Monthly Archives: February 2011

Kandi Technologies (KNDI) Revisited

Company Delivers Electrifying Performance But Stock Gets Shocked. Arthur Porcari What’s that old Wall Street saying. “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished”?  Well, management and shareholders of US listed, China based, always profitable uncontested leader in Electric Vehicle (EV) manufacturing and “Quick Battery Exchange” (QBE) development, Kandi Technologies (NASDAQ-KNDI), know the feeling well. As of now, five months after I published my first article on KNDI, the stock, which subsequently more than doubled on incredible volume, has now made a full round trip and is back to where it started. This in spite of significant business advances and a...

Will Distributed Solar Drive Utilities into Bankruptcy?

Tom Konrad CFA Electric utilities today look a lot like newspapers in 2000: Too much debt in an industry primed for disruption. Speaking at the Economist's Intelligent Infrastructure Conference, Brad Tirpak, Managing Partner at the private investment fund Locke Partners made the case that electric utilities are as woefully unprepared for the coming disruption of cheap, distributed solar power as newspapers were unprepared for the disruption of the Internet in 2000.  He outlined the following parallels: Both had long been considered to be sure-fire businesses with dependable income. Both took advantage of the seemingly...

Just One Sector – Fuel Efficiency Pure Plays

John Petersen In 1789 Benjamin Franklin wrote "in this world nothing is certain but death and taxes." Today he probably would have written "in this world nothing is certain but death, taxes and rising oil prices." There's no escaping the misery, but astute investors who take the time to understand the fundamental trends can profit as the misery unfolds. For the short term, I'm convinced the biggest opportunities will be in fuel efficiency technologies for cars and light trucks. After 20 years of complacent stagnation, the US started to get serious about light-duty vehicle fuel efficiency in...

Finding the Key to CIGS PV Reliability

by Joseph McCabe, PE This past week there was a photovoltaic (PV) workshop that probably wasn't on your radar. It was held at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and is called the PV Module Reliability Workshop (PVMRW). This is where the nerds of the PV industry get together to discuss the factors that influence how long a PV module will last and other factors which might influence the long-term performance of a PV system. It wasn't on your radar because it is not something that influences big business. Or is it? If you track the PV industry...

Still Renewable, Still Paying Good Dividends

Tom Konrad CFA Income investors can also invest in clean energy. Over the past four years, changes in Canadian tax law have led the renewable energy income trusts I introduced investors to in March 2007 to either be bought out like the Boralex Power Income Fund (bought by manager Boralex ) or convert to corporations like Algonquin Power and Utilities . Those that converted to corporations are still out there, and still paying good dividends.  And while a few are gone because of mergers, there are also a few new ones that I did not mention...

Where are Solar Stocks Headed in 2011?

By J. Peter Lynch, Financial Anaylst A new series that offers a quick snapshot of the most recent solar stock performance. This week, the current market signals: Investor Caution. Talk about the Million Dollar Question. Wouldn't we all like to know the answer to 'Where is the Market Headed in 2011?' Unfortunately, as we all know – no one knows the answer to this question. But we can look at history and find some fairly interesting data (from the Stock Traders Almanac). While it's not perfect, it certainly has a far above-average accuracy. The...

When Contrary Pays

Debra Fiakas Power One (PWER) looks like a promising contrarian play. It is a scenario that has plays out quarter after quarter.  A leading company in popular sector reports decent results, but surprises investors with guidance below the prevailing consensus.  Then the stock price crashes as sell-side analysts cut estimates, price targets and ratings.  It is a situation that many investors fear as they see once profitable stock positions lose value. Not the contrarian investor!  There are potential profits to be made for the obstinate, but fearless investors willing to do their homework.    This...

Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious

John Petersen Thanks to a recent comment from JLBR, I've found a new hero in Dr. Peter Z. Grossman, an economics professor from Butler University who cogently argues that government attempts to force alternative energy technologies into an R&D model that was created for the Manhattan Project and refined for the Space Program will always result in commercial disaster because "the goal of the Apollo Program was the demonstration of engineering prowess while any alternative energy technology must succeed in the marketplace." In a recent article titled "The Apollo Fallacy and its Effect on U.S. Energy Policy" Dr....

