.

They do think management’s guidance could be limited, but they believe if SolarCity gives investors a glimpse into how the Silevo business is going, it could be an upward catalyst for the company’s stock. The main reason for this is because investors have been concerned about whether the technology being developed by Silevo is ready and what the costs of that tech will look like. Thus far, Silevo’s tech is unproven.

SolarCity could issue another ABS

The Goldman team also pointed to comments from SolarCity management which suggested that we could see a fifth asset-backed security issue sometime soon. They also think the company is working on restructuring its debt and could introduce that new structure “in the near-to-medium term.” Because investors are concerned that government tax equities will start to wane in 2017, the analysts believe more visibility into new capital sources would be an upward catalyst for the company’s stock.

The Goldman Sachs team rates SolarCity as a Conviction List Buy with a price target of $85 per share. SolarCity Chairman and Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk also expressed his bullishness on the company recently by snapping up some more shares during the recent dip.

As of this writing, shares of the stock were down 0.1% at $43.83 per share in afternoon trades.

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