There have been 2 sectors of the market that really have never come close to regaining any of their mojo from the pre 2008 period - drybulk shipping and solar stocks. One of the few American hopes along with Sunpower (SPRWA) (the industry is dominated by European and Chinese interests), First Solar (FSLR) was Netflix like in upward movement back in 2007 and early 2008.... [Jul 30, 2008: First Solar - You Cannot Stop Them; You can Only Hope to Contain Them] (as oil skyrocketed, people went into solar)
Unfortunately, it is Netflix like today as well - down 17% today....AFTER a horrendous run.
Looks like the CEO is stepping away, but I ran away from this sector post 2007 due to what I saw as a monstrous amount of competition coming from China, and a huge reliance on government subsidies for this industry to thrive. [Jan 3, 2008: The Long Term in Solar] Essentially this is a commodity business - and hence no real pricing power. Not to mention a bevy of Chinese companies in this field competing to lose money hand over fist the past 4 years.
- Effectively immediately, Rob Gillette is no longer chief executive officer at First Solar, which just sent out a terse press release stating chairman and company founder Mike Ahearn will serve as interim CEO.
- No further explanation was offered. The sector, which benefits from federal funding for alternative energy projects, has been under scrutiny following a Congressional inquiry into the financing of Solyndra, which declared bankruptcy in August. House Republicans have sought information on loan guarantees given to First Solar (FSLR) and SunPower (SPWRA).
- First Solar said its board has formed a committee to search for a permanent chief exec.