Monthly Archives: September 2014

Casella Back In The Dumps, But Ready To Pick Up?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Casella Plants Flag in Waste-to-Energy The solid waste collection and disposal industry has been transformed by the building enthusiasm for waste recycling.  Founded in 1975, Casella Waste Systems (CWST:  Nasdaq) has been around to experience a lot of change and has been quick to get on the bandwagon.  The company is a self-described recycler and resource manager as well as a solid waste collector. Granted the company is still heavily focused on its conventional solid waste business.  Casella management has outlined a four-point plan to grow the company and increase profits.  Top on...

SolarCity or Vivint Solar?

By Jeff Siegel In as soon as five years, you could be living right next door to a power plant. Actually, even closer. The power plant could be operating from right inside your home. I'm serious. Take a look... This is a backup battery system installed in a home that's powered by domestically generated electrons, courtesy of the biggest nuclear reactor known to humans: the sun. And according to super genius Elon Musk, within five to 10 years, every set of solar panels installed by SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) will come with a battery pack. Nighttime Solar Musk's cousin and...

Covanta: The Big Player In Waste-to-Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Covanta Holding Corp. (CVA:  NYSE) is among the largest waste-to-energy developers and producers in the U.S.  The company couples waste collection services for local government and industry with power generation for local municipal or commercial customers.  Covanta’s waste handling and ‘mass-burn’ process also allows for metal recovery and sales.  The company operates forty-six waste-to-energy facilities mostly in North America supported by eighteen waste transfer stations and four ash landfills.  Covanta is a big player in the waste-to-energy industry, but what kind of yield does it's stock offer investors? Covanta’s management team...

Big Money Looking For Green Investments

Sean Kidney Climate Finance session at UN Summit is electric.  Insurers go wild with promises; investors plead for green investments; Jim Kim almost breaks out in song about green bonds. It's the day after the UN Climate Summit party in New York. Yes I do feel as if I'm hungover; but it was a gas. If you're one of those who worry about the world, there is something magical in being inside the totemic General Assembly, with it's embodiment of one world idealism. Ban Ki Moon's audacious Summit convening (that's really the only power we allow...

RDX: Waste Water-to-Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week RDX Technologies, Inc. (RGDEF:  OTCQX or RDX: TSXV) announced an agreement to supply renewable diesel to the Tyson Farms’ Temperanceville Facility in Virginia.  The Energy Division of RDX sells three grades of methyl ester fuels that can be used in boilers and small generators.  RDX did not disclose the value or size of the Tyson Farms contract.  However, the contract apparently is for one year with a second year option. RDX operates renewable fuel plants in Missouri and California.  Waste streams are aggregated at the two plants by truck and processed...

Signs Of Trouble For Chinese Solar Stocks

Doug Young Regular readers will know I’m a bit bearish lately on the solar panel manufacturing sector, largely because I believe its recent rebound is being fueled as much by hype as real business after a prolonged downturn. A new report on some of the sector’s so called “growth engines”, coupled with a separate report on a dispute at one of the top surviving players, are adding fuel to my skepticism that the sector’s recent sharp rebound isn’t really happening. At the very least, the recent reports indicate the rebound isn’t nearly as strong as many are claiming,...

5 Clean Energy Yieldcos Flying Under The Radar

by Tom Konrad CFA The launch last year of NRG Energy's YieldCo, NRG Yield (NYSE:NYLD), and the subsequent near-doubling of its price, set off a feeding frenzy on Wall Street.  YieldCos are companies which own clean energy assets and use the reliable cash flows from those assets to pay dividends to investors. Investors like YieldCos because many offer yields well above that available from most other stocks, including the fossil fuel-based master limited partnerships, upon which many YieldCos are modeled. Developers of clean energy projects find YieldCos attractive because the stock market provides capital for clean energy...

Chinese Solar Development Funds: Recipe For Disaster?

Doug Young Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ) has joined a growing field of Chinese solar panel makers entering the risky business of speculative development in China, with its launch of a new locally-based fund for solar power construction. The move follows the establishment of self-financed vehicles for similar speculative construction by rivals Trina (NYSE: TSL), Yingli (NYSE: YGE) and wind power equipment maker Ming Yang (NYSE: MY), as they try to create more demand for their products. Under such a strategy, solar panel makers typically provide some or all of...

