This is your SolarWakeup for February 17th, 2017

I supportish Solar. This Governor’s letter about a carbon tax is utter nonsense. Yes, it makes everyone feel good and fluffy inside that maybe the Country is unifying around saving the polar bears and solar will be on every house. That’s not how politics works. The NRA spends barely any money compared to their industry’s profits, what they do is activate a million phone calls and swarm a legislator if they step out of line. Solar could have the same exact impact, our associations should have a phone and email list in the 10’s of millions that activate when called upon. Want to change the law? Make it political. How do you think solar won all of those net metering battles before we started losing?

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California is flat. You saw it here first several months ago. Residential data in California doesn’t look pretty, new interconnect apps are down and now installers have to transition to NEM 2.0. With more on the grid, you are going to see slowing growth rates which makes sense but doesn’t bode well for the public companies. Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii are basically closed as markets and they were leading the pack behind California. I’m not saying it’s doomsday but OneRoof, Verengo and NRG Home Solar are all out of the residential market. If I am selling into the residential supply chain, I would figure out my plan B quickly because cheap Chinese goods are coming for any margin that may still exist.

Time to buy? Last week I said it would make sense for First Solar and SunPower to join forces. Yes, Buffett says that two desperate companies don’t make a profitable bigger one but I think we can look behind the curtain here. First Solar has a strong balance sheet and remains quite competitive in the utility scale business. Governments and utilities are not going to stop their solar farm build out and Series 6 modules are pretty impressive albeit the write down the company has to take to skip Series 5. First Solar could be a buyer here, the SunPower technology has a strong footprint in the residential sector that is growing, cash and loan deals, with the independent contractor base they have built for the past decade. With a market cap under a billion, the technology is becoming intriguing as an acquisition target.


Have a great day!