First Solar Shares Got Crushed: What You Need to Know

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Although we don't believe in timing the market or panicking over market movements, we do like to keep an eye on big changes -- just in case they're material to our investing thesis.

What: Shares of First Solar (NAS: FSLR) slid as much as 11% today after the company said it hadn't received loan funds for its Antelope Valley Solar Ranch One project.

So what: The solar development is a 230 MW project that's been purchased by Exelon (NYS: EXC) and is due to receive a $646 million loan guarantee from the Department of Energy. But construction permit issues have delayed release of the guarantee and First Solar has only until February 24 to get the issue resolved before it will be forced to buy the project back from Exelon for $75 million.

Now what: The worst-case scenario of buying back the project isn't the end of the world, but it's not a desirable solution for First Solar. The company has plenty of cash to buy the project and has found buyers for its developments without loan guarantees in the past.

First Solar has lost more than $380 million off its market cap, an extreme amount for a delay in a project like this. But that's the nature of solar stocks -- they can be very volatile when good news or bad news comes out. I own shares of First Solar and don't view this as a reason to panic-sell, because there are alternatives for First Solar and the loan may end up going through anyway.  

Interested in more info on First Solar? Add it to your Watchlist by clicking here.

At the time this article was published Fool contributor Travis Hoium owns shares of First Solar. You can follow Travis on Twitter at @FlushDrawFool, check out his personal stock holdings or follow his CAPS picks at TMFFlushDraw.Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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