This Week in Solarhttp://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/04/13/this-week-in-solar-8.aspx Travis Hoium
April 13, 2013
This week, the solar industry went through a number of interesting changes, and at least one company may have altered its future for the better. Most solar stocks were higher this week, but it's been a topsy-turvy month in the solar industry because investors don't know whether companies are coming or going.
At the end of the day, a lot of these movements are noise, and investors should still be looking for differentiated companies with strong balance sheets that can survive long-term. Who made moves in that direction this week? Let's get to it.
Better than expected
Getting into the high-efficiency market
The new road map is aggressive, but First Solar has one of the best research and development teams in the industry, and I think it has a good chance of reaching these goals. What may matter more than First Solar's progress in thin film is how quickly crystalline silicon modules are able to increase efficiency over the same time frame. As I said, SunPower is already producing modules at 21.5% efficiency, and this year GT Advanced Technologies (NASDAQ: GTAT) is introducing equipment it says will increase crystalline cell efficiencies by 4% or more to more than 22% efficient (about a 20% efficient module).
The entire industry is pushing efficiency higher every year, and for First Solar's CdTe modules to stay relevant in the utility space, where they're primarily used, they need to keep pace. This is a step in the right direction.
Getting into enemy territory