What happened

Solar farm developer ReneSola (NYSE:SOL) is ending the week on a strong note, reporting preliminary earnings results last night and promising to give full details in an earnings report Dec. 1. Investors seem pretty happy with just the preliminary numbers, already, and aren't waiting around for the full results to start buying.

ReneSola stock is up 24% as of 10:45 a.m. EST.

Solar panel with sun in the background

Image source: Getty Images.

So what

Heading into third-quarter 2020 earnings, analysts were not optimistic, warning that ReneSola's sales could potentially fall as much as 85% year over year (to less than $10 million) and that the company would earn nothing on those sales.  

And they may be right about the revenue number. ReneSola says it expects sales for the quarter that just ended will be "at the high end" of its previous guidance for $8 million to $10 million in revenue, and that this is a "solid" number. However, gross profit margin on those sales will be above previous guidance for 38% to 42%, helping the company to end the quarter with at least $2 million in net profits, which management points out "significantly exceed the current analyst consensus estimates."

Now what

How much is "at least $2 million" when converted to the per-share earnings investors are more familiar with? Well, according to the latest data from S&P Global Market Intelligence, ReneSola has 53.2 million shares outstanding. Divide $2 million over that many shares, and you're still looking at close to $0.04 per share in profit.

Admittedly, that's less than the $0.06 per share that ReneSola earned in last year's Q3, but it's still a whole lot more than nothing. And that, in a nutshell, is why investors are happy about ReneSola today.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.