Monthly Archives: April 2014

Beijing Taking Hands-Off Approach To Solar Recovery

by Doug Young China sent an important message to the struggling solar panel sector last week when one of the country’s major manufacturers was forced to turn to global capital markets to raise new funds, hinting that it couldn’t receive the money from state-backed domestic sources. The move sparked a sell-off for New York-listed shares of Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE), as its request for funds met with a frosty response on Wall Street. The fact that Yingli had to seek funding from commercial-oriented western investors indicates Beijing is taking a hands-off approach to financing...

Kandi: The World’s Greatest Non-Candy Company

Ed. Note: This article was first published as an instablog by 'Illuminati Investments' on Seeking Alpha, and was intended as an April Fool's joke post.  I found it very funny.  Kandi advocates may not. Wouldn't it be nice to invest in the best business in the world? Now, I don't want to hyperbolize, but I believe I have uncovered the greatest investment opportunity in the history of the universe. This perfect company goes by the sweet name of Kandi Technologies (KNDI). Now, I know what you're probably thinking: "Mmm, candy..." If this is the case, you're either...

BYD Runs On Government Support

Doug Young  I gave quite a bit of attention a few days ago to US electric vehicle (EV) sensation Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA), so it’s only fair that I follow up by writing about China’s homegrown EV superstar BYD (OTC: BYDDF; HKEx: 1211; Shenzhen: 002594), which has just released quarterly results that look quite disappointing. The only things that look slightly encouraging in this latest report are the fact that billionaire investor Warren Buffett continues to hold onto his 10 percent stake in the company, which he bought in 2008, and that BYD remains profitable. But even the...

Unlocking Solar Energy’s Value as an Asset Class

by James Montgomery 2014 is predicted to be a breakout year for solar financing, as the industry eagerly pursues finance innovations. Many of these methods aren't really new to other industries, but they are potentially game-changing when applied in the solar industry.

Tribulations of a Meter Reader

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Badger Meter (BMI:  NYSE) joined a building fraternity:  companies reporting strong year-over-year sales growth, but delivering weaker than expected earnings.  However, the Badger Meter actually increased earnings by a greater magnitude than it grew sales.  The Company reported $83.5 million in net sales, representing 16.3% growth over the same quarter last year.  Net income grew by 59.3% year-over-year to $4.6 million or $0.32 per share.  As impressive as these results appear to be, the consensus had been for earnings per share of $0.41.  The stock declined sharply as investor registered their displeasure...

Tesla CEO Makes Smooth Drive Into China

Doug Young Tesla cruises into China I have to give my congratulations to new energy car maker Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) for creating the kind of buzz and excitement this week that only names like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) and smartphone sensation Xiaomi have typically been able to muster. In the last 2 days, the company and its charismatic founder Elon Musk were all over the Chinese headlines as Tesla delivered its first electric vehicles (EVs) in China on the sidelines of the nation’s biggest annual auto show happening this week in...

Don’t Bet Against SolarCity

By Jeff Siegel DISCLOSURE: Long SCTY. It wasn't an April Fool's Day gag when I said it was time to buy SolarCity Corp. (NASDAQ: SCTY) at the beginning of the month. After a brief standstill, the company's battery-backed solar projects have begun to move forward again. The State of California Public Utilities Commission has added an important item to its May 15 agenda that will make a huge difference for SolarCity. Utility companies may finally be blocked from imposing big fees on battery-backed solar systems. For more than a year, California's largest utilities companies demanded...

Cosan: Brazillian Sweetheart

by Debra Fiakas CFA The first thing we think about Brazil in the context of alternative energy is sugar cane and ethanol. In the last growing season Brazil producer 596 million tons of sugar cane, a feat that secured Brazil’s position as the largest sugar cane grower in the world.  About 55% of the crop was used to producer ethanol and the balance ended up as sugar.  Brazil’s sugar cane industry association has predicted that despite a severe drought, the 2014-2015 growing season will be even more productive with expected sugar cane production in the range 632...

