10 January 2008

Clean Tech: First Solar Giving Me Heartburn

A week ago I confessed to some trepidation about all the buzz going on about solar energy. I feared a bubble -- or worse, a blister.

I scanned and scoured the analysis and research on First Solar FSLR, a company I have been tracking for some time and in which I own some stock. First Call, Channel Trend, Ford, investment sites, top stock bloggers, you name it. I went back to their quarterly conference call and listened again. I reviewed all my notes and thoughts and analysis. I was doing my homework. Times and markets like these require lots of homework.

In the end, I concluded that the solar market is not a bubble, that demand will be growing, and that First Solar was in a prime position because it is a market leader in thin film panels, it has already achieved an impressive conversion rate for efficiency, management has a good long-term growth plan, and it is close to securing a long-term supply of one of its chief components.

So on Friday, I increased my position and bought additional shares. So far, so good.

Only, I bought those additional shares at 250 and it has been sliding down ever since, hitting its nadir yesterday at 210 before hiking back up to a respectable 234 -- but still way lower than the 52-week high. Luckily, it's balanced out in my protfolio by earlier gains.

Just goes to show you, all the due diligence in the world cannot predict what the market will do.

Disclosure: I'm still long on First Solar. I also own a position in China Sunergy, which has been getting burned by solar blister, too.

Pass the sunscreen.

No comments: