Is Cree, Inc. (CREE) Likely to Burn Out?

Tom Konrad, CFA Pioneering light-emitting diode (LED) maker Cree, Inc. looks overvalued. Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, can be made to shine more brightly by increasing the power to them.  This has the unfortunate effect of overheating the leads and shortening the lifespan of the LED.  A similar effect may soon hit the stock of LED maker, Cree, Inc. (CREE.) Since I began the tradition, Cree has been a mainstay of my annual portfolio of ten stocks for the next year, published each January (See the 2008 and 2009 lists.  The Cree-free 2010 list is here.)  LEDs have been among...

Smart Grid Stocks For The Obama Stimulus Package

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how a new Obama administration would renew with Keynesianism (i.e. large-scale counter-cyclical infrastructure spending) but with a green twist to: (a) get the US economy out of its funk and (b) propel America into the 21st Century by providing a massive push for its green industries. I discussed certain rail stocks and electric grid stocks that could benefit as a result. By-and-large, I've been right on both counts about the President-elect's strategy (i.e. Keynesian and green), but I did forget to mention an important part of the plan's focus:...

A Guide to Geothermal Heat Pump (GHP) Investing, Part I

Chris Williams According to the Solar Energy Industry Association (SEIA), in 2010 solar was the fastest growing industry in the US, growing at 67%. The geothermal heat pump (GHP) industry still grew quickly compared to the whole economy, but it only grew at a modest 32% compared to solar. According to Solar Buzz, at the end of 2009, the global solar market was $38.5 billion with the US installing nearly 8% solar, or $3.1 billion of the world market. Source: Solarbuzz 2010 Marketbuzz According to PMGO, an industry research firm, “The total market for U.S. GHPs in 2009 is estimated to be about $3.7...

Looking for Cash in Old Refrigerators

by Debra Fiakas CFA Appliance Recycling Centers of America (ARCI:  NYSE) is a typical small company, toiling away in seeming obscurity and struggling to get proper valuation of their success.  There is little glamour in old refrigerators and washing machines, but ARCA has figured out how to wring cash from recycling our household appliances.  In the last three fiscal years the company converted 1.6% of sales to operating cash flow. Unfortunately, things have turned a bit sour in the world of old Frigidaires and tired Maytags.  Last week ARCA reported financial results for the quarter ending September 2015.  The company suffered...
LED lighting

List of LED Lighting Stocks

LED lighting stocks are publicly traded companies involved in the manufacture or deployment of efficient LED lighting technology. AIXTRON SE (AIXA.DE) Acuity Brands (AYI) Amtech Systems Inc (ASYS) Applied Materials (AMAT) Carmanah Technologies Corporation (CMH.TO, CMHXF) Cree, Inc. (CREE) Energy Focus (EFOI) EPISTAR corporation (2448.TW) Koninklijke Philips N.V. (PHG) Lighting Science Group Corporation (LSCG) Lime Energy (LIME: Nasdaq) LSI Industries Inc. (LYTS) Orion Energy Systems, Inc (OESX) Osram Licht AG (OSAGF, OSR.DE) Neo-Neon Holdings Limited (1868.HK) Revolution Lighting Technologies, Inc. (RVLT) Rubicon Technology, Inc. (RBCN) SemiLEDs Corporation (LEDS) Universal Display(OLED) Veeco Instruments Inc. (VECO) Zumtobel Group (ZMTBF: OTC or ZAG.VI) If you know of any LED lighting stock that is not listed here and should be, please let us know by leaving...

Ameresco (AMRC) Misses by 7 cents: Look to Buy on Any Sell-off

Tom Konrad CFA Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) reported first quarter (Q1) earnings this morning, missing analysts’ earnings expectations by two-thirds.  While Q1 earnings were only 3 cents compared to the 10 cents expected by analysts, the company slightly beat revenue expectations by $600,000 for overall Q1 revenues of $146.6 million. While the headline was disappointing, President and CEO George Sakellaris confidently reaffirmed revenue guidence for the rest of the year, saying that he expected 2012 revenues to be heavily back loaded.  Sakellaris predicts the second half to account for 60-62% of 2012 revenues, compared to 38%- 40% for...

Congress Approves Billions in Energy Storage Incentives

On Friday, the House of Representatives and Senate passed H.R. 1, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and sent the bill to President Obama for his signature. The impact on companies that manufacture advanced batteries and other energy storage devices will be staggering. The principal energy storage appropriations include: $2,000,000,000 for grants to manufacturers of advanced battery systems and vehicle batteries that are produced in the United States, including advanced lithium ion batteries, hybrid electrical systems, component manufacturers, and software designers;  $4,500,000,000 for grants for “Electricity Delivery and Energy Reliability” including activities to modernize the electric...

