Monthly Archives: February 2015

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2015: A Fine February

Tom Konrad CFA After a rough start to the year,  My Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015 posted a strong recovery in February.  For the month, the model portfolio rose 7.9% in local currency terms and, 8.3% in dollar terms.  For comparison the broad universe of US small cap stocks rose 5.9% (as measured by IWM, the Russell 2000 index ETF), and the most widely held clean energy ETF, PBW, shot up 11.6%. This year I split the model portfolio into two sub-portfolios of six income stocks (NYSE:HASI, NYSE:BGC, TSX:...

Tesla Vs. Hydrogen

By Jeff Siegel One of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's dreams may soon be coming to fruition. During his time as governor, while singing the praises of renewable energy progress in the Golden State, the Terminator would often tell tree-hugging Californians about his dream of building a hydrogen highway that would enable hydrogen-powered vehicles to run from Mexico to Canada  via California. Not only did Prius drivers and vegans applaud the governor's dream, but it even got a decent amount of support from former GM Chairman Bob Lutz and President George W. Bush. Since that time, California has managed to build...

SolarEdge looks to Raise $125 Million in IPO

By Tim Conneally From a huge crop of Israeli cleantech companies, solar power optimization and management startup SolarEdge has filed for a $125 million initial public offering on the NASDAQ exchange. SolarEdge has been talking about IPO since 2011, but opted instead to work with venture capital through three separate funding rounds. By the time it completed its Series D, SolarEdge had raised a total of $37 million from more than ten venture capital groups. The company's CFO recently told Bloomberg that it was difficult to grow such a large company with only private money. An IPO was...

The Light On Blue Sphere’s Horizon

by Debra Fiakas CFA The stakes were high at the beginning of its fiscal year 2015, as Blue Sphere, Inc. (BLSP:  OTC/QB), a developer of waste-to-energy projects, was facing deadlines to fulfill its contractual commitments to the sellers of its two ‘front burner’ waste-to-energy projects in North Carolina and Rhode Island.  In the four intervening months it appears Blue Sphere has won all bets. Blue Sphere had purchased a biogas project from original owner Orbit Energy and had received an equipment financing commitment from Caterpillar.  Unfortunately, an equity financing source withdrew its interest as...

BYD Hopes To Recharge With Asset Sale

Doug Young Bottom line: BYD’s latest asset sale, combined with its new auto finance joint venture, are both aimed at boosting its struggling EV business, but it may have to sell off more assets before the market finally starts to gain some momentum. Struggling electric car maker BYD (HKEx: 1211; Shenzhen: 002594; OTC:BYDDF)  is starting to look a bit desperate, announcing a major asset sale just days after it received approval for a stalled finance joint venture aimed at boosting its sputtering sales. The approval this week for its auto finance joint venture comes as rival...

The Top Ten PV Manufacturers: What The List Doesn’t Mean

by Paula Mints Every year at this time lists of lessons learned during the previous year give way to lists of top ten PV manufacturers. It’s time to ask what these lists mean, and whether they have a purpose to the ongoing growth and health of the photovoltaic industry. So Many Numbers, So Little Time There is more than one way to size the photovoltaic industry and unfortunately, much of the time are the metrics are considered to be synonymous.  The PV industry is sized by capacity, shipments, production, module assembly capacity, installations and...

Chinese Bureaucracy Casts Cloud Over Shiny Solar Finance

Doug Young Bottom line: Complaints of problems from a major solar plant builder reflect the difficulty of new construction in China, and could wreak havoc on the sales and finances of panel makers and their construction partners. Solar entrepreneur Shi complains of bureaucracy Two solar energy news items are showing both the attraction and also the frustration that developers are feeling as they try to build new clean-energy power plants to help China wean itself from its dependence on fossil fuels. On the attraction side of the story, the industry...

Enphase Acquires O&M Provider Next Phase Solar

Meg Cichon Enphase (ENPH) has been slowly inching its way into the solar service business on both a residential and commercial scale, and may even tap utility-scale projects in the near future, according to Marty Rogers, Enphase’s vice president of worldwide customer service and support. Last year Enphase announced a partnership with solar crowdfunding platform Mosaic to offer O&M services to residential solar loan customers. More recently, it announced a commercial O&M offering that combines its C250 commercial microinverter technology with services that assist the design, installation and maintenance of solar projects, including cloud-based monitoring and a dedicated service...