New Yingli Fund Evokes Shades Of Suntech

Doug Young I wrote earlier this week about troublesome signs for the solar panel sector’s fledgling recovery after a revenue warning from Trina (NYSE: TSL), and now we’re seeing another worrisome signal with news that Yingli (NYSE: YGE) is launching a new fund to build solar power plants. This kind of scheme looks eerily similar to one that kicked off the downfall of former industry leader Suntech (NYSE: STPFQ), though there are also a few differences. Still, Yingli’s latest move signals that the industry may not have learned its lesson from the Suntech debacle. Yingli’s decision...

Trina Warning Foreshadows Solar Gloom

Doug Young After watching their shares and prospects soar over the past year, solar stocks are suddenly hitting a cloudy patch as investors anxiously wait for most companies to return to the profit column following a 2 year sector downturn. That wait may have just gotten a lot longer, following a warning from Trina (NYSE: TSL) that it will fall far short of its previous sales forecasts for the just-ended first quarter. Trina blames the problem on short-term factors, as it and other Chinese panel makers work to finalize an...

Canadian Tax Withholding In IRAs (Poll)

The Canada-US Income Tax Convention provides for the withholding of a 15% or 25% income tax on dividends and interest on dividends payed on Canadian Securities to US residents.  (This includes many of my favorite green income stocks.)  Most people can qualify for the reduced rate by filling out the NR301 Canadian tax form.  Others, such as charitable organizations and retirement accounts qualify for an exemption. Many custodians don’t get this right, and recovering improperly withheld payments is considerable work, when it’s possible at all.  Canada requires one form NR7-R form per security and per dividend payment, plus supporting...

Investors Push The Hydrogenics Reset Button

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week shares of Hydrogenics Corp. (HYGS:  Nasdaq) took a steep dip down.  Earlier in the week the company filed a shelf registration statement to raise up to $100 million in new capital over the next two years.  Then before the last day of trading began the company issued new guidance for the year 2014, suggesting weaker sales in the first quarter than previously expected but reaffirming expectations for the full year. The statement replaced an earlier shelf registration statement for a $25 million capital raise.    The filing came as no surprise to...

SolarCity’s Second Solar Lease-Backed Bond Closes Thursday

SolarCity is on the road with a $70.2m, 8yr, BBB+ rooftop solar leases securitization; closes Thursday Sean Kidney US company SolarCity (NASD:SCTY) has priced a solar bond backed by cash flows from a pool of 6,596 mainly residential solar panel systems and power purchase agreements in California, Arizona, and Colorado. Expected bond figure is $70.2 million, but the bond doesn’t close until Thursday this week. Interest rate is 4.59%. Credit Suisse is structurer and sole bookrunner. This is SolarCity’s second solar securitization in six months. Their previous (ground-breaking) bond was for $54.4 million with an...

It’s Time to Buy SolarCity

By Jeff Siegel Well, it was a record-breaking day for Texas last week. On March 26, at 8:48 p.m., nearly 30% of the Lone Star State's electricity was generated by wind. Most came from West Texas, and there wasn't a single issue regarding integration. Despite the common refrain of “the grid can't handle all this intermittent power,” Texans had no problem turning on the lights with all those extra wind-powered electrons. Of course, for those of you who rely on actual data instead of empty rhetoric, this should come as no surprise. In fact, a new study just...

Ascent Solar: Grounded

By Brandon Qureshi Recently, Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI:  Nasdaq) , a publicly traded solar power company, received an additional $5.0 million from institutional investor Ironridge Technology, thereby completing a $10 million Series B Preferred Stock investment.  AST, based in Thornton, Colorado, has emerged as a leader in the development of flexible, thin, high-performance solar panels. In order to examine AST within an industrial context, a profile of the solar power industry is necessary: According to sources such as Time and E&E Publishing, the industry has experienced record levels of popularity in the United States in the last...

Orion Energy Systems: Right Industry, Right Time

by Debra Fiakas CFA March 31st marked the end of fiscal year 2014 for Orion Energy Systems (OESX: Nasdaq), a provider of energy-saving lighting systems.  The half dozen or so analysts who follow the company on a regular basis think the company will be able to report about the same level of sales as the same quarter last year, but will actually suffer a penny loss instead of making a profit as they did last year.  If they are right it will be a setback for Orion, which higher sales this year than last and has so far...