Sometimes a high-growth business can be a land mine for investors trying to catch the upswing. Case in point: power inverters.
Massive growth in solar module installations during 2010 has led to huge growth for inverter manufacturers. But that growth hasn't translated into profits for investors who have held on through earnings season.
Earlier this month, Power-One
A slightly different story played out at competitor Satcon Technology
This is the downside of high expectations, but there are some factors that should give investors hope for the future. Satcon's gross margins are up to 28.2% from 13.2% last year showing better operations. The market is also moving into Satcon's wheelhouse with utility-scale projects becoming a larger chunk of solar installations. Power-One has made a living on smaller projects, but Satcon could be a big winner with utility scale projects.
There will also be competition from American Superconductor
Inverter manufacturers are riding in the same choppy waters solar manufacturers have been navigating for years. There always seems to be something for investors to nitpick, but they continue to grow quarter after quarter. In the long run, that growth will pay off for investors, but don't expect a smooth ride.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of American Superconductor and has sold put options on the stock. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.
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