Solar stocks tumbled on Friday after solar product manufacturer SolarEdge warned that demand in Europe has significantly weakened, furthering battering sentiment on the renewable energy sector amid a difficult year.
The Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) tumbled 8.5% Friday before the bell and was set to open Friday’s trading session at $42.60, putting it at its lowest level since July 2020. Other stocks in the solar sector also fell on the pessimistic outlook. Sunrun and Sunnova were down 8.1% and 9.8%, respectively, while Enphase Energy shed nearly 15%.
SolarEdge tumbled nearly 28% in early trading after it reported a miss on revenue, gross margins and operating income in the third-quarter, and added that it estimates “significantly lower” revenue in the fourth-quarter. CEO Zvi Lando cited “substantial unexpected cancellations and pushouts” of existing backlogs from the company’s European distributors due to high inventories and slow installation rates.
“In particular, installation rates for the third quarter were much slower at the end of the summer and in September where traditionally there is a rise in installation rates,” said Lando.
Lando noted that the Israel-based company’s adjusted guidance is unrelated to the Israel-Hamas war, and manufacturing has remained uninterrupted. SolarEdge designs and develops inverters, which convert the energy generated by a solar panel, or direct current electricity, into the alternating current electricity used by electrical grids.
The solar sector was already struggling this year as rising interest rates hurt the financing environment for U.S. solar installation. SolarEdge and the TAN ETF were down 59.7% and 35.9% year-to-date, respectively, as of Thursday’s close.
Goldman Sachs double-downgraded SolarEdge to neutral from buy on Friday. The firm said the weak demand environment in Europe poses questions for the company heading into 2024, and is a much larger issue than just seasonality.
“After a second straight disappointing quarter of results/guidance, we find it hard to defend the stock: we underestimated the effects of the combination of ongoing inventory, end market demand, and now margin issues that are likely to serve as headwinds for the stock for the foreseeable future given what appears to be a significant deterioration in visibility,” analyst Brian Lee said in a Friday note.
—CNBC’s Michael Bloom contributed to this report.