How Energy Deregulation Affects States and Stocks

by Elaine Thompson Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in an executive summary of its New Energy Outlook 2017 report, predicts renewable energy sources will represent almost three-quarters of the $10.2 trillion the world will invest in new power-generating technology. Analysts outline several reasons for this increase in spending, such as the decreasing costs of wind and solar and consumers’ increasing interest in solar panels. Competition between power sources also continues to grow, with products like utility-scale batteries upsetting coal and natural gas’s roles in the marketplace. But more importantly, state-driven renewable portfolio standards pave the way for additional ventures in renewable energy technologies, particularly...

Smarting Up Electrical Grids

by Debra Fiakas CFA My recent post “Bull Case in Rick Perry’s Grid Study” highlighted efforts by U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry to help the coal industry with a study of the U.S. electrical grid.  Coal has long claimed advantage as a ‘dispatchable’ power source, i.e. a consistently available power source suitable to supply power for the base load.  Technology is making base load less important.  Indeed, modernized or ‘smart’ electrical grids are making it possible to take advantage of low-cost renewable power sources even though they produce power intermittently and are therefore considered ‘not dispatchable’. ...

Microgrids: The Electric BTM Line

by Joeseph McCabe, P.E. Which vendors at Intersolar 2016 in San Francisco supply the best behind the meter self generation microgrid solutions?  I’ve asked similar questions about utility owned inverters, storage, and microgrids at previous Intersolars. This year I looked into the microgrid highest value propositions for photovoltaics (PV). What is a microgrid, and why they are coming of age now? A microgrid is a distinct electric system consisting of distributed energy resources which can include demand management, storage and generation.  Loads are capable of operating in parallel with, or independently from, the...

Net Metering Is the Solar Industry’s Junk Food

Shoppers who bring reusable bags to the grocery store buy more junk food. This example is part of a growing body of behavioral psychology research showing that when we feel good about ourselves for doing one thing right, we give ourselves permission to be careless in other areas. The solar installation industry seems to be falling into the "reusable shopping bag" trap. Solar itself is the reusable shopping bag. The junk food is net metering. Net metering is a simple, intuitive way to pay for solar generation at retail rates. But it puts solar companies on...

The War On Net Metering

by Paula Mints Net metering and interconnection are rights afforded distributed generation (DG) residential and commercial solar system owners through the U.S. Energy Policy Act of 2005. The act required publically owned utilities to offer net metering and left the various policies up to the states to enact. In 2004, before that energy policy was enacted, 39 states had net metering and interconnection standards and policies. At the beginning of 2016, 43 U.S. states and three territories had net metering policies, and four states had policies similar to net metering that the Database of State Incentives for Renewables...

Energy Infrastructure Construction Made Easy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Electric power companies need plenty of generating plants and distribution works to bring electricity to our doors.  Electric utilities are very good at generating electricity and managing relationships with the families and businesses that use the power, but building all that infrastructure  -  drawing up plans, hauling in materials and fastening girders  -  is not necessarily a power company’s strong suit.  Enter Quanta, Inc. (PWR:  NYSE) with a full menu of design, engineering and construction services for electricity generation and distribution infrastructure. Solving problems for electric utilities is good business for Quanta.  The...

Moving Microgrids Beyond R&D

by Joe McCabe Where is the money in microgrids? My goal at this years Intersolar event was to try and answer this question; to figure out the value proposition of microgrids as they relate to distributed generation, storage, renewable energy and photovoltaics.  A microgrid is an electrical supply and use system that can operate autonomously. Although all microgrids are small relative to the electric grid as a whole, the huge size of the grid leaves a broad range of what can count as “micro.”  Microgrids can be as small as a single building, but range on...

PowerSecure on a Solar Roll

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week PowerSecure International (POWR:  Nasdaq) announced the award of orders valued at $100 million for new solar projects.  About 15% of the work will be completed in the final quarter of this year and the rest of the revenue will be recorded in 2016.  The announcement sent investors into a tizzy.  PowerSecure reported $283.4 million in total sales for the twelve months ending March 2015, primarily for solar power infrastructure and smart grid technology destined for electric utilities and microgrids.  Securing orders equivalent to 35% of its current revenue run rate...

The Value of Net Metered Electricity in New York

by Tom Konrad, Ph.D. Net metering is unfair and is dangerous for the long term health of utilities, at least according to Raymond Wuslich, when he spoke at the 2015 Renewable Energy Conference in Poughkeepsie, NY.  Wustlich is an attorney and partner at Winston & Strawn, LLP., and advises clients across the electricity and natural gas industries on Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) matters. To make his point, Wuslich used a simplified New York residential electric bill.  In this simplified bill, the customer was charged 12¢ per kWh for...

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...

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...

When Will Solar Microinverters Reach Commercial Scale?

Microinverters are being used in smaller commercial solar installations, but the industry is in flux and coming regulations may drastically change the playing field.

Microinverters Make a Move on Multi-MW Solar Power Installations

Tildy Bayar A microinverter from iEnergy Photovoltaic (PV) microinverters, traditionally used in smaller rooftop solar installations, are being used in a 2.3-MW commercial rooftop installation in Ontario, Canada, supplier Enphase Energy (ENPH) has announced. The installation is the largest commercial rooftop project under the province’s feed-in tariff (FiT). Analysis firm IHS Research has called the announcement a milestone in the microinverter segment’s progress towards establishing itself outside its biggest market, the U.S., and outside the residential solar segment.  According to IHS’s analysis, PV microinverter shipments are forecast to exceed...

Three Overpriced Alternative Energy Stocks & Two Bargains

By Harris Roen Knowing when to get in and out of a stock is critical to being a successful investor. This is especially true in the volatile alternative energy sector. The Roen Financial Report calculates a fair value range for each of the +/-250 alternative energy stocks that it tracks, so that investors can better understand a stocks relative value. Comparing the current stock price to the fair value range helps determine whether a stock is considered overvalued, undervalued, or at fair value. Which stocks are good prospects for the future, and where should investors proceed...

Solar PV Inverter Market Shakeout Continues With ABB and Power-One Deal

James Montgomery A pair of analyst reports issued last week came to roughly the same conclusion about the market for solar PV inverters: It's getting crowded and complicated, with top incumbents facing challenges in maintaining near-term growth in an increasingly fragmented market. Those PV inverter stalwarts will need to pursue more restructuring and mergers & acquisitions to stay atop the shifting and broadening customer base, addressing everything from tough-to-crack markets (e.g. China, Japan) and embracing newer technologies such as module-level power conversion, i.e. microinverters, say IMS Research and GTM Research. This consolidation has already started to play...

The Smart Grid in 2013: Three Green Money Managers Square Off on EnerNOC

Tom Konrad What will the New Year hold for Clean Energy?   For the people who manage clean energy portfolios, mutual funds, and indexes the question is more than idle curiosity.  Getting the answer right means finding the stocks which will put a shine on your solar portfolio’s returns.  Getting it wrong means the competition will blow away your wind stocks. I asked my network of green money managers for their predictions.  This is the second in a series on their predictions and stock picks from my panel.  This first article focused on what they had to...