Thursday, November 8, 2007

cnet on First Solar (FSLR), a good read

From cnet:

It's official. First Solar is the Google of solar companies.

The Phoenix, Ariz.-based maker of cadmium telluride solar cells and panels has soared past the $200 a share mark. It was up to $230 today and is currently trading at about $219.

...Analysts expected revenues of $120 million and earnings per share of 19 cents this quarter. The financial results were announced yesterday. There is some speculation fever built into the stock price. The price-to-earnings ratio currently hovers around 287, fairly high, even by 1998 Internet bubble standards. But the company is making money.

Unlike silicon solar-cell makers or the armies of CIGS (copper indium gallium selenide) manufacturers, First Solar extracts electricity from thin films of cadmium telluride (a semiconductor made from cadmium and tellurium) on glass.

Although they are not as efficient as silicon cells, cadmium tellurium cells are comparatively cheap to make and are fairly robust. They operate in a wide temperature range and in a variety of light conditions, including dawn and dusk. In other words, cadmium telluride is the Honda Civic of solar-panel material.

The company isn't facing a material shortage, like silicon manufacturers, and it is producing product, unlike the vast majority of CIGS companies....MORE