The tug of war between bears and bulls in the solar sector continued this week, with the bulls finally gaining some ground on Friday after what had been a bearish week.
Solar stocks closed mixed Friday despite a flash of good news that could dispel a cloud that has hung over the market for months: New Energy Finance (via Clean Edge) reports that the Spanish government plans to boost a previously proposed cap on solar power capacity, quoting press reports and industry insiders.
The ministry of industry, tourism and trade now plans to allow up to 450MW of capacity in 2009 and 2010, according to multiple media reports. That is above the annual 300MW cap suggested by the ministry in a draft proposal to the Spanish energy commission in July.
It’s not the 1 gigawatt level that many had hoped Spain would lift the cap to, but industry pressure on Spain is likely to remain heavy so there’s the possibility of more concessions. SunPower, Suntech and Yingli -often mentioned as the companies with the greatest exposure to the Spanish market – were flat to 4 percent higher on the news.
Friday also saw Hoku Scientific, a maker of polysilicon used in solar modules, rocket up 14 percent to $6.32 after Hoku signed more than $1 billion in contracts to supply polysilicon with three companies, Kinko Energy, Tianwei New Energy and Wealthy Rise International. To manage the deals, Hoko terminated a suply contract with Sanyo Electric and Solar Fabrik AG.
As of Thursday’s close, the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy ETF had fallen 9 percent over the previous five days. It started off Friday falling even further before the positive news lifted shares again.
Friday continued a pattern in the sector established in the past few weeks of solar stocks drifting down in the absence of news, with investors reacting encouragingly to individual companies with positive news. That may be a fluke, but it may also be a sign that some of the momentum that had driven stocks – upward and downward – over the past year has moderated for now.