Monthly Archives: July 2014

EU, LDK & Suntech Undermine Solar Recovery

Doug Young  The war of words against Chinese solar panel makers is heating up from both sides of the Atlantic, with growing signs that Europe may reconsider anti-dumping duties as the US moves closer to imposing its own new duties on the beleaguered manufacturers. Meantime, 2 of the biggest Chinese victims of the sector’s recent turmoil have risen from the ashes, with LDK (OTC:LDKSY) and Suntech (OTC:STPFQ) both announcing new moves more than a year after each became insolvent. Among those 2 moves, LDK’s looks the most worrisome, potentially bringing major new volumes of polysilicon, the main ingredient in...

New Tariffs Likely To Raise US Solar Prices

Jennifer Runyon The US Department of Commerce announced preliminary findings in the new trade case against Chinese and Taiwanese PV products. On Friday evening the U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) announced its preliminary findings in the antidumping duty (AD) investigations of imports of some crystalline silicon PV products from China and Taiwan. Most solar products entering the U.S. market from China and Taiwan will now face import duties. According to a fact sheet released by the DOC, the AD law “provides U.S. businesses and workers with a transparent and internationally accepted mechanism to seek relief...

Velocys Thinking Big with Microreactors

by Debra Fiakas CFA Keep the applause down!  Contain your enthusiasm for yet another biomass- or gas-to-liquids company.  Over the past several weeks I have written about a number of privately-held developers of one technology or another intended to produce a drop-in renewable fuel from biomass or natural gas.  There are more,  In this post we check in on Velocys (VCL:  London), which stands out from the rest as a public company.  No matter that it's technology looks like that of the very next renewable fuel company, it is accessible to minority investors. Until recently Velocys was...

The Utility Death Spiral: Beyond The Rhetoric

by Lynne Kiesling Unless you follow the electricity industry you may not be aware of the past year’s discussion of the impending “utility death spiral”, ably summarized in this Clean Energy Group post: There have been several reports out recently predicting that solar + storage systems will soon reach cost parity with grid-purchased electricity, thus presenting the first serious challenge to the centralized utility model. Customers, the theory goes, will soon be able to cut the cord that has bound them to traditional utilities, opting instead to self-generate using cheap PV, with batteries to regulate the intermittent...

The Quick Guide To A Green Stock Portfolio

Tom Konrad, CFA I recently published a quick guide to a green or fossil fuel free stock portfolio aimed at the small investor.  For most people, the best options will be to use mutual funds or an investment advisor.  Some of us like to do things ourselves, and build a portfolio from scratch, using individual stocks.  Doing so could rapidly become a full-time job, but it does not have to be.  Instead, you can use information which mutual funds disclose to piggy-back on their research.  Garvin Jabusch, Co-Founder and CIO of Green Alpha Advisors in...

Charging Your Portfolio With Tesla’s Gigafactory

By Jeff Siegel Last week, Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) announced that its next electric offering a competitively priced electric vehicle will hit the market in 2017. Dubbed the Model III, the 200-mile-range electric vehicle will go for $35,000. Certainly this was big news for electric car enthusiasts particularly those who can't afford an $85,000 Model S but yearn to drive one. But if you regularly follow trends in the electric vehicle space, at least the way I do, you know Tesla's announcement was just one of many big moves in the space over the...

Chinese Policy Tailwinds For Ruifeng Renew

by William Gregozeski, CFA China Ruifeng Renewable Energy Holdings Limited is a holding company with ownership interests in three energy-related businesses.  Its current focus is on wind farm operations, via its majority holdings in Hongsong, a long established wind farm, and Langcheng, a greenfield wind farm (after various purchases and sales of ownership interests it will own 85.36% of the two wind farms on a beneficial level and 68.17% on a direct equity level.  These wind farms have a current installed capacity of 398.4MW, and are expected to increase to 1,190.4MW by the end of 2017.  It...

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos: Where’s The Yield?

Tom Konrad CFA  In the first article of this survey of yield cos, I noted that many of the recent yield co IPOs have risen so far as to "lend the very term "yield co" a hint of irony" because rising stock prices are accompanied by falling annual dividend yields. Yield Co Worries Because yield cos invest in clean energy infrastructure such as wind farms and solar facilities, conservative income investors may worry about the durability of the technology.  Will solar panels still be producing power twenty...

