What Do CPV and LEDs Have in Common?

I recently attended the Optoelectronic Industry Development Association's (OIDA) "Green" Photonics Forum.  Unlike dirty industries trying to appear green, the Optoelectronics industry does not really have to try to be green.  Two prominent examples familiar to clean energy investors are Concentrating Photovoltaic Solar (CPV) (i.e. using optics to focus light on high efficiency solar cells) and Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs). The presentations on Tuesday focused on the above technologies, and I was struck by a common problem faced by both: heat dissipation.  According to Sarah Kurtz, a National Renewable Energy Laboratory scientist leading the team working on high-efficiency, multi-junction...

Feel-Good Government Grants Leading Cleantech Astray

David Gold Grants for smart grid projects. Grants for battery manufacturing lines. Loan guarantees for renewable energy project development. Grants to private companies for energy efficiency projects. And with each it seems that the cleantech world cheers. Yet for all our desire to create sustainability in our consumption and use of energy, this model of getting us there is not only unsustainable but is of questionable value. I want to emphasize that I am speaking about government grants to the private sector where the government is not the end customer and...

EnerNOC: Demand Response IPO

Lunch with an Efficiency Expert Yesterday, I had lunch with Howard Geller, Ph.D., one of our nation's leading experts in energy efficiency and energy policy. Howard is the director of the Southwest Energy Efficiency Project (SWEEP), former Executive Director of ACEEE, and has a Doctorate in Energy Policy from the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil. My first question for industry experts is which companies are doing good things in their feilds, and I was especially interested in Howard's answers because energy efficiency is so much more difficult to pin down than most other types of...

Investing in Efficient Homes: Energy Star, Built Green, and Beyond

This article is part of a series on the WGA Energy Efficient Buildings Workshop. Sam Rashkin One highlight of the conference was Sam Raskin's (the National Director a.k.a. "Scary Man" of the US EPA Energy Star program.)  I recommend his presentation for graphic infrared images of poorly sealed homes, showing how little the insulation is doing to retain heat or cold if the building envelope is not tight.  It will make you think twice about buying a home that hasn't been checked to be tightly sealed. Rashkin believes that the growing affordability of infrared cameras will allow...

LSB Industries And Activist Fund Position Themselves For Board Election

With the resignation of four non-independent directors and reduction in the size of LSB’s board, the company has managed to appear to be making a step towards reform while making it harder for the activist fund to gain influence. Gaining influence in a tightly controlled family firm is never easy. It looks like the task just got significantly harder for Engine Capital in its quest to unlock shareholder value at LSB.

Why I’m Selling Rockwool

Tom Konrad CFA Photo: Cubes made of rockwool for indoor cannabis cultivation by D-Kuru/Wikimedia Commons. While some users may use Rockwool insulation to grow their highs, the recent highs in the stock price have led me to sell part of my holdings. Earlier this year, I bought Rockwool International A/S (COP:ROCK-B, OTC:RKWBF) with the intention of holding it for the long term. I chose Rockwool because it was expanding in the US, provides excellent international diversification, has a strong balance sheet with no net debt, and (not least) is a leader in...

A Little More Respect for Lime Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week Lime Energy (LIME:  Nasdaq) reported exceptional sales growth in the quarter ending June 2015.  Revenue from the company’s energy efficiency solutions was $32 million, increasing and impressive 135% compared to a year ago.  Sales were boosted beginning by the March 2015 acquisition of EnerPath, a provider of software solutions for utility energy efficiency.  However, several of the company’s utility programs were expanded and that drove organic sales as well. Is it time to give Lime some new respect? In the renewable energy sector, efficiency programs are often overlooked...
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) 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 a comment. Also...

Misreported Revenue, Part I: Lime Energy

Tom Konrad CFA In my model portfolios of ten clean energy stocks for 2013 andsix alternatives, three companies are currently delaying earnings announcements for various reasons, and at least two of the three will be restating previous results. Many investors flee the scene at the first whiff of accounting problems: All investors rely on a company’s financial statements (directly or indirectly) to value companies.  If there is  any doubt as to the accuracy of those statements, they believe it’s better to invest elsewhere. In contrast, I believe that we never have anything like an accurate picture of what is going on...

The Sustainable Infrastructure Income Trust

Tom Konrad CFA Jeffrey Eckel Jeffrey Eckel has an investor relations problem. No, there has not been any scandal involving fudging the books or sweatshop labor.  Rather, most investors simply don’t seem to “get” his company. His company recently went public as a REIT, or Real Estate Investment Trust, and the traditional REIT investor likes the familiar.  They invest for income, and for many, a track record of past income and dividends is a must.  While Eckel’s company manages $1.8 billion of securitized energy efficient and sustainable infrastructure...

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...

Selling Pressure Comes Off Lime Energy

Tom Konrad CFA When Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) reported accounting problems, including the possibility of fictitious revenue on July 17th, investors abandoned the stock, unwilling to own a company in which they knew the financial statements to be misstated.   Over the next two weeks, Lime found a floor around $0.90 (down from over $2 on July 16th), as those investors who would sell at any price were replaced by those who, like me, feel that $0.90 is less than any reasonable estimate of LIME’s true value even in liquidation. Volume then dried...

Lights of Energy Focus

by Debra Fiakas CFA It is the season of lights.  Lights for Hanukkah.  Lights for Christmas.  Energy Focus (EFOI:  Nasdaq) has been having a season of lights all year.  The company reported $62.3 million in total sales of its LED lighting products in the most recently reported twelve months.  Customers included large business and industry, property owners and the military.  The oil and gas industry is an important market vertical. Energy Focus really shines for the U.S. Navy with its explosion proof LED globes in all the colors the Navy needs to provide military personnel safety...

Ten Solid, Clean Companies Ready For Stimulus, and Five That Aren’t

by Tom Konrad Last February, I wrote " I expect the Fed-induced reprieve to be fairly short lived, ten solid companies I'd be happy to buy more of if and when the bottom really falls out of the market."  When I wrote those words, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was over 12,700.  Now, it's around 8,500, and I doubt anyone remembers the "Fed-induced reprieve" I was referring to.  The "bottom fell out" in September and October.    On October 12, with the DJIA at 8451, I wrote "I don’t know where the market will go from here, but I...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #1 Johnson Controls, Inc....

Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) has long been one of my favorite energy efficiency picks, with an added bonus coming from their joint venture with Saft to produce batteries for hybrid and electric vehicles.  They have also shown some energy saving innovation making parts for auto interiors. Building EfficiencyEfficient buildings are much more complex than simply replacing inefficient HVAC and lighting with more efficient versions.  Quite often, the most cost effective measures come from using systems more efficiently.  As an analogy to the home, look at any list of quick tips for energy saving around...

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...