Are Investors in the Dark About Solar?

Aside from analyst reports and company statements, investors have another way to decide what to do about their stock in a company.  They could read each others advise on opinion comment boards of financial news websites.

The solar energy company First Solar hit a new low of 85.28 this week possibly in part to downgrades from Merrill Lynch and Hapoalim Securities.  Even Jim Cramer who touted the stock a few weeks ago now recommends that investors sell.

But on comment boards across several business news sites, the response from individuals to the recommended downgrades continue to be bullish on the solar energy sector. What should investors do?

Granted the bias of online commentators could be the desire to push the price of solar stocks upwards.  However, in this irrational world some of these comments seem to offer some sense about how solar is inevitable and useful despite the economic considerations.

Gumby posted to on Nov. 18, stated that:

We have no choice but to forge ahead and take in reasonable losses as we build out our alternate energy developments toward a major role in our energy landscape. From there, we will be in a much stronger position to thwart even worse misdeeds that may be borne by our fossil fuel industries by being better and stronger enough to grow even more toward the ultimate energy independence from fossil fuel industries.

Magic1962 posted on Nov. 20 on MarketWatch,

The “Green energy” stocks will probably be in the forefront of companies coming back after all is said and done, as long as there is money to be spent on this sector by Corporations, Local and State Governments. There may be nothing left to invest to make us oil independent… when all the auto makers and all the other workers lose their jobs, they should be able to be retrained and work in factories making solar, wind components and have others installing it since there does seem to be a shortage of installers and people to maintain it.

Jeturcotte posted on Nov. 19 on Motley Fool,

Only difficult I have with all this… given all the fantastic innovations recently, and the pure fact that they allow for this, the most responsible means of acquiring energy, to work better than ever, there should be absolutely no question that solar is going to be a critical part of the future world… simply because it must be. Fossil fuels are finite and potentially world-threatening as well, akin to biofuels which we’ll not be able to produce in vast enough quantities to slake our thirst even if they produced no emissions at all… windmills have moving parts, which doth mean potential market in their maintenance however… and hydro and geothermal will be around for a long time, but cannot increase at the same pace that civilization does (whereas solar can)… and finally, there is also a limited amount of nuclear fuel out there, and its use is dangerous and centralized (making it, like most plants, a potential point of attack for all sorts of ne’er-do-wells) whereas solar can be ubiquitous and distributed.

If most of the public supports solar power than analyst’s reports about a glut of solar panels that will cause a decrease in the price of each panel could help the public finally afford it.

And perhaps, the stock price is overvalued but the largest company in the world, Walmart, still trades between 40 and 60 dollars.  Does that mean Walmart is not a good or investment?

The estate of the heir of the Walmart Corporation, John Walton, is the largest investor in First Solar. Perhaps the Waltons know something the market doesn’t.

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