First Solar Reaches Four-Year Low on Loan Guarantee Concerns
First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the world’s largest maker of thin-film solar modules, dropped to a four-year low after a congressional committee questioned the U.S. Energy Department’s loan guarantee program.
First Solar fell $5.69, or 7.2 percent, to $73.52 in Nasdaq Stock Market trading. The shares haven’t traded that low since June 12, 2007.
First Solar has said it expects to close $4.38 billion in Energy Department loan guarantees by a Sept. 30 deadline for three solar projects it’s developing.
The House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce yesterday sent a letter to Energy Secretary Steven Chu expressing concern that guarantees that have not yet closed may be rushed to meet the deadline. The program has come under fire since Solyndra LLC, a solar company that received about $527 in guarantees, filed for bankruptcy Sept. 6.
“The three First Solar projects that have outstanding loan applications are essential” to our earnings forecasts for 2012 and 2013, Dan Ries, an analyst at Collins Stewart LLC in New York, said today in a note to clients. He has a “buy” rating on the shares.
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