Canadian Solar Surges on Increased Panel Demand in Japan

Canadian Solar Inc., the Ontario-based solar-panel company with manufacturing operations in China, rose to a 22-month high as surging demand in Japan helped boost first-quarter shipments beyond the company’s forecast.

Canadian Solar gained 9 percent to $9.39 at the close in New York, the highest since July 2011. The company has more than doubled this year.

The company shipped 340 megawatts of modules in the first quarter, Guelph, Ontario-based Canadian Solar said today in a statement. That beat its March forecast of 290 megawatts to 310 megawatts.

Shipments to Japan swelled 76 percent from the fourth quarter and accounted for 25 percent of Canadian Solar’s total deliveries.

Solar demand in the world’s third-largest economy is “strong” and is approaching an annual run-rate of 7 gigawatts to 9 gigawatts, Vishal Shah, a New York-based analyst for Deutsche Bank AG, wrote in a note to investors yesterday. Germany was the biggest solar market last year, with 7.6 gigawatts of panels installed, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

Canadian Solar expects to ship 380 megawatts to 420 megawatts of panels in the current quarter, and as much as 40 percent may go to Japan. The country is promoting wider use of solar power after the March 2011 disaster in Fukushima prompted a reevaluation of nuclear energy.

Revenue fell 19 percent from a year earlier to $263.6 million. Sales in Japan may account for 30 percent of the company’s total this year, Chief Executive Officer Shawn Qu said today on a conference call with analysts.

“So far, we haven’t seen many brand-name competitors in that market,” Qu said. Canadian Solar began selling panels there in 2009, “earlier” than some rivals.

Sales in Japan were 9.3 percent of the company’s total last year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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