In this part, we’ll discuss solar stocks’ recent returns. As a whole, the sector largely underperformed the broader markets in terms of returns in all of the periods considered. In the past year, First Solar (FSLR) stock returned -37%, while SunPower (SPWR) returned -41%.
Sunrun (RUN) had a notable increase in 2018 and returned 85%. Falling costs improved Sunrun’s margins in 2018, which drove the rally.
In comparison, the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) returned -25%, while the S&P 500 returned -5% in 2018. In the last five years, First Solar returned -22%, while Sunrun returned 1%.
President Trump announced tariffs on imported solar panels early in 2018 to boost domestic manufacturers. However, many US solar players’ revenues declined in 2018—compared to 2017. Solar panel prices fell in 2018 due to falling demand, which mainly dented solar companies. Going forward, regulatory policies could continue to drive the solar space.