Force in Name Only

by Debra Fiakas CFA One of the companies in our novel alternative energy indices is Forcefield Energy, Inc.  (FNRG:  Nasdaq).  For a time it was listed as among alternative chemical products and now is included among waste-to-energy developers, but it could be as easily included in our data base among sellers of LED lighting products.  The identify confusion is due in part to Forcefield’s own description, which includes a laundry list of capabilities and technologies. The company lays claim to proprietary products for heat recovery and the conversion of waste heat to useful purpose.  Forcefield comes by...

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...

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...

The Efficiency Tango: A Deeper Look at Geothermal Heat Pump Efficiency

Tom Konrad CFA Geothermal heat pump diagram via Bigstock A couple weeks ago, I compared the efficiency of the two most advanced geothermal heat pumps (GHPs) recently launched by Waterfurnace Renewable Energy (TSX:WFI, OTC:WFIFF) and Climatemaster, as division of LSB Industries (NYSE:LXU).  Like most things in life, it turns out that heat pump efficiency is a lot more complicated than just comparing a couple numbers. Since I concluded that Waterfurnace’s 7  Series heat pumps were slightly more efficient than Climatemaster’s Trilogy 40 pumps, one of Climatemaster’s district managers pointed me...

Ten LED Stocks, and a Wildcard

Tom Konrad CFA Clean Edge says the phase-out of incandescent light bulbs is opening the way for low-cost LEDs.  These are the stocks to know. Federal regulations are flipping the switch on our love affair with incandescent light bulbs.  Research firm Clean Edge's just-released Clean Energy Trends 2011 says this opens the way for a clean energy trend to watch: With compact-fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs the only legal competition in much of the world, Light-Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs need only the arrival of an affordable replacement for the standard 60 watt bulb in order to be met...

FLIR: A Red-hot Energy Efficiency Stock

On Monday, I wrote that I wouldn't buy a house without an energy audit.  For now, I'm in the minority, but I don't expect that to last.  Each of these trends is likely to lead to more homes getting energy audits: Rising energy costs: as energy prices rise, knowing what to do to improve your home's energy efficiency will become more valuable. Weak real estate market.  Now that the boom is past us, new home builders need to put more effort into providing and advertising a quality product in order to attract buyers and stay in business. ...

FLIR: The (IR) Image of a Stimulus Stock

I highlighted FLIR Systems (NASD:FLIR) as a way to participate in the growth of the energy auditing industry in late 2007.  I was ambivalent about it at the time: I very much liked the potential growth story, but felt the stock was overvalued. Flir has fallen about 35% since late 2007, and 50% since its peak in July 2008 (while revenues have grown about 50%), prompting me to give it another look.     Infrared Stimulus Weatherization of low income housing and Federal building retrofits are a major component of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (aka "Stimulus Package.") ...

Dividend-Paying Energy Efficiency Stocks

Tom Konrad CFA Clean energy investing is not on for growth investors, traders, and speculators.  Conservative income investors can invest in green companies as well, and dividend paying energy efficiency stocks deserve pride of place in their portfolios. In my clean energy investing workshops, I tell attendees that investing in clean energy stocks does not have to be riskier than investing in any other sector.  The key to investing in clean energy with a low risk profile is the same as low risk investing in any other sector: find stable, profitable companies selling at reasonable valuations. ...

Obama’s Next $2 Billion For Energy Efficiency: How To Take The Money And Run

By Jeff Siegel It's all about the money. I don't care how you slice it  when it comes to investing, personal politics are irrelevant. This has long been how I've approached wealth creation, and it works quite well. Even as I denounced the continued reliance on outdated and economically inferior energy and transportation systems (i.e. the internal combustion engine and tar sands production), I make no apologies for profiting from new opportunities in fossil fuels. My gains in shale over the past few years alone are reason enough to stick to this strategy. Of course, when I'm given...

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...

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...

Jim Rogers: An Energy Efficiency Stock Pick

The same Fortune interview with Jim Rogers, which I referenced yesterday also contains an excerpt from his new book, A Bull in China.  In it, he goes over a few stock picks, including one I thought worth bringing to the attention of investors interested in profiting from rising CAFE standards and other increases in vehicle efficiency:  Jim says: Aluminum Corp. of China (Chalco) (NYSE: ACH). Three year trend: profits up 86.7%, revenues up 88.8%. Chalco is the largest producer of primary aluminum in the world's fastest-growing aluminum market.  Established in 1999 out...

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....

Lighting Science Group Introduces R30 Led Floodlights with Breakthrough Performance in Energy Efficiency and...

Lighting Science Group Corp. (LSGP.OB) unveiled an LED R30 floodlight which provides the equivalent light output of a 65 watt incandescent floodlight but uses up to 80% less energy over a lifetime that is up to 50 times longer. The new floodlight, powered by Optimized Digital Lighting(TM) (ODL(TM)) technology, is designed for use both indoors and outdoors, in recessed cans and other applications that require a standard screw base socket. The R30 floodlight is one of the most widely used bulbs today, typically found in large quantities in commercial, industrial, retail, educational and hospitality facilities.

Trading Strategy Around Lime Energy’s Possible Feb 2 Delisting

Tom Konrad Several readers have asked me if I still recommend buying Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) now that it looks like the company could be delisted from NASDAQ on February 2nd.  I won’t go into the details of why, when, or how, since John Downey has done an excellent job of covering that in the Charlotte Business Journal. Instead, I’ll look at the various possible scenarios, and how it will likely be best to trade the stock.  To understand what will happen, we first have to decide A) will Lime’s appeal against delisting be granted? and B) Will Lime be able to...

Energy Efficiency Policy Recommendations for State Legislators

On Monday, I had one of my favorite sorts of opportunities, which was a chance to influence future energy legislation.  The National Conference of State Legislators invited me to give a short presentation as part of a two-day energy efficiency workshop for interested legislators from across the country.   Given the short time frame, I couldn't say everything I would have wanted, but fortunately, I was part of a large group of excellent presenters, so what I didn't hit, they did.  I focused on my ideas for transforming markets and tackling the many barriers to energy efficiency . Tom Konrad...