Monthly Archives: October 2013

Five Alternative Energy Stocks For 2014

By Jeff Siegel There's no doubt about it: 2013 was a fantastic year for alternative energy investors. The big story this year was Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA). A company that we began touting years before the company even went public, Tesla soared this year, taking the stock from $34.71 in January to a high of $194.50 a share in September. Folks, a 460% gain from an electric car company in just nine months would've been laughable in 2013. Today, it's the one of the most hyped stories in the world of finance... And if you listened to me...

US Geothermal: A Knack For Hot Rocks

by Debra Fiakas CFA U.S. Geothermal (HTM:  AMEX) is scheduled to report third quarter 2013 financial results on November 15th, taking every day allowed to a public company to reveal the fruits and labors of a quarter.  There will be plenty to talk about in the conference call with analysts and investors.  USG closed a loan financing to support the first phase of its San Emidio geothermal power project in Nevada.  The loan valued at $30.7 million bears a fixed interest burden of 6.75% will replace a $25 million construction loan for the project and supply working capital...

Ormat: Cash Generation Justifies Earnings Multiple

Ormat Heat exchanger at GKW Landau. Geothermal water evaporates the carrier medium. Preheater and the evaporator. The steam line above connects to the turbine. Photo by Claus Ableiter via Wikimedia Commons by Debra Fiakas CFA Shares of geothermal power producer Ormat Technologies (ORA:  NYSE) are trading at 29.2 times the 2014 consensus estimate of $0.93 per share.  That multiple looks fair compared to growth expected at Ormat in the next year, but more dear against the company’s long-term growth prospects.  The stock has been flying off...

Sunny Climate For Solar Income Up North

Tom Konrad CFA Disclosure: I am long PW and HASI. In a rational world, the sunniest places would have the warmest reception for solar technology and investment.  While solar is having its day in the sun in Hawaii, state incentives make the economics of photovolatics equally attractive in Vermont, a state not known for its sunny skies.  And while California is famous for its rapid deployment of solar, the economics are at least as good in Washington state, New York, New Hampshire, and chilly Maine. It’s not only the economics of solar which can counter-intuitively get better...

Bunge: Now Less Sugar

Jim Lane In New York, in the wake of a $37 million Q1 loss in its sugar unit, Bunge CEO Soren Schroder, who took the reins of the company in June, announced yesterday that the trading giant is commencing what he termed a “thoughtful comprehensive review” for its sugar business, including a potential sale of all the assets. The company, which announced a $137 million overall quarterly loss, after posting a Q4 loss of $599 million in June. The Q4 loss included write-downs and charges of $683 million, including a $327 million write-down in its sugar...

Offshore Wind Investment Opportunities

By Harris Roen A significant alternative energy investment theme with potential for growth over the next few years is offshore wind. This article looks at the promise of marine based wind, potential pitfalls, and names three investments that could benefit from large-scale offshore wind development that is likely coming. The Potential of Offshore Wind In 2011, the U.S. Department of Energy and the U.S. Department of Interior jointly published a national offshore wind strategy. According to the report, in areas with less than 100 feet of water the generating potential of offshore wind equals...

6 Reasons Why Stock Markets Are No Longer Fit For Purpose

A new investment architecture is set to emerge By John Fullerton and Tim MacDonald Stock markets are not as portrayed on TV, the nerve center of capitalism.  Stock markets are nothing more than tools to facilitate the exchange of stock certificates that represent contractual rights that have little to do with real ownership. Today’s stock markets are primarily about speculating on the future prices of stock certificates; they are largely disconnected from real investment or what goes on in the real economy of goods and services.  It’s time for real investors such as pension funds and endowments to...

Broadwind: Optimism In The Wind

by Debra Fiakas CFA   In early October 2013, Broadwind (BWEN:  Nasdaq) announced over $100 million in new wind tower orders, tipping the value of orders received in the year 2013 over the $300 million mark.   Wind energy has been a fickle market to pursue, alternatively showing great promise as policy makers show support for renewable energy sources and then sinking as cheap natural gas substitutes flood the market. Broadwind’s expertise is in gearing of various kinds.  In addition to supplying gearboxes for wind turbines, the company offers maintenance services to tower owners.  Oil in gearboxes...

Did You Catch Kaydon In Time?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Most investors with an interest in the alternative energy industry think first of the energy source  -  solar, wind, geothermal or biofuel.  There are other roads to access the returns promised by the shift from fossil fuel to alternative sources.  But do not waste time as these gems are in the sights of strategic buyers as well. Kaydon Corporation (KDN:  NYSE) produces components and sub-systems used in the alternative energy industry.  Its friction control products are critical for the efficient operation of wind turbines and blades.  These products include large diameter...

SolarCity: The Amazon of Solar?

By Harris Roen SolarCity (NASD:SCTY) has become a sort of proxy for the future of solar in this country. This tremendously successful company is coming up on a one year anniversary of its IPO in December. Several developments at SolarCity warrant a closer look into this dynamic company trying to stay ahead of the curve in a growing, competitive solar installation environment. Despite skeptics, SolarCity’s stock is strong There was much skepticism among investors when SolarCity was preparing for its IPO in 2012. Solar stocks had been badly beaten up in recent...

Price Pressure Will Squeeze Solar Inverter Revenues

James Montgomery SMA Solar inverter photo by Claus Ableiter In a new report, IHS says worldwide solar inverter unit shipments will rise 7 percent this year, but PV inverter revenues are heading the opposite way, a 9 percent decline this year to $6.4 billion, worse than the firm's earlier prediction of a 5 percent drop. (2014 will see a 9 percent rebound in revenues back to around $7.0 billion, while shipments will surge 19 percent to more than 41 GW.) That's because overall inverter prices are sinking fast, sliding to...

China Recycling Energy: Profiting From Murky Air, But How Much?

by Debra Fiakas CFA   Shanghai at sunset as the sun fades into the smog. Photo source: Suicup China’s industrial pollution problems are mounting.  Global emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) increased by 3% in 2011, reaching an all-time high of 34 billion tons.  China contributed a whopping 29% of that carbon dioxide  -  nearly twice that of the second worst polluter, the U.S., which spit out 5.4 million tons or 16% of the total CO2 emissions.  Policy makers in China have been slow to move against industrial polluters...

Shunfeng Could Be China’s New Major Solar Player

Doug Young China’s solar retrenchment has taken a big step forward with word that a bankruptcy court has chosen Hong Kong-listed Shunfeng Photovoltaic (HKEx: 1165) from a field of bidders vying to invest in reorganizing former solar pioneer Suntech (NYSE: STP). The decision is interesting both because of who the bankruptcy court selected, and also because of who lost the bidding. The selection of Shunfeng looks particularly significant, as it could mark the emergence of a new major player as the battered solar panel sector finally starts to emerge from its 2-year-old downturn. The latest reports don’t contain...

Six Weeks, Twelve Clean Energy Stocks

Tom Konrad CFA It's been a busy six weeks since I last updated readers on the news events driving my Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2013 and six alternative picks.  I looked into the performance of the portfolio as a whole at the start of the month, along with some comments about the four renewable energy developers.  I thought at the time we might be seeing a bottom for these beleaguered stocks, but if I was right, we have yet to see the upturn.  Nevertheless, the...

The Ghost of Solyndra Haunts Chinese Solar Stocks

Doug Young The solar sector’s slow recovery is receiving some new setbacks in the form of lawsuits by 2 bankrupt US companies against Yingli (NYSE: YGE), Trina (NYSE: TSL) and Suntech (NYSE: STP), the last of which is also in bankruptcy reorganization. Adding to the mess, Suntech has just disclosed that more of its European assets have been seized by the Italian courts, throwing yet another new complication into its ongoing reorganization. This growing tide of litigation is somewhat expected, as investors try to recover whatever money they can following the sector’s spectacular crash over the last two...

Green Plains, Green Profits

by Debra Fiakas CFA Green Plains Renewable Energy, Inc. (GPRE:  Nasdaq) is one of the few U.S. ethanol producers to turn a consistent profit.  The company is half way through its fifth consecutive profitable year.  Sales in the most recently reported twelve months totaled $3.4 billion, on which the company earned $40.5 million in net income.  During this period Green Plains generated $100.0 million in operating cash flow. Tracing Green Plains profits requires a bit of effort by investors.  The company channels its products through a marketing and distribution division.  Thus while, ethanol production...