Ormat No Longer Stands Alone

Tom Konrad, CFA The market for Organic Rankin Cycle geothermal turbines has become competitive. In my October 2010 profile of geothermal industry leader Ormat Technologies (ORA), I quoted a conversation I'd had with a Geothermal Energy Association (GEA) representative in 2006, where she told me that Ormat stood head and shoulders above all the other geothermal players.  As the only truly vertically integrated geothermal developer, with in-house exploration, drilling, turbine technology, and operations, Ormat is still unique among geothermal companies.  But not too long ago their Organic Rankin Cycle turbines (which they call Ormat Energy...

The Renewable IPO

By Greg Pfahl Renewable IPOs in 2010 2010 proved to be a much better year for the initial public offering and renewable energy companies, perhaps surprisingly, saw their share of activity. In 2010 there were more than double the number of initial public offerings than in 2009, and we also saw a significant increase in secondary offerings as well. Worldwide public investment in renewable energy increased 21 percent last year, with China representing 20 percent of the 2010 market, according to VB/Research of London. The REW 40 Index is up 15 percent over the...

Distinguishing HEV Efficiency from Plug-in Vehicle Waste

John Petersen Over the last couple years I've frequently argued that plug-in vehicles are inherently wasteful on a micro-economic and a macro-economic level. Unfortunately complex economic proofs are hard to grasp at a glance and my biggest challenge has been finding a simple proof for a patently obvious truth that can't be distorted by flimsy assumptions or misconstrued with rosy forecasts. I hope today's article will drive a stake through the undead heart of plug-in vehicle efficiency claims. To keep it simple, I'll use the Camry Hybrid from Toyota Motors (TM), the Leaf from Nissan Motors (NSANY.PK)...

Outlook for Geothermal Energy Stocks in 2011

Tom Konrad CFA My take-aways from the GEA Finance Forum After a long time lost in the proverbial desert of high capital costs and few financiers willing to step up, a number of geothermal companies made breakthroughs last fall.  The Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantees for geothermal power development began to come through, and financiers were beginning to step up.  Nevada Geothermal Power (NGLPF.OB) announced a deal with Ormat (ORA) in which Ormat will earn a share of Nevada Geothermal's Crump Geyser property by paying for and financing most of the development costs,...

SolarWindow Story Deserves More Skepticism

Dana Blankenhorn Back in December I wrote skeptically of New Energy Technologies Inc., (NENE) whose SolarWindow was written-up here in September, mainly as a result of this press release. The press release drew press coverage, including an October mention by CNBC anchor Erin Burnett. I should add here Ms. Burnett has not done a Maxim cover shoot – the photo by the story is a fake. But is the story a fake? Since the fall NENE has been on a roll, rising in price from about 60 cents to over $1.60. The...

Entech Solar: Let the Sun Shine In

by Debra Fiakas Smilers never lose And frowners never win So let the sun shin in Face it with a grin Open up your heart and let the sun shine in. Age of Aquarius The Fifth Dimension, 1969 Investors have not opened their hearts or pocket books for Entech Solar, Inc. (ENSL:  OTC/BB) despite its products that do indeed let the sun shine in, that is into commercial and industrial buildings through innovative tubular skylights.  Shares of Entech Solar are currently priced below a dime.   Entech has also developed a concentrating solar module marketed...

Electric Vehicles and the Natural Resource Cliff

John Petersen We all love to whine and complain about oil prices because we buy gasoline regularly and that makes the price changes obvious. To solve this overwhelming problem, myopic visionaries with rose colored glasses propose a simple solution – convert personal transportation from vehicles powered by oil to vehicles powered by clean, free and renewable electricity from the wind and sun. Like most fairy tales, it can't happen in real life which means it won't. This is not a technology issue. It's a raw materials issue and electric vehicles cannot solve the problem. In the first...

Throwing Corn off the Green Bus

Dana Blankenhorn I am a big booster of alternative energy. Harvesting the wind, the Sun, the heat of the Earth, the tides – I'm there and NIMBYs be damned. But I am increasingly having second thoughts about one type of green energy. Corn-based ethanol. (I would toss in sugar cane, too, but America doesn't grow enough to matter here.) Corn ethanol was one of the first biofuels to find a market. Pushed by companies like Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) and Cargill, corn ethanol is now an integral ingredient in many blends of gasoline. It is...