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This Week in Solar

By Toby Shute - Updated Apr 5, 2017 at 7:59PM

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The race to grid parity, one week at a time.

From name changes and asset sales to gloomy guidance and power plants on a large scale, I present to you the solar week that was.

On Monday, EverQ kicked its IPO and took a new name. The joint venture of Q-Cells, Renewable Energy Corp, and Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ:ESLR) will henceforth be known as Sovello. The manufacturer of String Ribbon-based solar modules, which had been anticipating a spring 2009 public offering, is putting its IPO on ice until the market warms up a bit.

Also on Monday, ReneSola (NYSE:SOL) jettisoned a polysilicon joint venture that the wafer maker had helped form in 2007. The company sold its half-stake for about double its initial investment. With the preponderance of poly now hitting the market, not to mention in-house production at its Sichuan plant, ReneSola probably needs the cash more than it needs a tightly integrated silicon supply chain at this juncture.

Q-Cells caused a commotion on Tuesday, leading shares of everyone from First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) to Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL) down by double digits. The German photovoltaic powerhouse slashed its outlook through 2009, citing financing difficulties among its customers. This is the same old story we've been seeing since last month, and following Suntech Power's (NYSE:STP) stunner, I'm frankly surprised that anyone was surprised by Q-Cells' report.

Q-Cells also mentioned laying off temporary workers, and it's far from the only company doing some right-sizing. Solar equipment supplier GT Solar confirmed this week that it's let go of about 10% of its New Hampshire-based workforce, all within its manufacturing division. Once again, we have the ever-vigilant local press to thank for bringing this company's activities to our attention.

Also slashing guidance this week was JA Solar (NASDAQ:JASO). Again, after it reported that it had idled 40% of its production lines last month, this news isn't exactly coming out of the blue.

Speaking of blue, I don't want to leave my readers completely bummed out, so here's an indication that some giant solar projects are still moving forward. China's Huaneng Group, parent of Huaneng Power (NYSE:HNP), has begun building the country's largest solar power plant, at a cost of more than $1 billion. So just because projects like the desert behemoth out in Arizona are in financing limbo, doesn't mean large-scale solar development has dropped off entirely.

Suntech Power and Huaneng Power are both Rule Breakers recommendations, and Huaneng Power is also an Income Investor selection. See if you take a shine to any of our Foolish newsletters with a free 30-day trial.

Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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Stocks Mentioned

First Solar, Inc. Stock Quote
First Solar, Inc.
FSLR
$116.30 (-0.59%) $0.69
ReneSola Ltd Stock Quote
ReneSola Ltd
SOL
$6.34 (-3.94%) $0.26
Huaneng Power International, Inc. Stock Quote
Huaneng Power International, Inc.
HNP
$20.05 (2.82%) $0.55

*Average returns of all recommendations since inception. Cost basis and return based on previous market day close.

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