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Bargain Priced Alternative Energy Stocks

A review of Crystal Equity Research’s novel alternative energy indices found a number of companies that have delivered exceptional price appreciation over the last year.  Several were reviewed in the recent post “Alternative Returns” on May 8th.  Expectations for growth appeared to be driving the price movement, so the last post “Quest for Growth” featured four companies from the indices for which analysts have posted high growth predictions.  Not unexpectedly some investors have already bid higher the stocks of those promising companies. In this post we go back to the lists to find the companies with both high growth predictions and low price-earnings...

Can Rubicon Hire Bring Shine Back To Sapphire?

by Debra Fiakas CFA On Friday Rubicon Technology, Inc. (RBCN:  Nasdaq) announced the appointment of a new chief operating officer to manage the company’s sapphire materials production.  Rubicon is a producer of materials used in electronics components, including the company’s specialty, monocrystalline sapphire materials.   Rubicon chose a seasoned operator for the COO post, which now encompasses functions previously carried about by managers in two different positions.  The new hire, Hany Tamim, was previously with SunEdison (SUNE:  Nasdaq), the developer and producer of solar cells and modules.  He has experience in managing crystal growth and...

Three Money Managers See LED Industry Shining in 2013; Their Stock Picks

Tom Konrad LED lights on an outdoor tree. Photo by author This is the third article in my series based on my panel of green money managers’ predictions for 2013.  The first article looked at what they expect 2013 holds for the Solar industry, and the second looked at their predictions  for the Smart Grid.  This installment focuses on the LED industry. Jeff Cianci: Faster than Anyone Expects Jeff Cianci is Chief Investment Officer at equity investment fund Green Science Partners. Cianci says “The trend toward LED lighting for...

DIY Energy Audit, and Energy Star Summit Stocks

Last week, I attended the 2007 Energy Star Summit to keep up with what is going on in home energy efficiency, and, with luck, find a new public company or two to recommend.   After several workshops for home energy raters, I came away with an idea for an article to help people concerned about home safety and efficiency look for new places to live.  Because it was off-topic for Alternative Energy Stocks, I offered it to my friend Preston at Jetson Green, and he has published it here. Back on the subject of financial (As opposed to real-estate)...

Smart Metering: A Smart Investment in Energy Efficiency

Information Empowers Browsing AltEnergyStocks new CleanTech News page (I find it a good way to discover quality stories I wouldn't have come across otherwise) I came across one of the best articles I've seen yet on Smart Metering.  Smart metering is one of the biggest win-wins available when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint by providing real time feedback on our electricity use. It allows us to see how we are wasting electricity and choose to take action.  When Woodstock Hydo's customers were given this information (without any other encouragement to save electricity), their average usage fell by...

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 Spray Foam Industry: Moving to Soy?

by Scott Schnelle As an energy consultant for home retrofits, I often have customers and acquaintances ask my opinion regarding green technologies and energy efficient products. Undoubtedly, with the recent surge of the green movement and a shift toward becoming more environmentally sustainable, now is a great time to invest in these types of products. One product that has been getting more and more attention lately is spray foam. The product itself has been around for many years, but it has recently risen in popularity for a couple of reasons. Here, I’ll discuss spray foam briefly...

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....

Lime Energy, or Lemon Energy?

Tom Konrad CFA Last week, when Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) announced that an internal investigation by its audit committee had revealed up to $15 million in misreported revenue, my first instinct was to sell, especially because the misreported revenue included not only revenue assigned to the wrong period, but possibly completely fictitious revenue.  Whenever a company reveals accounting problems, it's bad.  But there are levels of bad. As Garvin Jabusch, Cofounder and CIO of Green Alpha Advisors and manager of the Sierra Club Green Alpha Portfolio put...

The Pros Pick Three Green IT Stocks For 2014

Tom Konrad CFA Green 2014 image via BigStock Being green is not all about wind turbines and solar panels.  In fact, it’s usually greener to be smarter about using what we have than to replace it with something new, no matter how green. My panel of professional green money managers understands this.  When I asked them each for their top three green stock picks for 2014, there were as many picks focused on smarter resource use as there were solar stocks. I recently gave...

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...

Performance Contracting Stocks

This is the final article in a series on the WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop. On the morning of day two of the Western Governor's Association Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop, the topic was performance contracting: a way of unlocking the power of a government entity's utility budget to make energy improvements that pay for themselves, but might otherwise never receive the necessary capital.   Despite the dryness of the subject, the room seemed alive with active interest of the participants.  Many of the workshop participants were government officials who are enthusiastic about energy efficiency, but also beaten down by the...

Orion Energy Systems: Seeing The Light

by Debra Fiakas CFA On Monday Orion Energy Systems (OESX:  NYSE) issued a press release to reiterate previous guidance for sales in the quarter ending March 2015.  Given that the quarter has already ended, it is more like a pre-announcement of results than guidance.  At any rate management has indicated the results, when finally reported will bring sales for the fiscal year ending March 2015, to some point in a range of $72 million to $74 million. The announcement might not be so much motivated by a need to assure shareholders of financial performance, as much as...

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,...

Ameresco’s CEO Expects Return To Growth In Q3

Tom Konrad CFA With earnings announcements coming fast and thick over the last two weeks, it has been all I can do to keep up, let alone go into detail about the companies I usually follow, as I did with Maxwell Technologies (NASD:MXWL) earlier this week. (Note: I am currently long Ameresco and Short Maxwell.) Rather than remain completely silent, I’m going to attempt to focus on the main take-aways I’ve gleaned from the filings and earnings calls, starting with Ameresco’s (NASD:AMRC) potentially confusing earnings. Another “Miss” Ameresco again missed First Call analysts’ average earnings estimates for the...

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...