SOURCE: Research Driven Investing

Research Driven Investing

February 13, 2013 08:20 ET

First Solar and SunPower Surge After Receiving "Buy" Rating From CitiGroup

RDInvesting Provides Stock Research on First Solar and SunPower

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 13, 2013) - After struggling through most of 2012, the solar industry has started 2013 on an impressive run. Both the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (KWT) and the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) have gained nearly 20 percent year-to-date. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Solar Industry and provides equity research on First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ: FSLR) and SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR).

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Solar companies received a boost last week after analysts from Citigroup's global solar sector research team initiated coverage on several companies in the industry. First Solar, Inc. and SunPower Corp. were the biggest gainers after receiving an initial "buy" rating from Citi, while Trina Solar Ltd. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. benefited from a "neutral" rating. 

"The upstream segment of the solar value chain is going through a permanent structural shift -- mainly the commoditization of the panel manufacturing business," wrote Citigroup analyst Shahriar Pourreza.

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Having constructed and commissioned many of the world's largest, state-of-the-art photovoltaic (PV) power plants in operation today, First Solar has established a portfolio of customers that include some of the world's most sophisticated energy buyers. The company is scheduled to release results for the fourth quarter 2012 on Monday, February 25th. Shares of First Solar have spiked over 15 percent in the past week.

SunPower solar panels deliver 44% more power than conventional panels of the same size. At the core of each solar system is patented SunPower Maxeon cell technology. Built on a solid copper foundation, SunPower cells are impervious to the stresses that typically cause standard cells to fail. Shares of the company have surged over 70 percent year-to-date.

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