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

Profitability

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

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

Valuation & Earnings

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

Gross Revenue Price/Sales Ratio EBITDA Earnings Per Share Price/Earnings Ratio
First Solar $2.57 billion 1.93 $296.64 million ($4.84) -9.83
SunPower Corporation $2.49 billion 0.39 -$24.89 million ($3.92) -1.78

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.

Institutional & Insider Ownership

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

Analyst Ratings

This is a summary of recent ratings and target prices for First Solar and SunPower Corporation, as reported by MarketBeat.

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

First Solar presently has a consensus price target of $45.56, indicating a potential downside of 4.29%. SunPower Corporation has a consensus price target of $9.11, indicating a potential upside of 30.90%. Given SunPower Corporation’s higher probable upside, analysts clearly believe SunPower Corporation is more favorable than First Solar.

Volatility & Risk

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

Summary

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

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.

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.

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