One Solar Installation, Five Stocks

Tom Konrad CFA Invest In What You Know "Invest in what you know" is an old stock market adage.  The idea is that, if you have some personal knowledge of the real economy, you can use that to make better investments.  How useful this adage is depends on how you apply it.  If you know more about a stock market sector than other investors because of "what you know," it's possible to make better investments because you may be better at spotting future trends.  If, on the other hand, you feel you know a sector...

Future Fuel’s Enticing Earnings

by Debra Fiakas CFA Who doesn’t like a bargain?  FutureFuel Corporation (FF:  NYSE) is trading near $13.15 per share, below nine times net earnings.  Yet, the enticing earnings multiple might be only part of the story. The stock has gapped down in price twice in the last six months, trailing off after each leg down.  The stock now appears oversold. Based in Missouri, FutureFuel produces biodiesel and biobased speciality chemical products.  In the twelve months ending June 2014, the company reported $396.9 million in sales, providing $53.5 million in net income or $1.52 per share. ...

Cellulosic Feedstock: The Gap Between Switchgrass And High Yield Corn

Jim Lane  As the first wave of cellulosic biorefineries launch is there really enough affordable feedstock for the next wave? Can growers make enough money to justify the switch…and risk? For several years, the questions that have perplexed actors in the advanced bioeconomy have revolved around policy stability and the effectiveness of the new technology: can new advanced fuels be affordably produced and will there be a market for them? Years ago, these were the same questions that were asked about petroleum. Today, when people talk about petroleum and long-term availability (when they choose not to...

SolarCity Product Can Increase Generation On Flat Roofs Up To 50%

By Jeff Siegel While solar bears and short-mongers celebrated the 8% dip in SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) yesterday, opportunists are sniffing around for another buying opportunity. Especially those who didn't take my advice to load up after the stock fell below $50 back in March. What a bargain that was! In any event, SCTY took it on the chin yesterday, and I suspect there will continue to be some ebbs and flows in the near-term. Long-term, however, SCTY remains a solid play on the growth of solar in the United States. It's also worth noting that SCTY has just unveiled a...

Three Stock Alerts: CREG, EFOI, OPTT

By Harris Roen Three volatile alternative energy stocks release earnings reports. Two of the stocks jump, one drops. China Recycling Energy Corp (CREG) More Info Latest earnings report for China Recycling Energy Corp shows a huge jump in revenues and net income. Insider selling, however, has led to stock losses. CREG is down 75% from where it was trading just this March. Seeking Alpha Energy Focus, Inc (EFOI) Profits...

Sketches of DuPont’s Cellulosic Ethanol Project in Nevada, Iowa

Jim Lane  It towers above the surrounding Iowa countryside like the Launch Assembly Building lords it over Cape Canaveral it’s the new DuPont (DD) cellulosic ethanol project, on the outskirts of the town of Nevada. Functional yet inspiring, imposing yet accessible when it opens before year end 2014 it is sure to be a monumental addition to the cellulosic biofuels landscape. Last week we wrote: “There are strategic reasons to develop this new industrial bioscience business in central Iowa not just the “we’d love to have you, wages are low, cost of...

The Ginsu Knife of Biofuel Litgation: Butamax vs Gevo

Jim Lane  It’s like the selling of Ginsu knives, the legal dispute between these two companies. No matter how much you hear….but wait, there’s more! This week, we heard from Butamax that the District Court of Delaware has issued an order scheduling two further rounds of patent infringement actions pending between Butamax and Gevo (GEVO) for resolution. The next phase of litigation, involving three Butamax patents asserted against Gevo, will begin in September 2014 with the discovery process and trial is scheduled for August 2015. Thereafter the remaining cases, involving three other Butamax patents asserted against Gevo,...

Divesting: Last One Out Loses

Tom Konrad CFA Anew report written by Nathaniel Bullard at Bloomberg New Energy Finance highlights the difficulties large institutional investors would have divesting from fossil fuels. What it does not specifically discuss is that these difficulties could lead to large financial losses for investors who see the difficulty of divesting as a reason to delay. Just as we can't easily fill up our cars with solar power instead of gasoline, the report points out that there is no asset class that can directly substitute for oil and gas in large institutional portfolios. A person...