Lime Energy Strategy Validated by Award from Central Hudson

Tom Konrad CFA Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) has been a star in the very competitive energy services space recently because of its ability to maintain margins in what has been a very competitive environment.  While competing small efficiency companies have been closing up shop in the Northeast, Lime has been growing revenues at 30% a year, while maintaining a gross margin of around 20%. Recently, Lime sold off due to an earnings miss arising from a big write-off and less than expected revenues in the company’s Commercial and Industrial (C&I) division.  This was the buying opportunity I was waiting for...

The Basics of Residential Clean Energy For Realtors and Homeowners

Note: The following is a handout written by AltEnergyStocks Editor Tom Konrad at the request of a leading local Realtor where he lives in Ulster County, NY.  It is intended as a handout that local Realtors can give to new homeowners who express an interest in reducing their home energy use and using renewable energy.  Some of the information and may not be applicable if you live in other areas because of varying climate, energy costs, and regulation.  While most of the locally specific has been removed from this version, and the remainer is broadly applicable, homeowners in other...

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...

Ten LED Stocks, and a Wildcard

Tom Konrad CFA Clean Edge says the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs is opening the way for low-cost LEDs.  These are the stocks to know. Federal regulations are flipping the switch on our love affair with incandescent light bulbs.  Research firm Clean Edge's just-released Clean Energy Trends 2011 says this opens the way for a clean energy trend to watch: With compact-fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs the only legal competition in much of the world, Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs need only the arrival of an affordable replacement for the standard 60 watt bulb in order to be met...

The LED Gold Rush

Tom Konrad CFA Last week, a prominent display of $10 LED light bulbs from Cree, Inc. (NASD:CREE) arrested my attention as I entered a home improvement store. These were officially launched in March, and are similar to a 40 watt-equivalent bulb I bought in 2009.  I still have that bulb, which I use for outdoor lighting, because Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFLs) take too long to warm up in the winter.  It’s still going strong.  The only problem: it cost $50, and used as much energy as a CFL for the same amount of light. Four years later, we have...

Waterfurnace 7 Series vs. Climatemaster Trilogy Geothermal Heat Pumps: The Best of the Best

UPDATE: I just looked into the 7 Series vs the Trilogy 40 in more detail here and came to a slightly different conclusion. Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock Waterfurnace Renewable Energy (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) launched its new highly efficient 7 Series geothermal heat pumps (GHP) today.  The 7 Series commercial release beats Climatemaster’s (a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU)) Trilogy 40 as the first commercially available GHP with a variable speed compressor.  The Trilogy 40 is currently available as part of a pilot program, and is expected to be commercially available...

Energy Efficiency with Solid State Lighting (LED)

As I mentioned in a previous post (and also a purchase of LSGP.ob), I have become very interested in the potential investment opportunities in companies that are involved in the conversion of typical halogen and incandescent lighting over to solid state lighting (i.e. LED.) With that said, I wanted to pull back the curtain to show you my process and thinking when I enter a new investment space. The potential returns for the companies in this space can be quite large over the next 10 years. Many municipalities and large corporations are looking at the potential...

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...

Are Air Source Heat Pumps A Threat To Geothermal Heat Pump Suppliers?

Tom Konrad CFA Last year, geothermal heat pump (GHP) manufacturers introduced new heat pumps with break-through efficiency based on variable-speed compressor technology.  These manufacturers include Waterfurnace Renewable Energy  (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) and ClimateMaster, a division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU). Air Source and Ground Source Variable speed compressor technology was not restricted to geothermal heat pumps (also known as ground source heat pumps or geoexchange): It had first found its way into what are often considered ground source’s poor cousins: air source heat pumps (ASHP). Both types of heat pumps use a refrigeration cycle to draw heat from the outside in winter to heat...

Leveraging Finance and Charity To Make Affordable Housing Greener

by Tom Konrad CFA Many people still think of green technologies as costly. But cost is never the main barrier to efficiency measures, which often can boast internal financial returns far higher than even risky junk bonds.  The barriers against energy efficiency and legion, but cheif among them are the small size of the investments and split incentives, where the person making the investment is not the same person who reaps the rewards. A Colorado based NGO, the International Center for Appropriate and Sustainable Technology (ICAST), recently launched a charity-finance hybrid to overcome this problem of split incentives....

Put the LIME in the Coconut

by Debra Fiakas CFA You put the lime in the coconut and call the doctor woke him up, I said Doctor! Is there nothing I can take, I said Doctor! To relieve this bellyache… -Baha Men It is best to avoid corporate drama that involves unexpected resignations and unscheduled week-end board meetings.  At least that is my view.  However, the company soap operas can be entertaining, so I decided to tune into the Lime Energy, Inc. (LIME:  Nasdaq) saga .  Based in North Carolina, Lime provides a menu of energy-saving solutions to utilities and large-facility owners.  Lime's product...

US Crawls Closer to Energy Policy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week President Obama signed into law the Energy Efficiency Improvement Act of 2015.  The law is intended to reduce energy requirements in commercial buildings, manufacturing facilities and residential structures.  The law improves building codes, provides assistance to manufactures to achieve energy efficiency and paves the way for conservation activities by federal agencies.  It is the closest thing the United States has to an energy policy…..so far. It took years to get this small piece of energy policy through Congress.  Indeed, at one point in its convoluted travels through the House of...

Cleantech is a Bunch of Hot Air!

David Gold While renewable energy often captures most of the cleantech headlines, if anyone doubts why energy efficiency must play a significant part in the cleantech effort – as significant, if not more so, than the role of renewable energy just examine the energy flow graphic developed by McCall and Bassett and reprinted in the June edition of Technology Review.  At least half of U.S. energy consumption goes to nothing more than creation of hot air through waste heat.  And, when one realizes that much of the 13.9% of electricity output from power plants shown in the...

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...

FLIR: A Red-hot Energy Efficiency Stock

On Monday, I wrote that I wouldn't buy a house without an energy audit.  For now, I'm in the minority, but I don't expect that to last.  Each of these trends is likely to lead to more homes getting energy audits: Rising energy costs: as energy prices rise, knowing what to do to improve your home's energy efficiency will become more valuable. Weak real estate market.  Now that the boom is past us, new home builders need to put more effort into providing and advertising a quality product in order to attract buyers and stay in business. ...

Alcoa: an Ironic Energy Efficiency Stock

Being concerned about global warming, but also an investor and advisor who wants to keep my own and my client's money relatively safe is fraught with compromises.  For instance, a lot of environmentalists probably think that Alcoa (NYSE: AA) is an inappropriate investment, although I like it now that it has fallen from its recent highs. There are two major environmental objections to Alcoa.  First, aluminum is extremely energy intensive to refine, and so has a high embodied energy (although recycled aluminum is much better).  Second, like any large mining company, they are responsible for considerable pollution. Yes,...