Solar Firms Burn While Consumers Start Winning

Solar energy (NYSE:TAN) is about to reach a point of inflexion. The cost of solar for average consumers has been out of reach for years because of prohibitive equipment costs, but a combination of unlikely factors have made it likely solar energy “will be able to compete with fossil fuels even when the federal solar subsidy shrinks by two-thirds in 2016”.

Germany’s (NYSE:EWG) withdrawal of subsidies has caused demand for solar panels to slump in their country and caused a worldwide glut of solar panel inventories. This has triggered prices to crash. In fact, panel prices are down by almost two-thirds since 2008.

In addition, innovative financing schemes now make it possible for homeowners to purchase equipment free of cost while paying through the power generated from the panels.

“Over the past 10 years the industry has made the case that we needed to increase scale so we could reduce prices,” says Arno Harris, CEO of solar developer Recurrent Energy, a subsidiary of Sharp Corp. “We’re seeing it happen.”

Although this is great news for solar energy consumers, solar panel manufacturers are in dire straits: stocks are at all-time lows and there were three bankruptcy filings in two months.

Keep these solar stocks (NYSE:TAN) on your watchlist as the sector continues to stay in the spotlight: First Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR), Suntech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP), Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE), LDK Solar Co. (NYSE:LDK), Canadian Solar Inc. (NASDAQ:CSIQ), JA Solar Holdings Co. (NASDAQ:JASO), MEMC Electronic Materials(NYSE:WFR), and GT Solar International Inc. (NASDAQ:SOLR), SunPower Inc (NASDAQ:SPWRA) and Trina Solar Limited (NYSE:TSL).