SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) and First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) are both oils/energy companies, but which is the superior business? We will contrast the two businesses based on the strength of their institutional ownership, analyst recommendations, earnings, valuation, profitability, risk and dividends.

Volatility and Risk

SunPower Corporation has a beta of 3.1, indicating that its share price is 210% more volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, First Solar has a beta of 1.86, indicating that its share price is 86% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Analyst Ratings

This is a breakdown of current ratings and price targets for SunPower Corporation and First Solar, as provided by MarketBeat.com.

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
SunPower Corporation 1 10 3 0 2.14
First Solar 1 12 8 0 2.33

SunPower Corporation currently has a consensus price target of $9.11, suggesting a potential upside of 36.39%. First Solar has a consensus price target of $45.56, suggesting a potential downside of 4.55%. Given SunPower Corporation’s higher possible upside, equities research analysts plainly believe SunPower Corporation is more favorable than First Solar.

Insider and Institutional Ownership

28.8% of SunPower Corporation shares are held by institutional investors. Comparatively, 53.1% of First Solar shares are held by institutional investors. 0.9% of SunPower Corporation shares are held by company insiders. Comparatively, 0.6% of First Solar shares are held by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that endowments, hedge funds and large money managers believe a stock is poised for long-term growth.

Valuation and Earnings

This table compares SunPower Corporation and First Solar’s top-line revenue, earnings per share (EPS) and valuation.

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
SunPower Corporation $2.49 billion 0.37 -$24.89 million ($3.92) -1.70
First Solar $2.57 billion 1.94 $296.64 million ($4.84) -9.86

First Solar has higher revenue and earnings than SunPower Corporation. First Solar is trading at a lower price-to-earnings ratio than SunPower Corporation, indicating that it is currently the more affordable of the two stocks.

Profitability

This table compares SunPower Corporation and First Solar’s net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
SunPower Corporation -21.84% -12.56% -2.88%
First Solar -18.80% 6.43% 4.94%

Summary

First Solar beats SunPower Corporation on 9 of the 13 factors compared between the two stocks.

SunPower Corporation Company Profile

SunPower Corporation is a global energy company. The Company delivers complete solar solutions to residential, commercial, and power plant customers. The Company’s segments include Residential Segment, Commercial Segment and Power Plant Segment. The Residential and Commercial Segments combined are referred to as Distributed Generation. The Company offers solar module technology and solar power systems that are designed to generate electricity over a system life over 25 years; Integrated Smart Energy software solutions that enable customers to manage and optimize the cooperation center of excellence (CCOE) measurement; Installation, construction, and ongoing maintenance and monitoring services; and financing solutions that provide customers a range of options for purchasing or leasing solar products at competitive energy rates. The Company offers a set of residential solutions that deliver value to homeowners and its dealer partners.

First Solar Company Profile

First Solar, Inc. is a provider of photovoltaic (PV) solar energy solutions. The Company designs, manufactures and sells PV solar modules with a thin-film semiconductor technology. The Company also develops, designs, constructs and sells PV solar power systems that primarily use the modules it manufactures. It operates through two segments: components and systems. The components segment is engaged in the design, manufacture and sale of cadmium telluride (CdTe) solar modules, which convert sunlight into electricity. The systems segment includes the development, construction, operation and maintenance of PV solar power systems, which primarily use its solar modules. In addition, the Company provides operations and maintenance (O&M) services to system owners that use solar modules manufactured by it or by third-party manufacturers. The Company’s solar modules had an average rated power per module of approximately 114 watts, as of December 31, 2016.

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