Solar Troubles

Last week we mentioned solar bailouts and blamed, in part, bad business models. Apparently, the numbers are bad too. Employees are now coming out saying that Sunrun's numbers were juiced just prior to its IPO. This doesn't bode well for the Sequoia Capital-backed solar company which is now under SEC investigation. The company allegedly failed to report cancellations which had the effect of jacking up the number of customers and the megawatts booked - two critical metrics for revenue measurement. Meanwhile, SolarWorld USA announced massive layoffs after an affiliate previously filed for administration in Germany.

Solar Bailouts Are All the Rage ($RUN, $SPRW, $TSLA)

We're not referring to the one's you typically hear about. We're referring to the solar industry. First Elon Musk's Tesla took on SolarCity's sinking ship. And, now, Total S.A. has agreed to guarantee SunPower Corporation's $100 RCF with Credit Agricole. Without this, SunPower would likely be in the bankruptcy bin. Its guidance for Q2 '17 is $275-325mm revenue on gross margin of negative 3% and a net loss of $110-135mm (on a GAAP basis). Don't get us wrong: long term we are bullish on alternative energy but, for now, it doesn't seem like anybody has figured out a business model for solar. Though Sunrun's CEO remains bullish. And why not?!