Solar’s Eleven: If Solar Stocks Were Cast in a Movie

Now I see how tough it is to be a casting director—it sure wasn’t easy to pick which solar stocks would be right for Solar’s Eleven. But maybe this list will be as popular as the movie Ocean ‘s Eleven so I can cast more characters in the sequel.

First Solar (Nasdaq: FSLR ) as George Clooney aka Danny Ocean—this now $15 billion solar cell maker has risen nearly tenfold from $25 to $207 over the past year. Huge revenues and earnings (quarterly revs. of $160 million vs. expectations of $120 million, profits up tenfold) and their charisma (blew out analyst estimates by nearly 30%) helped them win the part. But like Danny Ocean, FSLR’s charisma can only take them so far—they’re reliant on a somewhat limited supply of tellurium, which could hurt margins down the road.

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Sunpower (Nasdaq: SPWR ) as Brad Pitt aka Rusty Ryan—the $10.7 billion solar rival is definitely the second leader of the pack, having risen from $33 to $129 over the past year. Like Brad Pitt, their solar panels are more aesthetically pleasing than competing panels (according to RBC analyst Stuart Bush)

Evergreen Solar (Nasdaq: ESLR ) as Matt Damon aka Linus Caldwell—the $1.4 billion maker of next generation solar cells is the rookie on the block since they won’t be able to deliver their solar cells until mid-2008. Still, since they’re part of this popular team, their stock has nearly doubled this year from $8 to $14.

LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK ) as Bernie Max aka Frank Catton—the $4.2 billion solar wafer maker has been embroiled in an inventory reporting investigation. Like Bernie Mac’s character, it sounds like some LDK employees might be facing some time in the pen.

Hoku Scientific (Nasdaq: HOKU ) as Don Cheadle aka Basher Tarr—this $140 million material science company has been dealing with all the fun details that go into engineering and construction their Polysilicon Plant. Like Don Cheadle’s character, they’re not in this game so much for the money (all they have is losses and very little revenues)—instead they just want to pull off the job!

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Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (Nasdaq: ENER ) as Carl Reiner aka Saul Bloom—this $1.25 billion solar cell maker is an old solar pro, having been a publicly-traded stock for over a decade. But, like Carl Reiner’s character, they were replaced by young upstarts. They want back in!

DayStar Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: DSTI ) and Ascent Solar Technologies Inc. (Nasdaq: ASTI ) as twin brothers (c’mon how perfect are their ticker symbols!) Scott Caan and Casey Affleck aka Turk and Virgil Malloy—these $160 millionish solar plays are like their characters in that they’re very young and immature. Neither company has more than $1 million in annual revenues, but they both have great potential.

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (NYSE: WFR ) as Elliott Gould aka Reuben Tishkoff—this $16 billion behemoth is another industry old-timer, having been traded as a stock for over a decade. Like Elliott Gould’s character, they’re behind the whole operation, providing the materials other solar cell makers need.

JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO ) as Eddie Jemison aka Livingston Dell—this $2.7 billion solar cell maker, like Eddie Jemison’s character, is not cool. After tripling in price from their $20 IPO price, JASO lost 22% on Friday after an analyst noted their concern over future margins.

And last but not least there’s a host of solar plays auditioning to takeover the role of Yen, originally played by Chinese acrobat Shaobo Qin. $1.3 billion Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL ), $620 million Solarfun Power Holdings (Nasdaq: SOLF ), $350 million China Sunergy (Nasdaq: CSUN ) and don’t let the name confuse you $300 million Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ ) are all vying for the role. It’s a tough call (due to the flexibility required) so I think we’re gonna need a second round of auditions for this one.

I have no positions, I’m just a casting director