The Week In Cleantech-4/20/12: Solar Industry Consolidation, Fact and Fiction

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Jeff Siegel and Tom Konrad

April 16: Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ) Soars in Pre-Market


  • Capstone Turbine (NASDAQ:CPST) announced this morning that it landed a deal with a Michigan hospital to supply a dual-mode C1000 Power Package. The unit will provide both prime and backup power to save energy and increase reliability at the facility. Not sure how much this will do for the stock today, but I still maintain that Capstone Turbine below $1.00 is a gift. Particularly for those who can exercise a little patience.
  • Consolidation looks to continue in the solar space. On Saturday, the China Business Journal reported that China National Offshore Oil Co (CNOOC) is in talks to buy solar player Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ). As a result, we’re seeing a lot of positive movement in solar this morning. Don’t know if this will actually play out, but as we’ve been saying for almost two years now, the solar space is undergoing some serious consolidation. And we expect this to continue for some time. CSIQ is up almost 12% at the time of this writing.


Reps from Canadian Solar have denied the CNOOC takeover talk.  A spokesperson wrote in an email:

“Canadian Solar is not currently in discussion with China National Offshore Oil Corp regarding a potential strategic transaction between the two companies.”

And this is why I wrote, “Don’t know if this will actually play out. . .”  Until the deal is done, it’s not a deal. 

Of course, this doesn’t change the fact that Canadian Solar popped nicely this morning.  The stock has shed a small amount of what it picked up in pre-market.  Will be interesting to see how this plays out throughout the rest of the day.


  • Union of Concerned Scientists releases study: No matter where you drive, driving electric saves money and emissions.  More here.

April 17: First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) Shuts Plants, Cuts 30% of Workforce


  • Capstone Turbine (NASDAQ:CPST) announced yet another order this week. This time for the sale of 30 additional C65 microturbines to be used in the Eagle Ford shale play. This follow-on order brings the total sold units to more than 150 over the past nine months. Capstone is up about 6 percent in pre-market. As I noted yesterday, Capstone below $1.00 is a gift. I continue to recommend accumulating shares below $1.00.
  • First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) announced today that it will cut about 30 percent of its workforce, shut manufacturing plants in Frankfurt, Germany and indefinitely idle four production lines in Malaysia this year. Although we did really well with First Solar a few years back, since last year we’ve been keeping our distance from most pure solar plays. I still believe the solar industry will prove the naysayers wrong over time. But for the next year or two, I expect continued shaking out and consolidation. First Solar is up about 4% in premarket. I’m uninterested in that action.

April 18: EnerNOC (ENOC) Moves into Demand Response for Natural Gas


  • Demand response (DR) companies were beaten up badly over the  last two years because of increased competition in the space.  EnerNOC (ENOC) has signed a new deal to help National Grid (NGG) automate temperature-based pricing for natural gas.  Will its competitors follow? More here.
  • Rockwool International (RKWBF.PK) holds AGM, announces DKK 9.60 (1.8%) annual dividend.

April 19: Aviation Biofuels Advance, attract opponents over costs


  • UOP announced that Honeywell (HON) Green Jet Fuel will be used for the world’s first comprehensive test program using a new biofeedstock specifically designed for biofuel production, new Resonance Energy Feedstock.  More here.

April 20: How Chinese Panels Are Impacting the European Solar Market


  • It may not all be China, but only solar cost leaders will survive.  Euro governments are cutting subsidies; advocates push for focus on residential sector.  More here.
  • Solar companies follow range of startegies: Restructuring (FSLR and SPWR), vertical integration (CSIQ), or sticking to its knitting (STP.)  More here.

Disclosure: None

Jeff Siegel is Editor of Energy and Capital, where his notes were first published.
Tom Konrad CFA is the Editor of


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