Monthly Archives: November 2014

Chinese Solar Cos Go Shopping To Avoid Troubles At Home

Doug Young  Bottom line: Sputtering progress for China’s solar power build-up could erode domestic panel makers’ performance, prompting some to buy more overseas assets to avoid punitive trade barriers in the west. The latest trouble signs in China’s ambitious solar power build-up are coming in newly released quarterly results from Trina (NYSE: TSL), which has reduced its annual sales targets after scrapping one of its planned new projects in the country. At the same time, China’s industry continues to look for ways to circumvent anti-dumping tariffs in the west by setting up off-shore production and purchasing foreign assets to...

China Struggles To Meet Solar Targets

Doug Young Bottom line: China is likely to fall well short of its plan for 35 gigawatts of solar power capacity by the end of next year due to profit-seeking speculation and lack of experience among plant builders and operators. I’ve been quite skeptical for a while about China’s ambitious plans to rapidly build up its solar power capacity, arguing that many of the plants being built are more designed to please central planners in Beijing than of real practical use. Now it seems at least one researcher at a major government institute agrees with that view,...

Highlands EnviroFuels Wants Gevo’s Isobutanol Tech For Florida Plant

Jim Lane Plant to convert sugar cane and sweet sorghum to 20-25 million gallons per year of Isobutanol From Colorado, Gevo (GEVO) announced that Highlands EnviroFuels has signed a letter of intent to become a Gevo licensee to produce renewable isobutanol. Highlands will build a commercial-scale “Brazilian-style” syrup mill in Highlands County, Florida, which would have a production capacity of approximately 200,000 metric tons of fermentable sugar per year. The facility will process locally grown sugar cane and sweet sorghum to a high quality syrup as a clean sugar stream for fermentation and recovery of isobutanol....

MagneGas’ Industrial Plasma

by Debra Fiakas CFA Alternative chemicals developer MagneGas Corporation (MNGA:  Nasdaq) is posting another guard at the gate.  The company recently filed a patent application to protect new enhancements of its plasma arc technology and gasification system.  Plasma is any gas taken to a whole new phase through extremely high temperatures.  For perspective the sun is actually a very large ball of plasma.  Here on Earth MagneGas is using its proprietary system to gasify carbon-rich liquids such as municipal wastewater to produce hydrogen gas for industrial applications and vehicle fuel.  Many investors have probably heard about...

Walmart Loves SolarCity

SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) is up 5% on an unsurprising new solar deal with Walmart (NYSE: WMT) By Jeff Siegel SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) investors were a bit giddy Friday. The company enjoyed a nice bump after it was announced that Walmart (NYSE: WMT) had hired the company to install new solar projects at Walmart facilities in up to 36 different states over the next four years. SCTY has actually been working with Walmart since 2010, so it's not particularly surprising that Walmart's next round of solar installations is being carried out through SolarCity. Now while I'm certainly pleased to...

Yield Co Pricing Less Irrational, But Plenty Of Opportunity Left

Tom Konrad CFA   Yieldcos are companies which own clean energy assets and use the cash flows from them to deliver a high level of current dividend yield and (in some cases) the promise of significant dividend growth.  Investors like them because yield is scarce in the current low interest rate environment.  While investors like the relatively high yield offered by yield cos, they are only starting to discriminate between yield cos on the basis of current and future dividends.  Four months ago, I published the following chart and noted that the yield cos...

Northland Power’s Solar-Backed Bond

New Canadian Climate bond: Northland Power releases a pretty big ABS - CA$232m (US$206m) - backed by solar projects with proceeds for renewables. 18-year tenor, 4.397% coupon, BBB. Securitisation key future area for green bonds.

Amyris’ Date With Destiny: Better Late Than Never

Jim Lane Amyris was dismissed by the critics some time ago, but is ately continuing a big comeback. We have become so accustomed to receiving obituaries of Amyris (AMRS) that recently I was inspired to re-read the Devotions of John Donne to discover if, in fact, he wrote, “Send not to know for Whom the Bell Tolls, it Tolls for Amyris.” Amyris, we were recently assured by short-sellers, was as dead as a doornail, just as Jacob Marley was reputed to be in the opening stave of A Christmas Carol and it is therefore...

