Ameresco Revenues Fall Off Fiscal Cliff

Tom Konrad CFA The climate of uncertainty caused by deadlock in Washington is leading to penny-wise, pound foolish behavior at all levels of government, and Ameresco, Inc. (NYSE:AMRC) felt the pain severely in the third quarter. Framingham, MA based Ameresco helps institutions, mostly government entities, improve their energy infrastructure and reduce energy use without capital outlays or increases in energy budgets.  It does this by using the cost savings from energy efficiency to finance the capital outlays, allowing schools, hospitals, and the like to insulate or install solar panels while sticking to existing budgets, and often producing some savings.  To take three examples...

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)...

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...

Lime Energy Gets $2.5M to Fund Growth of Utility Business

Tom Konrad CFA I was surprised when Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) announced that it was selling a million shares to Richard Kiphart, one of its own directors and its largest shareholder.  Last year, CEO John O’Rourke had told me that Lime  expected to reach profitability without having to raise additional capital. What happened in the meantime? It was the best of Limes, It was the worst of Limes Two things had happened, one bad, one good. The bad was that Lime’s C&I business turned in a particularly weak first quarter, cutting expected profits by a little over $1...

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...

Stock Picks with a Whole Systems Approach

Tom Konrad CFA Picking the best energy services stocks. Fossil fuels are getting more expensive, but so are the industrial metals and other commodities used in the wind and solar farms with which we hope to replace them.   Meanwhile, government and personal budgets everywhere are under strain.  These economic imperatives make energy efficiency the one clean energy sector that may benefit despite rising denial about the existence of climate change among the US political elite and continued economic weakness. Energy efficiency represents the sort of true win-win-win in that it saves money, reduces the use...

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...

Is Cree, Inc. (CREE) Likely to Burn Out?

Tom Konrad, CFA Pioneering light-emitting diode (LED) maker Cree, Inc. looks overvalued. Light-Emitting Diodes, or LEDs, can be made to shine more brightly by increasing the power to them.  This has the unfortunate effect of overheating the leads and shortening the lifespan of the LED.  A similar effect may soon hit the stock of LED maker, Cree, Inc. (CREE.) Since I began the tradition, Cree has been a mainstay of my annual portfolio of ten stocks for the next year, published each January (See the 2008 and 2009 lists.  The Cree-free 2010 list is here.)  LEDs have been among...

PFB Corp Integrates Upstream, Just in Time for Green Housing Market Upturn

Tom Konrad CFA On May 9, green building firm PFB Corporation (TSX:PFB, OTC:PFBOF) announced that it had signed a letter of intent with NOVA Chemicals for PFB to acquire NOVA’s Performance Styrenics business.  The all share deal will give NOVA an equity stake in PFB as well as two seats on PFB’s board. PFB’s Plasti-Fab subsidiary currently sells Expanded Polystyrene products (EPS) such as Insulated Concrete Forms and Structural Insulated Panels into the North American green building market, and as a result is a customer for the Performance Styrenics division’s EPS resins.  Over the last few years,...

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...

The Rodney Dangerfield of Cleantech

David Gold Wind turbines stand tall and mesmerize with their motion. Solar cells bask in the sparkling sun.  Meanwhile, hidden down in the dark dirty underworld, a compelling technology sits quietly and gets no respect.  Once installed it largely goes unseen and, it seems, it’s equally invisible in the world of clean technology press, venture funding and government R&D funding.  Yet this technology provides some of the most intriguing economic returns available for reducing a building’s net energy consumption and I would welcome the right opportunity to fund an exciting business in this category. What is this Rodney Dangerfield...

FLIR: Another Dividend-Paying Energy Efficiency Stock

Tom Konrad CFA FLIR Systems' (FLIR) IR cameras save energy not just by spotting leaks, but by spotting intruders in the dark. When I published my list of dividend paying energy efficiency stocks in January, I missed one, and it is a long-time favorite.  FLIR Systems (FLIR) business is focused around thermography, and I picked FLIR as a stock likely to benefit from the stimulus in March 2009 because FLIR's cameras are used by energy raters.   FLIR did benefit from the stimulus, rising 56% by the end of 2009 from the $21 price when I...

Why the Financial Crisis is like Energy Inefficiency

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. I have a regular column called Greener Money in Smart Energy Living Magazine.  The Spring issue just printed, and I'd like to highlight this column, because it discusses ideas I have not written about elsewhere.  The column begins: As people become more aware of how we use energy, many become amazed and appalled at the sheer waste of it.  Why are homes built without attention to insulation and sealing that would not only make them more comfortable, but also mean they cost less to live in, even with the slightly larger mortgage payments?  Why do...

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...

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 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...