FSLR Raises Shipments Guidance For 2011, But Analysts See Potential Delays For Solar Ranch Due To Northrup Grumman Appeal

solar farm Yesterday First Solar (FSLR) raised its shipment guidance for 2011 and now sees shipments increasing 380MW over previous estimates due to signed agreements with seven key customers that will primarily serve European markets.

"Our customers continue to expect robust growth in the market for solar electricity in Europe next year," said Stephan Hansen, managing director of First Solar’s European sales and customer service organization. "The additional volumes will allow First Solar to continue to scale and contribute to making solar electricity more affordable globally."

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Dampening the bullish spirit on FSLR just a bit though is the appeal out of Northrop Grumman against FSLR’s AV Solar Ranch project which could delay the project until 2012.  At this time I’m not clear on why NG is blocking the project, but Barclays feels that it won’t have a big impact on 2011 earnings (possibly impact 50 – 100MW of business next year).  A delay doesn’t impact Barclays investment thesis for 2011 and they say pricing will have a bigger impact, not volumes.  They maintain their Equalweight rating and $140 price target.

Axiom weighed in on the AV Solar Ranch potential delay as well saying that it appears that California counties responsible for approving the large scale solar projects are taking shortcuts and anyone who wants to block a large solar project in California now has a template to do so.

I’ll weigh in on this as well.  California will rectify the situation as quickly as possibly if their have been shortcuts taken and any delays should be minor.  California is the solar leader and wants to remain so.. that’s the bottom line.  The increased shipment guidance is much more significant than this potential delay at the AV Solar Ranch.

Shares of FSLR are down a bit in recent days, but it’s nothing abnormal considering the run it had.  The picture on shares of FSLR remains bullish and the uptrend off the June lows remains intact.

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