China Poised For Significant Expansion In Wind Power Generation

by William Gregozeski, CFA China is the world’s largest producer of electricity, surpassing the United States in 2011, with demand increasing alongside its strong, sustained growth in GDP.  Electricity generation in China has increased 9.6% annually, from 2005 to 2013, reaching 5,425.1TWh of electricity.  Coal-fired plants currently make up over two-thirds of power generation, which is partly the result of an abundance of coal in China.  Despite this growth, the country expects demand to continue to increase at a rapid pace, reaching 7.295TWh of demand in 2020 and 11,595TWh in 2040.    However, the growth in electricity...

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos: Company Structure

Tom Konrad CFA In the first article of this survey of yield cos, I looked at the possible reasons for the seemingly endless enthusiasm for US-listed clean energy yield cos.  Here, I'll take a look at how these yield cos are constructed, and why investors should prefer one structure over another. Who's Your Daddy? Most yield cos have been created by clean energy project developers in order to create a ready, low-cost buyer for those projects.  With the recent string of very successful IPOs, the capital available for such projects may prove...

Bumpy Uphill Road For BYD EVs

Doug Young Electric vehicle maker BYD (HKEx: 1211; Shenzhen: 002594; OTC:BYDDF) has been zipping in and out of the headlines this past week, including its latest announcement that it will open a manufacturing plant in Brazil to service the BRICS country and the broader Latin American market. The company’s EV business, a major factor that attracted billionaire investor Warren Buffett as a major backer, also got good news from Beijing this week with word of a major government drive to boost new energy vehicle buying. Despite those positive moves, the company still has yet to received its...

Rulings Boost China Wind, Solar In US

Doug Young In a quirk of timing, 2 completely unrelated rulings are boosting the outlook for Chinese new energy firms from the wind and solar sectors in their complex relationship with the US. The 2 cases are quite different, but each reflects the wariness Washington feels towards these Chinese firms due to their government ties. In the bigger of the 2 cases, a World Trade Organization panel has ruled that US anti-dumping tariffs against Chinese solar panel makers violate WTO rules. In the second case, a US judge’s ruling has given a boost to a...

Fifteen Clean Energy Yield Cos, Created Unequal

Tom Konrad CFA Renewable Energy Investing Grows Up. In January I predicted 2014 would be the year "renewable energy finance comes of age."  Here's how Jennifer Runyon quoted me on Renewable Energy World: Konrad believes that 2014 will be a great year for renewable energy finance, he said.  He said that we saw the beginning of it in 2013 with the securitization of a bond by Solar City (SCTY) and pointed to Hannon Armstrong’s (HASI) securitization of an energy efficiency bond in late December 2013 as another indicator that renewable energy...

The Story Is Storage

by Joseph McCabe, PE Walking into the 2014 Intersolar North America San Francisco exhibit it became apparent there was a story embedded in the products and services displayed on the three different floors of the Moscone Center West. The third floor of the exhibits was dominated by PV structure companies which have entered into a competitive blood bath since our last report. Dominating the first floor were Chinese PV manufacturers Jinko Solar (NYSE: JKS), Canadian Solar (NYSE: CSIQ), Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) and Yingli (NYSE: YGE) all sharing the center exhibit space. Although Chinese solar...

Tesla Faces Costly Trademark Headache

Doug Young Tesla trademark dispute resurfaces. After zooming into China with a slick publicity campaign earlier this year, electric car superstar  Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) has run into a major new roadblock in one of its most promising markets over a trademark dispute. Tesla thought it had settled a matter that jumped into the headlines last summer as it was preparing to formally move into China. But apparently the trademark squatter who purchased the Tesla names in English and Chinese wasn’t satisfied, and has formally sued the company....

BioAmber Goes Ballistic

Jim Lane Word arrived from Minnesota that BioAmber has signed a 210,000 ton per year take-or-pay contract for bio-based succinic acid with Vinmar International. Explaining why BioAmber (BIOA) stock shot up nearly 17% in today’s trading despite a global equities pullback that affected almost everyone else in industrial biotech. Under the terms of the 15-year agreement, Vinmar has committed to purchase and BioAmber Sarnia has committed to sell 10,000 tons of succinic acid per year from the 30,000 ton per year capacity plant that is currently under construction in Sarnia, Canada. Bottom line, BioAmber continues to roll and roll....