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...

Distributed Energy Systems Corp. Announces its Northern Power Systems Unit Wins Contract to Provide...

Distributed Energy Systems Corp (DESC) has been awarded a $3.1 million contract by Honeywell to provide a turnkey on-site combined heat and power (CHP) system for the United States Postal Service (USPS) Margaret L. Sellers Processing and Distribution Center (P&DC) in San Diego, California. The facility is the main mail handling facility for the San Diego district and supports more than 40 post offices within the performance cluster. The turnkey CHP system will provide 1.5MW of electricity in normal operation; an amount equal to 85% of the Sellers facility's forecasted power requirements. Recovered heat from the engine's exhaust...

Orion Energy Systems: Right Industry, Right Time

by Debra Fiakas CFA March 31st marked the end of fiscal year 2014 for Orion Energy Systems (OESX: Nasdaq), a provider of energy-saving lighting systems.  The half dozen or so analysts who follow the company on a regular basis think the company will be able to report about the same level of sales as the same quarter last year, but will actually suffer a penny loss instead of making a profit as they did last year.  If they are right it will be a setback for Orion, which higher sales this year than last and has so far...

Alternative Energy Technologies and the Origin of Specious

John Petersen Thanks to a recent comment from JLBR, I've found a new hero in Dr. Peter Z. Grossman, an economics professor from Butler University who cogently argues that government attempts to force alternative energy technologies into an R&D model that was created for the Manhattan Project and refined for the Space Program will always result in commercial disaster because "the goal of the Apollo Program was the demonstration of engineering prowess while any alternative energy technology must succeed in the marketplace." In a recent article titled "The Apollo Fallacy and its Effect on U.S. Energy Policy" Dr....

Hannon Armstrong Declines to Raise Dividend, Sets 3 Year Guidance

Investors did not like Hannon Armstrong's (NYSE:HASI) fourth quarter earnings announcement last night.  While core earnings were a little weaker than expected, that is not what has the stock trading down 11% today.  What shocked investors is the fact that the company did not raise the dividend this year for the first time since the REIT went public, and it gave 3 year guidance which likely disappointed many investors. Last month, I wrote, I expect that Hannon Armstrong will continue to be a well run and conservative business in 2018, and that management will raise the dividend at the lower end...

PFB Corporation (PFB.TO,PFBOF.PK)

Tom Konrad, CFA PFB Corporation is a manufacturer of energy efficient building materials, including SIPD and ICFs, based on expanded polystyrene.  The company's sales have fallen in response to the housing downturn, but less so than most of the housing industry, despite a strong balance sheet and cash flow.  I consider the stock a buy below C$6. NOTE: I'm taking a break in order to take a trip to California for some vacation and to moderate a panel at the San Francisco Moneyshow.  This article was written in January 2010, but I delayed publication for seven months because...

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...

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...

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:...

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,...

Power Efficiency Corporation Announces Successful Tests at Boyd Gaming Corporation’s Sam’s Town Las Vegas

Power Efficiency Corporation (PEFF) announced that it completed successful tests on two escalators at the Sam's Town Las Vegas, one of the flagship properties of Boyd Gaming Corporation. These test show a 36% decrease in energy consumption for the electric motors. The results of these tests reinforce the drastic power cost reductions possible with Power Efficiency's products in commercial and industrial facilities. Equipment powered by electric motors that operate at constant speed, but have a variable load, are excellent candidates for energy savings with the Company's technology. This includes not only escalators and elevators, but also many types...

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...

See You Later, Hannon Armstrong

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Sustainable infrastructure financier Hannon Armstrong (NYSE:HASI) is not in my Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio for the first year since its IPO in 2013. I still love the company and its business model, but I have become concerned about its short term prospects. Dividend Disappointment? In my last update on the 2017 portfolio, I wrote, “Sustainable infrastructure and clean energy financier Hannon Armstrong reported earnings on November 1st. The headline numbers were lower than expected, but for a very good reason. The company has spent the last few months locking in low interest rates by refinancing its...

This ‘Green’ Sector May Grow 573% to $37.7 Billion by 2020 – And the...

Bill Paul Nobody knows the alternative energy landscape better than Clint Wheelock, whose firm, Pike Research, generates in-depth research on everything from smart meters to carbon capture and sequestration. Now here’s a forecast deserving of far wider attention than it has so far received: by 2020 total revenue generated by energy services companies (ESCOs) could hit $37.7 billion, up a monstrous 573% over 2009’s $5.6 billion. At a minimum, Wheelock expects ESCOs’ revenue to hit $19.9 billion by 2020, a 255% increase. In an exclusive interview last week, Wheelock explained that as much as demand...

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...

ABB: Improving Transmission and Distribution Efficiency

Diamond in the Rough Alternative energy stocks are usually exciting, development stage companies with break-through technology which just might to totally transform the way we live.  Unfortunately, that's a better description of a speculative lottery ticket style company than a solid investment which will provide solid, long-term capital gains.  So it's always a pleasure to find a company whose products are so commonplace that we don't even notice them, even when we see them every day, and yet is involved in essential work to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.  I took this picture in...
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