Lighting Science Group Purchase

Lighting Science Group Corp. (LSGP.OB) has been on my watchlist for several months. They design and market energy efficient lighting solutions with long lasting LED bulbs that can be quickly deployed in existing lighting applications and produce immediate cost savings and environmental benefits. Some key events that have attracted me to this company: They recently moved to the OTC BB off the pink sheets.They recently received a private placement of almost $7 millionAfter a several year absence they are finally a fully reporting companyThey are currently far from being profitable, but the trend on the balance sheet is...

When Contrary Pays

Debra Fiakas Power One (PWER) looks like a promising contrarian play. It is a scenario that has plays out quarter after quarter.  A leading company in popular sector reports decent results, but surprises investors with guidance below the prevailing consensus.  Then the stock price crashes as sell-side analysts cut estimates, price targets and ratings.  It is a situation that many investors fear as they see once profitable stock positions lose value. Not the contrarian investor!  There are potential profits to be made for the obstinate, but fearless investors willing to do their homework.    This...
Packaged Mechanicals from Factory Zero used by Energie Sprong

The Challenge of Scaling Up Building Energy Retrofits

It’s almost always easier and cheaper to build an energy-efficient building in the first place than retrofitting existing structures. But humanity doesn’t always have that luxury. by Tom Konrad, PhD., CFA The sheer number of older, inefficient buildings means retrofits must be a critical part of decarbonizing the world’s building stock. There’s a pressing need, then, to develop new techniques for performing large numbers of energy-efficiency retrofits quickly and cost-effectively. The average age of a U.S. home is nearly 40 years, while nearly 40 percent of homes in the U.K. were built before World War II. Most building energy retrofits are one-off affairs...

Lime Energy Sells ESCO Business to PowerSecure

Tom Konrad On March first, Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) announced the sale of its Energy Service Contracting (ESCO) business to PowerSecure International, Inc. (NASD:POWR). The deal will provide Lime with approximately $1.9 million in cash, plus the assumption of $9.9 million in liabilities associated with various ongoing projects, offset by $6.3 million in assets transferred to PowerSecure.  This makes the effective purchase price of the business approximately $5.5 million (not the $11.9 million I earlier reported).  The deal should be good news for both Lime and PowerSecure shareholders. From Lime Energy’s Perspective After nine months of worrying about misreported and potentially fictitious revenue, it’s...

Ameresco (AMRC): Clean Energy One-Stop Shop

Tom Konrad CFA Contrary to common belief, the greatest barrier to the adoption of clean energy is not the cost.  In many cases, cost is not a barrier at all: it's an advantage.  That's because energy efficiency measures are usually so cost-effective that they not only pay for themselves, they can often pay for the addition of flashier clean energy technologies such as solar and wind. For institutions in the Federal and MUSH (Municipalities, Universities, Schools, and Hospitals) sectors, the main barriers are lack of capital and expertise.  Lack of capital arises because such institutions traditionally consider...

Hunting for Energy Efficiency Companies at the Energy Star Summit

Most studies show that the greatest potential for reducing our carbon emissions comes from energy efficiency technologies.  And, unlike many renewable energy technologies, energy efficiency is almost always less expensive than developing new energy sources, so energy efficiency businesses can be profitable now, and still have a large potential upside which will come with regulatory efforts to reduce our carbon emissions and rising energy prices. Unfortunately, the reason this free lunch exists is because selling and implementing energy efficiency technologies isn't easy.  It's also much more difficult to find companies that profit from energy efficiency than those that produce...

Ameresco, New Flyer, PFB: Q1 Efficiency Earnings Highlights

Tom Konrad CFA Performance contractor Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) reported earnings on May 9th. Revenues were below analyst expectations, but Chairman, CEO, and President George Sakellaris put this down to timing issues, and stuck by his full year guidance. Strong growth in the firm’s backlog and awarded project’s seem to back up this relatively optimistic view.  From the earnings call transcript e are very confident about the improving market conditions in few of our regions, as well as continued growth in our all other offerings. These are expected to be the growth drivers for the near-term. We are also...

The Efficiency Tango: A Deeper Look at Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiency

Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock A couple weeks ago, I compared the efficiency of the two most advanced geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) recently launched by Waterfurnace Renewable Energy (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) and Climatemaster, as division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU).  Like most things in life, it turns out that heat pump efficiency is a lot more complicated than just comparing a couple numbers. Since I concluded that Waterfurnace’s 7  Series heat pumps were slightly more efficient than Climatemaster’s Trilogy 40 pumps, one of Climatemaster’s district managers pointed me...

Distributed Energy Systems to Add $3.4 Million Cogeneration Power System to Transamerica Pyramid Building

Distributed Energy Systems Corp (DESC) has been awarded a $3.4 million contract by AEGON USA Realty Advisors. Under the agreement, they will install and commission a 1.1 megawatt (MW) combined heat and power (CHP) system for the landmark Transamerica Pyramid at 600 Montgomery Street in San Francisco, California. The 48-story building, managed by Lowe Enterprises, is known as the "Pyramid," and is located in the heart of San Francisco's financial district.