Within the year 2010, solar cells with a total electricity power of 27.3 gigawatt were produced, equaling an annual energy production of nearly 30 nuclear power plants. The real performance is much lower.
Most of the solar power cells (nearly every second cell) were produced in China. Within the country, green energy still plays no significant role. Most of the production was exported, mainly to Europe. Especially in Germany has the highest rate of installed solar power cells thanks to the generous support by the government.
Biggest player in the industry is Suntech Power (STP) with a total production of 1.5 gigawatt in fiscal 2010. Second biggest solar company is JA Solar (JASO) with an annual production of 1.4 gigawatt. Yingli (YGE) and Trina Solar (TSL) follow. 4 of the 5 biggest solar manufacturers are home based in China. The biggest U.S. player is First Solar (FSLR) on rang 3. FSRL is also one of the best 100 U.S. growth companies researched by Fortune Magazine. Here are the production figures:
Suntech power: 1585 megawatt
JA Solar: 1463 megawatt
First Solar: 1412 megawatt
Yingli: 1060 megawatt
Trina Solar: 1050 megawatt
Q-Cells: 1014 megawatt
Motech: 945 megawatt
The average current P/E ratio of the American listed solar energy stocks amounts to 8.81. Solar stocks are high volatile and pay no dividends. Price to book ratio is 1.58 and price to sales ratio 1.46. The companies are working with an average operating margin of 19.42 percent. The average return on equity is 24.03 percent. Here is the table with some more fundamentals:
Despite the positive growth momentum, many solar stocks run sideways. This has mainly two reasons: The high price pressure in the industry as well as the decreasing feed-in tariffs which creates a little uncertainty for investors. Companies have to reduce their costs as fast as possible in order to reduce the dependence from subsidies.
Related stock ticker symbols:
STP, TSL, YGE, FSLR, JASO