This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Solar Panels Don't Work!

Stocks in this article: FSLR

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- As one solar company after another goes out of business, here is what investors do not know and promoters will not tell you: Solar panels do not work that well.

Sometimes not at all. But for several years, most solar systems, big and small, were so heavily subsidized, they were practically free. So lots of people did not really care.

Not enough to check the output of their systems. The few who did often had a big surprise.

Shares of First Solar (FSLR) recently took a 10% hit on one day after the company told investors its panels made in 2008-2009 had problems. Here is how the stock has performed over the years:



Data from Best Stocks Now App

It is not a surprise that First Solar's panels failed. It is surprising anyone found out.

As we shall see.

Solar systems fail in a lot of different ways. Let's look at three.

Dirt is No. 1. Google was among the first to figure this out, maybe because Google was among the first to do a large-scale solar array.

Unlike the owners of most solar systems, Google was eager to learn about how its system performed. Six months after installing its system, Google learned it was only getting about half of the power it expected.

That was the first shock.

The second was realizing that a large solar array was not just one system, but thousands. Each panel a mini-power plant. And the only way to figure out if the individual panels were working was to test each one.

There go your solar savings.

The gang at Google figured out that the farmer next door had plowed a field, kicking up the dirt, knocking down its power. Solar panels have to be cleaned, sometimes often.

And the place where they need the most cleaning is where solar panels work the best: The desert. But that is where water is scarce and expensive.

There go your solar savings.

Lousy panels are No. 2. Remember Solyndra? Before its well-publicized collapse, Solyndra was well known for its tube-shaped products that were supposed to collect solar power directly from above, and indirectly, reflected from below.

1 of 3

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,700.05 +343.18 1.98%
S&P 500 2,049.62 +36.73 1.82%
NASDAQ 4,727.0710 +82.7590 1.78%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs