Monthly Archives: January 2014

LSB Industries And Activist Fund Position Themselves For Board Election

With the resignation of four non-independent directors and reduction in the size of LSB’s board, the company has managed to appear to be making a step towards reform while making it harder for the activist fund to gain influence. Gaining influence in a tightly controlled family firm is never easy. It looks like the task just got significantly harder for Engine Capital in its quest to unlock shareholder value at LSB.

The Proof in Ceres’ Pudding

by Debra Fiakas CFA Judging by stock prices, investors have decided Ceres, Inc. (CERE:  Nasdaq) is the favorite horse in the cellulosic ethanol race  -  at least among those that have publicly traded stocks.  Ceres develops and sells sorghum, switch grass and miscanthus seeds to feedstock growers that supply cellulosic ethanol mills. The stock is selling for a buck and change, which is far more impressive that the stocks of most companies that could be included in the “cellulosic biofuel” sector. Ceres announced fiscal second quarter 2014 results at the beginning of this month.  The company...

EBODF Owns Over $22 Per Share Of Solar Developer Goldpoly,Trades Under $7

by Shawn Kravetz In ten years of solar investing, we have never encountered an opportunity as obscure and potentially lucrative as Renewable Energy Trade Board Corporation (OTCPK:EBODF).  Disclosure: I am long EBODF. Before walking through the long thesis, we must caution potential investors that EBODF "went dark" with the SEC in March 2013. However, we have conducted rigorous due diligence on the ground in Asia and through the Hong Kong Stock Exchange filings of Goldpoly New Energy Holdings (0686.HK) - EBODF's sister company sharing the same parent/leading shareholder - China Merchants New Energy Group (part of massive Chinese...

Tesla Could Sell 8,000 EVs in China in 2014

Doug Young Tesla sets ambitious China targets US electric car maker Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) is setting some tough goals for itself during its first year in China, aiming to take advantage of government incentives and its high-end brand image to quickly take a big share of the market. I did a little math based on the company’s latest remarks, and its ambitious target for this year would represent around three-quarters of all electric vehicles sold in China in 2012. If it really can meet the new target, I suspect the...

US-China Solar Wars Enter Second Round

Doug Young Trade War. photo via Bigstock Just days after China finalized anti-dumping tariffs on US makers of polysilicon, the main ingredient used to make solar panels, the US has announced it is opening a new anti-dumping investigation into solar panels imported from China. The close timing of this latest round of developments in a solar trade dispute between the US and China may look worrisome on the surface, especially if they had come a year ago. But in this case the solar signals seem less confrontational...

Are Air Source Heat Pumps A Threat To Geothermal Heat Pump Suppliers?

Tom Konrad CFA Last year, geothermal heat pump (GHP) manufacturers introduced new heat pumps with break-through efficiency based on variable-speed compressor technology.  These manufacturers include Waterfurnace Renewable Energy  (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) and ClimateMaster, a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU). Air Source and Ground Source Variable speed compressor technology was not restricted to geothermal heat pumps (also known as ground source heat pumps or geoexchange): It had first found its way into what are often considered ground source’s poor cousins: air source heat pumps (ASHP). Both types of heat pumps use a refrigeration cycle to draw heat from the outside in winter to heat...

SolarCity’s Brilliant Marketing Plan

By Jeff Siegel DISCLOSURE: Long SCTY. Well here's a sweet marketing plan. . . In an effort to get to homeowners before they actually buy their homes, SolarCity is working with homebuilders in Oregon to offer solar to potential buyers. Essentially, SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) will be giving future homeowners the opportunity to save on their energy bills from day one without paying a single penny more for their homes. Brilliant! SolarCity reps commented on the new plan, stating. . . Solar power delivers distinct benefits for homebuilders and homebuyers. While many upgrades and additions to homes...

Why SolarCity is the New Solar King

And Why I Just Got Back Into This Stock By Jeff Siegel DISCLOSURE: Long SCTY. I'm not sure how many people realize it just yet, but something very big happened last year in the world of solar. A small start-up called Mosaic came onto the scene offering New York and California residents the opportunity to invest in solar projects. These investments offered a 4.5% annual return, net of servicing fees, with terms of about nine years. This is basically a crowdfunding opportunity for those looking to invest in small solar projects. It's a pretty simple...

