We've already seen the soft results from shops like SunPower
First up is Applied Materials
In a sense, the solar business (falling within the company's energy and environmental solutions segment) was something of a bright spot in Applied Materials' rough fiscal second-quarter report. Segment sales more than quadrupled from last year, and rose 22% sequentially. The other three segments experienced declines, with the core semiconductor business dropping roughly 80% from last year's sales levels. That's just staggering.
The bad news is that new solar orders dropped off sharply, registering a 56% plunge from last quarter. As with First Solar
The difference between Applied Materials and the thin-film module slingers is that the latter companies are stepping in to help certain customers finance their projects. Applied refuses to do this, with management stating that it sees little added value in "playing the role of a bank."
Meanwhile, anyone banking on sunny results from GT Solar
As with Applied Materials, GT saw its backlog dip sequentially, but the percentage decline was only half as steep. I think that pretty much sums up the state of the solar capital equipment business: It's bad, but less bad than what's going on in semiconductors and other manufacturing businesses.
Fool contributor Toby Shute doesn't have a position in any company mentioned. Check out his CAPS profile or follow his articles using Twitter or RSS. The Motley Fool's disclosure policy knows that sometimes you're the windshield, and sometimes you're the bug.