Today marked the first total solar eclipse to sweep the U.S. in almost 100 years. While the eclipse created excitement among many, with solar eclipse glasses flying off the shelves, the day acted as a test for solar companies.
The U.S. power grid “hasn’t seen this sort of natural phenomenon since solar became a thing,” said Nicholas Steckler, an analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. “With so many renewables coming online, especially in the last five to ten years, there is more impact from an eclipse.”
The U.S. Energy Information Administration expected the eclipse to block at least 70% of sunlight over the power plants that produce almost half of the United States’ major solar power capacity.
Let’s take a look at how solar stocks reacted to the total solar eclipse in the U.S. today.
A multitude of solar stocks fell during trading today. Shares of Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ - Free Report) closed the day down 9.86% to $14.99 per share. JinkoSolar Holding Company (JKS - Free Report) stock tumbled 9.99% today, closing at $23.70 per share. Shares Sunrun Inc. (RUN - Free Report) stumbled 2.19%, closing at $6.70 per share, while SolarEdge Technologies Inc. (SEDG - Free Report) stock fell 2.43% and closed at $26.05 per share.
Meanwhile, Renesola Ltd. (SOL - Free Report) stock took a hit, falling 3.07% to $2.53 per share. Shares of SunPower Corp. (SPWR - Free Report) also stumbled 4.33% to $8.84 per share. Meanwhile, Vivint Solar, Inc. (VSLR - Free Report) stock went down 2.62%, closing at $4.65 per share, as Enphase Energy In. (ENPH - Free Report) stock fell 2.57% to $0.84 per share at market close.
Shares of First Solar (FSLR - Free Report) also fell 4.37% today, closing at $45.96 per share, although the company says it spent a year planning for the eclipse. This included holding dress rehearsals, but operations manager William Byrd warned beforehand of “unexpected things… it’s a pretty big megawatt drop.”
One of the only solar stocks that didn’t stumble today was 8point3 Energy Partners (CAFD - Free Report) stock, which closed the day up 1.95% to $14.50 per share.
Additionally, a couple solar ETFs fell today. Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN - Free Report) stock tumbled 2.31%, closing at $21.13 per share, while shares of VanEck Vectors Solar Energy ETF fell 0.79% to $42.61 per share in the same time frame.
A Ray of Hope
Sunrun’s CEO and co-founder, Lynn Michelle Jurich, used the eclipse to demonstrate the importance of solar power in the company’s August 7th conference call.
“The solar eclipse highlights just how bright the future will be,” Jurich said. “The sun is one of the most reliable and predictable energy sources in the world. Just think about it, at any given place on Earth, the sun on average takes a break once every 300 to 400 year, and we know about it well in advance.”
However, not everyone believes that the eclipse is the reason that solar stocks have fallen today. According to Barron’s, oil dropped 2.4% today, which makes solar less competitive and could explain the tumbling shares.
In any case, if the eclipse did hurt solar stocks today, there won’t be another total solar eclipse in the U.S. for 2,422 days. On April 8th, 2024, the eclipse will have a slightly different path, including cities like Dallas and Indianapolis. So while solar stocks took a hit for now, the companies have almost 7 years to recover and to prepare for the next one.
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