Renewable Energy Group Acquires LS9

Jim Lane A stunner at NBB. Renewable Energy Group (REGI) deploys its balance sheet and takes aim at renewable chemicals as it acquires the storied LS9. In Iowa, Renewable Energy Group (REGI) announced it has acquired LS9 for a purchase price of up to $61.5 million, consisting of up front and earnout payments, in stock and cash. Most of the LS9 team, including the entire R&D leadership group, will join the newly named REG Life Sciences, LLC, which will operate out of LS9’s headquarters in South San Francisco, CA. Under the terms of the agreement between REG...

NY Working Hard to Catch Up with CA’s Energy Storage Requirements

Bill Radvak Battery storage is gaining more and more traction in the distributed energy resources community.  Last fall, California passed the first statewide energy storage directive in the United States. Issued by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC), the mandate requires all investor-owned utilities in the state including Southern California Edison, Pacific Gas & Electric and San Diego Gas & Electric, to jointly purchase “1325 megawatts of energy storage” by 2020. “The proposed targets increase between 30% and 55% every two years, creating economic incentives for multiple players with various technologies to enter the market reports Energy...

Google’s Renewed Cleantech Investment Binge

James Montgomery Google Doodle for Earth Day 2006 This week the Internet giant Google revealed that in December it invested $75 million in Pattern Energy's (NASD:PEGI) 182-MW Panhandle 2 wind farm in Carson County, Texas, northeast of Amarillo, expected to be operational by the end of this year. Pattern will hold an 80 percent stake in the project, whose owners also include Google and two institutional tax equity investors, with Morgan Stanley providing construction and equity bridge loans and a letter of credit. Google certainly has displayed a healthy...

Google Buying Pattern Energy Wind Farm

By Jeff Siegel Google announced yesterday that it has ponied up $75 million for a wind farm in Carson County, TX. In it's lock box of wind farm assets, this is number 15 for the Internet giant. Patterson Energy Group (NASDAQ:PEGI), one of my top picks for 2014, is developing the project, which provides enough juice to power 56,000 homes. As I wrote last year, Pattern Energy Group is an independent power company that owns and operates eight wind power projects in Canada, the United States, and Chile. Total owned capacity...

Alternative Energy Stocks In 2013: Winners And Losers

By Harris Roen Alternative energy stocks had an epic year in 2013. The widely watched Ardour Global Alternative Energy Index Composite (AGIGL) was up 53% in 2013. That’s double the 26% return for the S&P 500. In fact, 2013 marked the largest annual return for the AGIGL since 2007. In January 2013, I predicted that “…low interest rates and plenty of corporate cash will be a strong driver of stocks in 2013, including the growth industries within alternative energy.” That forecast turned out to be true and then some. This report drills down...

60 Minutes Reply: Cleantech Rocks

On Sunday, January 5, 60 Minutes aired a piece on the cleantech space. In the days that followed, I have had interesting conversations with clients about what was broadcast to 7.4 million viewers. Those discussions reinforced my belief that 60 minutes missed the mark and inspired me to write this blog on why cleantech is essential, massive, vibrant, and desired. Cleantech is essential. We recently took fifteen clients to China on our annual tour, and the Beijing Air Quality index (AQI) of PM2.5 read above 200 on multiple days. The average AQI in Los Angeles, California, through 2009...

The Pros Pick 14 Cleantech Stocks for 2014

Tom Konrad CFA   Over the last few weeks, I’ve brought you articles about the top Cleantech stock picks for 2014 from my panel of Cleantech money manager.  This article puts them all in one place.  Disclosure: I am long MIXT, ACCEL, SBS, and HASI. Originally, there were twelve picks.  Then, a mis-communication with Rafael Coven, Managing Director at the Cleantech Group, and manager of the index which underlies the Powershares Cleantech ETF (NYSE:PZD) had me listing two more stocks he likes.  Through a happy coincidence, that brings the total picks...

CarCharging Off to the Races?

by Debra Fiakas CFA CarCharging Group, Inc. (CCGI:  OTC) producers electric car charging stations.  It partners with property owners such as shopping malls or parking garages to operating the charging stations and collect fees from electric car owners.  At the end of September 2013, the last time the company reported financial results. CarCharging had eighty-seven strategic partnerships with a gaggle of private and public entities such as Walgreens, Icon Parking, the City of Miami Beach, and the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection.    A mobile app helps car owners find locations by city or zip code. CarCharging...