Advanced Energy: Bargain Green Stock Turns Around

by Debra Fiakas CFA Everybody likes a bargain.  Investors really like a good cheap buy.  A review of our four alternative energy industries revealed three stocks trading below industry average multiples of forecasted earnings. This is the final article in the series, the first looked at Ormat (ORA:NYSE), and the second looked at Kadant (KAI:NYSE).    The first week in November 2014, could have been a turning point for trading in shares of Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (AEIS:  Nasdaq).  The company reported flat sales in the quarter ending September 2014, compared to the same quarter last...

Gevo Finds A Way

Jim Lane Like Rocky Balboa, no matter how many punches they take, Gevo just won’t fall over. In fact, the company’s prospects have brightened considerably in recent months is the company “gonna fly now”? How and why is success on the horizon? For most of its history, Gevo has looked like a long-shot a company aiming at making high-value, bio-based butanol, mostly from corn sugars, via retrofitting its exotic bug into ethanol fermenters. The opportunity is pretty simple to understand. Isobutanol sells for around 60 cents a pound, sugars check in at 16 cents...

Kadant: Will Investors Clean Up With This Bargain Green Stock?

Everybody likes a bargain.  Investors really like a good cheap buy.  A review of our four alternative energy industries revealed three stocks trading below industry average multiples of forecasted earnings. This is the second article in the series, thee first looked at Ormat (ORA:NYSE).    A couple of weeks ago shares of Kadant, Inc. (KAI:  NYSE) registered an particularly bullish formation  -  at least from a technical standpoint.  A ‘triple top breakout’ was formed in a point and figure chart, suggesting demand for the stock outpaces supply.  Given the new momentum that has developed, the stock could reach...

GCL-Poly Mops Up Chaori Solar Mess

Doug Young Bottom line: Solar consolidators like GCL-Poly and Shunfeng will suffer short-term pressure due to difficult acquisitions, but could be longer-term beneficiaries as they earn government goodwill for their actions. The latest deal involving an insolvent solar panel maker is seeing a group led by GCL-Poly Energy (HKEx: 3800) take control of bankrupt Chaori Solar, in a takeover that looks slightly ominous but also potentially interesting for investors. The ominous element comes from the fact that these bankruptcy proceedings are occurring Chinese courts, where local politics are often more important than forging deals that make commercial...

Ormat: A Bargain Green Stock?

by Debra Fiakas CFA Everybody likes a bargain.  Investors really like a good cheap buy.  A review of our four alternative energy industries revealed several stocks trading below industry average multiples of forecasted earnings.   Tracking the geothermal power generators has frequently taken us to the door of Ormat Technologies, Inc. (ORA:  NYSE).  Ormat has two revenue segments:  power generation through geothermal generators and energy recovery and equipment sales to utility and industrial customers installing geothermal power plants.  The company owns and operates plants with 626 megawatts generating power and has supplied equipment around the world for another...

Interview With Dan Oh, CEO Of Renewable Energy Group

Jim Lane Leading a series this week, “The Strategics Speak", in which we’ll look at what a number of major strategic investors see in the landscape relating to industrial, energy and agricultural investment, Biofuels Digest visited with Dan Oh, CEO of Renewable Energy Group (REGI), which has long been the US’s leading independent biodiesel producer but in recent years has steadily diversified and expanded operations. In many ways, REG is the entire industrial biotech business in a nutshelll. They’re fermentation (through REG Life Sciences), and thermocatalytic (through REG Geismar and their extensive biodiesel business). They use both...

Ramp-Up Delay Sends Solazyme Stock Into Free-Fall

Jim Lane Revenue and customer numbers are up at Solazyme (SZYM), 60% YOY growth from Q3 2013 to Q3 2014. But a slowdown in the rollout at Moema capacity leads to a spectacular 58% one-day drop in the stock price. What happened? Solazyme has been on a relatively steady downward trajectory for the past few quarters, dropping from the $11-$13 range and down into the $6-$8 range. And then plunged a stunning 58 percent to $3.14 yesterday – amidst downgrades by Cowen & Company, Pacific Crest and Baird generally to Market Perform or Neutral, and remains...

Will Falling Oil Prices Destroy Tesla?

By Jeff Siegel Oh my God! Oh my God! Saudi Arabia cut oil prices and crude fell all the way to $75.84 today. Sell it, dump it, run for the hills! How far will it go? No one knows. But hold on to your asses, because things are going to get crazy! We're awash in oil, demand is waning, the Saudi plan to wipe out the U.S. shale market is underway. Gas prices will fall back to $2.00 a gallon, everyone will be happy, gas-guzzlers will make a comeback, and electric cars are...