Wednesday, January 20, 2010

German Solar Subsidy Cut 15%; Company by Company Exposure (FSLR; STP; YGE)

Call it the revolt of the hausfraus. They made a billionaire of First Solar's Michael Ahern. FSLR is trading down $3.04 at $120.90, considerably below the May 16, 2008 closing price of $311.14
As 24/7 Wall Street commented at the time:
...While an insider sell of 250,000 shares isn’t normally a big sale elsewhere, it represents a larger number than most people will ever see in their lifetimes. First Solar shares closed down almost 5% today at $295.90. At that price this represents nearly $74 million worth of common stock. But his share sale prices came mostly north of $305.00 per share on May 15 and May 16, so the amount of funds raised was probably closer to $77 million....
Mr. Ahearn should get down on his knees every morning to thank Gott for those Teutonic ratepayers.

A twofer from Reuters:
* Aid for roof sites to fall 15 pct from April

* Cuts for open field, farmland sites seen for July

* Shares in German solar stocks extend losses

(Adds fund manager quote, share reaction)

By Markus Wacket

BERLIN, Jan 20 (Reuters) - German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen proposed a 15 percent cut in support for new roof-mounted solar power, a bid to ease the industry towards free competition but a slightly smaller reduction than expected.

The cut confirmed figures earlier published by Reuters and will take effect from April. It amounts to slightly less than the 16 to 17 percent reduction to the so-called feed-in tariffs that sources said last week was being eyed. [ID:nLDE60D273] Roettgen added that the tariffs for solar energy generated from open field and farmland sites should also be cut from July, by 15 percent and 25 percent respectively.

Cuts in public support will weigh on companies like Q-Cells (QCEG.DE), Phoenix Solar (PS4G.DE) and SolarWord (SWVG.DE), which depend on demand from Germany, the world's biggest market for solar energy as measured by installed capacity.

Proponents of cuts say the industry is overly subsidised. Prices for solar products have fallen by as much as 50 percent over the last year, which has increased pressure on industry players to have more efficient production and become more competitive....MORE


FACTBOX: Sales exposure to Germany's solar market

The German government said Wednesday it would propose to cut solar feed-in tariffs -- prices utilities have to pay generators of renewable energy -- by an additional 15 percent.

With Germany being the world's biggest solar market by installed capacity, this will put pressure on industry players around the world.

Following are key facts about some of the world's biggest solar companies and their sales exposure to Germany based on the latest available information:

* Q-Cells, one of the world biggest makers of solar cells, made 56 percent of its sales in the first nine months of 2009 in Germany.

* U.S. First Solar, set to become the world's largest maker of solar cells, said it made 60-70 percent of its sales in Germany last year....MORE