What happened

Bloom Energy (BE 7.44%) took a roller-coaster ride on Thursday, tumbling 5.3% in the first few minutes of trading before quickly reversing course. The fuel stock was up 3.9% as of 1:40 p.m. EDT.

Bloom Energy's second-quarter numbers missed Wall Street estimates, but investors know better than to pay heed to consensus estimates when a company in the high-potential renewable energy industry is clearly performing well.

So what

Here are some key numbers from Bloom Energy's Q2 report:

  1. Revenue: up 21.6% year over year to $228.5 million.
  2. Gross margin: up to 16.3% from 14% in Q2 2020.
  3. GAAP earnings per share: loss of $0.31 per share versus a loss of $0.34 per share in Q2 2020.

Bloom Energy missed estimates on both its top and bottom lines, which explains why the stock tumbled on opening today. Its average selling price (ASP) also dropped 14% year over year, but a 13.5% drop in its total installed system costs (TISC) helped the company maintain its upfront margin at around 19%.

Bloom Energy had more positive news to share.

A person raising his hands in celebration while looking at stock price charts on a computer screen.

Image source: Getty Images.

First, its acceptances -- the number of fuel cell energy servers that were delivered and installed -- surged 41.5% year over year to hit a record high of 433 units. Since Bloom Energy recognizes orders as revenue only when they're accepted, an increase in acceptances indicates stronger sales volumes and, therefore, stronger demand for fuel cells.

Second, Bloom Energy generated positive cash flow from operations worth $53.7 million during the second quarter. This marked a milestone investors have long waited for.

Third, while its total debt remained flat at around $519 million, Bloom Energy ended the quarter with a stronger cash balance of $400.5 million, up 24% year over year.

Now what

Although lower ASP isn't encouraging, management stressed that this was due to a particular order secured at a lower margin. Bloom Energy claims none of the other projects in its existing backlog should hurt its margin like this particular order, which it considers an "outlier."

What matters more for fuel cell companies is their ability to control costs. Low costs are their key to achieving profitability given that their ASP is usually customer-specific, dynamic, and dependent on several external factors. Bloom Energy's overall product cost declined roughly 5% year in Q2.

With the company also reiterating its full-year revenue guidance of $950 million to $1 billion, representing 20% to 26% growth over 2020, investors continue to remain bullish about this industry-leading stock.