While I've long been a fan of this best-of-breed solar company, First Solar
Not that there's anything wrong with 30% sales growth compared with the second quarter. That's nothing to sneeze at, Fools. But given that First Solar carefully matches supply to demand, and opts for long-term visibility over full-tilt expansion, there's not a lot of room here for upside surprises.
Execution and efficiency are where First Solar truly flourishes. A year ago, I believed the company's 30% operating margins could not be sustained. They have now pushed north of 37%. This level of profitability simply blows away competitors like Suntech Power
The reason I thought margins would not hold is that First Solar implements self-imposed price cuts in its long-term contracts. So far, costs are outpacing sales prices in this limbo match. Cost per watt hit $1.08 in the third quarter, and some plants are now producing at under a dollar.
Fans of SunPower
SolarCity offers an attractive financing solution, in partnership with Morgan Stanley