SolarCity Corp Misses Big-Time, First Solar, Inc. Beats Big-Time

SolarCity Corp Misses Big-Time, First Solar, Inc. Beats Big-Time
By BrokenSphere (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

SolarCity and First Solar released their third quarter earnings reports after closing bell tonight. SolarCity posted adjusted losses of $2.10 per share and revenue of $113.9 million. Analysts had been expecting losses of $1.95 per share and revenue of $111.43 million. In last year’s third quarter, the company reported a surprise profit of 19 cents per share and $58.34 million in revenue.

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First Solar reported preliminary GAAP earnings of $3.38 per share (which may not be comparable to the consensus) and net revenue of $1.3 billion. Analysts had been expecting earnings of $1.55 per share and revenue of $1.11 billion. The solar company expects to release its finalized results on Nov. 9. In last year’s third quarter, First Solar reported earnings of 87 cents per share and revenue of $889 million.

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SolarCity shares plunge after wider than expected loss

SolarCity installed 256 megawatts of solar at a cost of $2.84 per watt and recorded $239 million in incremental economic value creation. The company ended the quarter with 1.6 gigawatts of energy contracts cumulatively installed and record levels of energy production. SolarCity management had guided for about 260 megawatts of installation during the third quarter.

Net retained value was about $33 per basic share or $3.3 billion. SolarCity’s estimate nominal contracted payments rose 115% to $8.9 billion, and cumulative customers rose 77% to $298,030. The company booked 345 megawatts, a 50% increase, during the quarter.

The company entered the fourth quarter on track for about 280 megawatts “plus a backlog stretching well into 2016.” Management guided for between 280 and 300 megawatts in installation for the fourth quarter. They expect non-GAAP loss per share of between $2.60 and $2.75 per share.

It should be noted that short interest in SolarCity is quite high, with almost 44% of the company’s shares being sold short. Kynikos Associates’ Jim Chanos is among those with the biggest short positions.

As of this writing, shares of SolarCity were down 16.89% at $38.07 per share.

First Solar to release final results next month

First Solar said it is analyzing “a discrete income tax matter related to a foreign jurisdiction,” which is why today’s earnings report isn’t final. The company expects that the matter could negatively impact its results by up to $40 million. First Solar said it sold more third party modules and saw higher systems revenue across multiple projects, which raised its quarterly revenue.

“We had tremendous execution in the third quarter from both a financial and bookings perspective,” said Jim Hughes, CEO of First Solar. “We have now exceeded our book-to-bill target for the year, booked over 1GWdc of volume with deliveries after 2016, achieved strong quarterly earnings and have significantly raised our full year earnings guidance. We remain confident in our long term strategy and our ability to execute successfully.”

First Solar management also raised their full year earnings guidance to a range of $4.30 to $4.50 per share. They continue to expect net sales of $3.5 billion to $3.6 billion but raised their gross margin guide to a range of 24% to 25%.

As of this writing, shares of First Solar were up 11.55% at $56.88 per share.

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