Sector Snap: Solar energy companies

Shares of Chinese companies that make solar energy products got a boost Tuesday, after JA Solar Holdings Co. reported better-than-expected sales and shipments.

The company also backed its shipment guidance for the year, giving investors a glimmer of hope that global demand for solar products may have stabilized.

Like other companies in the sector, JA Solar has struggled in recent months. Prices have fallen as a rise of competitors, especially those from China, flooded the market with cheap solar modules. Europe, which has traditionally been the biggest market for the solar industry, also is expected to cut back on government incentives this year, trimming demand.

But JA Solar, which is based in China, said Tuesday that demand for its products remains strong, noting that first-quarter sales in Italy and Germany were higher than expected, and that it expanded its presence in the Middle East and Japan during the quarter.

The company also said that it’s taken steps to protect itself from new U.S. tariffs on Chinese solar products, by moving production of most of its products sold in the United States to its partners outside of China, reducing its exposure… Read more

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