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...

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...

You Call This Cleantech?

David Gold Invest in a solar, biofuels, or LED lighting company, and nobody will question the company’s cleantech pedigree.  Invest in a manufacturer of network switch upgrades for telephone companies, then call it “cleantech” and you’ll see a lot of raised eyebrows.  I know, because we did just that. We are investors in Aztek Networks, a company that makes replacements for the TDM switches that handle much of the phone traffic from standard landline phones.  Telecom companies are excited about Aztek’s product because it enables them, for the first time, to incrementally switch out their old...

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)...

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...

Energy Recovery Recovers Its Own Energy

by Debra Fiakas CFA Energy Recovery (ERII:  Nasdaq) has announced a breakthrough license of its hydraulic fracturing pump to oil and gas patch service provider Schlumberger (SLB:  NYSE).  Called the Vorteq by Energy Recovery, the pump features the company’s core pressure exchange technology, representing an entirely new approach to driving the chemical-laced water producers send deep into the earth to extract oil and gas.  Energy Recovery develops and markets components and equipment for fluid flow and pressure cycles found industrial processes.  Its patented pressure exchange devices are designed to take advantage of energy created in...

Book Review: Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World (Geothermal + Efficiency)

Charles Morand Last Thursday, I reviewed two chapters from the recently published book "Investment Opportunities for a Low Carbon World"*. This post reviews two more.  Geothermal Energy Alexander Richter, Glitnir Bank (now Íslandsbanki) Geothermal is one of the most interesting forms of clean power generation there is. As noted by the author, the most convincing argument for geothermal electricity is the fact that it operates at capacity factors in the upper 90s. This makes it the only renewable technology suitable for baseload power with the exception of dam-based (i.e. large-scale) hydro. However, as...

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...

The Sector Information Technology Forgot

Tom Konrad CFA Information technology has mostly passed the energy sector by... but for how long? Information Technology revolutionized the way we buy things (Amazon, eBay), how we get information (Google, Wikipedia, the decline of newspapers), and how we interact with out peers (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn.)  Yet so far, it has had little, if any transformative impact on energy.  Tim Healy, CEO of EnerNOC (ENOC), the world's largest  third party provider of Demand Response to utilities and grid operators, thinks that's about to change. Demand Response (DR) began decades ago with Interruptible loads and Interruptible rates,...

Five Alternative Energy Stocks I’ll Research “One of These Days”

I have more ideas than I have time to explore them, and it's getting out of hand.  I still need to write the promised articles on Evergreen Solar (ESLR) and Lithium Technology Corp (LTHU), but there are many others that have caught my attention over the last six months or so.  Since the list keeps getting longer, I thought I'd just give you a taste of some of the companies in my inbox, and why they seem interesting.  Since I may or may not ever write articles about any of these, I thought I'd give people the opportunity to...

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...

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 Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: These Almost Made It

In the future, I plan to avoid doing lists of ten stocks. I've found the writing to be somewhat repetitious, and I suspect some readers feel the same way.  Look for more threes and fives. That said, there are more than enough solid companies with strong clean energy arms.  These companies are my favorite investments right now, both because I think that now is a time to play it very safe in the stock market (I'm also increasing my cash reserve), and because these companies allow me to use Cash Covered Puts. Since I do have several...

Climate Change & Corporate Disclosure: Should Investors Care?

Charles Morand On Monday morning, I received an e-copy of a new research note by BofA Merrill Lynch arguing that disclosure by publicly-listed companies on the issue of climate change was becoming increasingly "important". The note claimed: "e believe smart investors and companies will recognize the edge they can gain by understanding low carbon trends." I couldn't agree more with that statement. It was no coincidence that on that same day the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), a non-profit UK-based organization that surveys public companies each year on the state of their climate change awareness, was...

The Muscle Car Of Energy Efficiency

Tom Konrad CFA Disclosure: I am long TSX:PRI / PENGF. The poster child of energy efficiency has long been changing a light bulb.  First, it was swapping out an incandescent for a compact fluorescent, now the swap is to an LED.  Changing a light bulb is a small step that anyone can take, and it’s so cost effective that it can pay for itself in months if the bulb is used frequently. This is a good example of household energy efficiency measures: a small action requiring a limited investment that anyone can take that pays back quickly....

Investors: Concentrate on This Alternative Energy Sector and You Should Make a Lot of...

Bill Paul For my money, energy efficiency (aka, the “fifth fuel”) is the best alternative energy sector for investors because it’s primarily about saving money, only secondarily about saving the planet. The energy services industry reportedly has grown by more than 20% per year every year since 2004 and efficiency service providers now pull in an estimated $5.6 billion a year just on U.S. commercial buildings. Pike Research says there is a reservoir of untapped projects worth $400 billion. “There’s this huge untapped potential” for energy efficiency, a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency spokesperson was recently quoted as saying....
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