Tesla Hopes To Electrify Weak Chinese Sales

Doug Young Bottom line: Tesla’s weak China performance owes mostly to its lackluster marketing to wealthy, status-conscious Chinese car fanatics, but its situation could quickly improve if it finds a new marketing-savvy country head. After roaring into China last year on a wave of hugely positive publicity, electric car superstar Tesla (Nasdaq: TSLA) has rapidly lost momentum and now appears on the cusp of a major overhaul in a bid to jump-start its prospects. This kind of development isn’t hard to understand, as Tesla’s charismatic CEO Elon Musk set the...

Cosan’s Crush

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Cosan Limited (CZZ:  NYSE) revealed a decision to delay the spin-off and recapitalization of its natural gas distribution network, COMGAS.  Management cited unfavorable capital market decisions.  Cosan has a mix of businesses, of which we have been most interested in its Raisen Energia sugar cane agriculture and ethanol production.  Raisen is a joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell that was initiated in 2011.  The operation squeezes over four million tons of sugar from cane grown in its fields and two billion liters of ethanol each year. The ethanol is sold through Shell’s...

Sol-Wind: A Unique Yieldco

By Jeff Siegel  President Obama gave renewable energy investors a very nice gift this week... As a part of his new budget proposal, the president is seeking a 7.2% increase in funding for “clean energy.” As well, he is asking for a permanent extension for the solar investment tax credit (ITC) and the wind energy production tax credit (PTC). The solar ITC is set to expire at the end of 2016, and the wind energy PTC has already expired. I can pretty much guarantee that a permanent extension of these tax credits is not going to happen....

Earnings Round-Up: ADM, Green Plains, Syngenta

Jim Lane Green Plains In Nebraska, Green Plains (GPRE) announced net income for the quarter was $42.2 million compared to net income of $25.5 million for the same period in 2013. Revenues were $829.9 million for the fourth quarter of 2014 compared to $712.9 million for the same period in 2013. Net income for the full year was $159.5 million compared to $43.4 million for the same period in 2013. Revenues were $3.2 billion for the full year of 2014 compared to $3.0 billion for the same period in 2013. Fourth quarter 2014 EBITDA was $90.7 million compared to...

Solar: Energy, But Not Oil

by Garvin Jabusch Solar photovoltaic (PV) as a means of deriving energy is fundamentally different from fossil fuel-based commodities (oil, coal, and gas). Consider: A solar PV panel can be thought of as nothing more than a hugely oversized computer chip a bunch of circuitry embedded in a silicon wafer. Indeed, in most economic sector classification schemes (GICS, etc.), PV manufacturers are defined as "semiconductors," which is basically true (if misleading in other ways).  So different are the driving economics behind tech-based and commodities-based means of deriving energy, that we at Green Alpha are recommending to Standard &...

Amyris’ Missing Magic

by Debra Fiakas CFA Since the end of August last year shares of renewable chemicals developer Amyris (AMRS:  Nasdaq) have been in a steady decline.  Since falling through a line of price support near the $2.50 price level in early December 2014, it appears there is no safety net for AMRS.  The stock set a new 52-week low in the third week in January 2015.  Unfortunately, a popular technical indicator, the average directional index, is providing a very strong indication that the stock could fall even further.   With its stock chart providing no hints at a reversal in...

Ten Clean Energy Stocks: A Rocky Start To 2015

Tom Konrad CFA 2015 got off to a rocky start for both the broad market in general, as well as clean energy.  My Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2015 model portfolio dd not fare any better, since the main bright spots for the portfolio were its three Canadian stocks, but these were dragged down by the 9% decline in the Canadian dollar for the month. For the month, the model portfolio was down 3.6% in local currency terms, but fell 7.2% in dollar terms.  For comparison the broad universe of US small cap stocks was...

Water Stocks: Better Than Oil Or Smartphones

By Jeff Siegel I've never understood it, but no one really gives a damn about water. Sure, it's the foundation of life. But what does that matter when we can get cheap smartphones and Internet-connected washing machines? Those things are exciting, and there's proverbial gold in those silicon hills. Don't get me wrong; I love technology and continue to profit handsomely by devoting a small portion of my portfolio to tech stocks. My point, however, is that while technology is great, without water, we die. It's pretty simple, really. Yet when it comes to investing, few investors take...