From the Arizona Republic:
Analysts say high-flying First Solar Inc. of Phoenix could continue to gain altitude, projecting its shares to rise as much as $100 or so from their Thursday close of $248.
The reports follow moves by two top executives this week to exercise options that netted them more than $5 million because of the stock's huge gains in the past year.
The stock closed even higher Thursday despite the U.S. Senate stripping renewable-energy incentives from the energy bill being considered in Congress, which would have helped the company expand into the U.S. market.
But analysts say the company doesn't need any help from lawmakers. They now project First Solar to beat its competitors in the race to make traditionally expensive solar power as cheap as traditional energy such as coal.
"We expect First Solar will be able to sell its modules at $2.10 per watt (of electricity it can generate by late 2009), which we believe is equivalent to traditional electricity costs in sunny regions," USB Securities analyst Stephen Chin wrote in a report suggesting a price target of $350 for First Solar shares.
The company sells its thin solar panels for use in large generating plants, and most of its business is in Germany.
"We expect the company to next focus on Spain, France and Italy, and then focus on Canada, Greece, Portugal, South Korea and the United States," Chin said....MORE