Buyer’s Guide To Community Solar in New York

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA After a painfully long wait, community solar (also called shared solar) is finally coming to New York state. After years of regulatory uncertainty, the state Public Services Commission (PSC) has put enough of the enabling regulations in place for a number of developers to move forward. What is Community Solar? A community solar installation is a large scale (typically 1 to 3 MW, or the size of about 150 to 800 residential solar installations) in which subscribers can sign up to lease or purchase a share of the production from the solar farm as a credit on...

Solar Trade Case Analysis and Implications

by Paula Mints In terms of the current trade petition and the USITC decision, government interference will not correct an imbalance that is embedded in the industry (globally) particularly when it is put in place by a body that does not understand the nuances of the problem. Despite evidence to the contrary, attorneys and consultants for Suniva/SolarWorld seem to have convinced the USITC that cell manufacturing in the US can be resuscitated and that tariffs and quotas the mechanism that will stimulate manufacturing. In reality, this situation is stimulating uncertainty and doing harm. Table 1: Tariff Recommendations   ...

Tesla’s Buffalo Solar Tiles: As Hot As They Seem?

by Paula Mints In August, Tesla (TSLA) announced that production of its roof tiles at its not-yet-a giga-factory in Buffalo New York would be delayed until late in 2017. Wait ... it is late in 2017. Tesla indicated that production on the tiles was continuing at its 25-MWp pilot scale facility in Fremont, California. The Fremont facility was the former home of the dearly departed Silevo. On August 31 Tesla announced that it was now manufacturing solar cells at its facility in Buffalo and indicated it would have 2-GWp of cell capacity eventually. During Tesla’s earnings call Mr. Musk showed pictures...

The New US Solar Trade Dispute

by Paula Mints In 2012 SolarWorld, facing significant price and margin pressure from cells/modules imported from China, filed trade petitions in Europe and the US under section 337 of the 1930 Trade Act. As a refresher on the Trade Act of 1930; this was the infamous Smoot-Hawley Act which began as a protection for farmers but after much debate fed by many special interests it was eventually attached to a wide variety of imports (~900). Other countries retaliated with their own tariffs. The US trade deficit ballooned. Smoot-Hawley did not push the world into the Great Depression...

Power REIT: No News Is Good News

Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA I first wrote about Power REIT (NYSE MKT:PW) in 2012, when the tiny real estate investment trust unveiled its plans to become what would have been the first Yieldco by investing in the land underlying solar and wind farms... before the term 'Yieldco' had even been invented.  In the years since, the company made some progress buying land under solar farms.  According to the most recent shareholder presentation, they now own land under seven solar farms totaling 601 acres and 108 MW, in addition to their legacy railroad asset.  These assets produce...

Should I Sell My Mutual Fund To Go Solar?

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA An enthusiastic solar volunteer recently asked me: “What can I invest in to prepare for the next financial crisis?” The situation made the question deeply ironic. The woman asking me was trying to help people invest in solar systems through Solarize, a nonprofit, community-sponsored group buying and discount program. Our town of Marbletown, New York and the neighboring towns of Rochester and Olive have just launched Solarize Rondout Valley, a campaign open to residential and commercial building owners in Ulster County. Solarize campaigns are designed to make it easier and cheaper...

New Energy Exchange Limited Has A Market Cap of $3 Million, But Owns $54...

Esplanade Capital Issues Open Letter to the Board of New Energy Exchange Limited Urges the Company to Reregister with the SEC to Maximize Value for Shareholders Esplanade Capital LLC, a significant shareholder of New Energy Exchange Limited (OTC PINK: EBODF), announced today that it has issued an open letter to the Board urging the Company to reregister with the SEC in order to maximize value for shareholders. The full text of the letter follows: April 25, 2017 New Energy Exchange Limited (f.k.a. Renewable Energy Trade Board Corp.) Board of Directors Shun Tak Centre West Tower...

Can Panasonic Produce High Efficiency Solar Modules at Tesla’s Gigafactory 2 in 2017?

EDITOR'S NOTE: Yesterday, Tesla (NASD:TSLA) announced that it has no intention of using Silevo's technology at "Gigafactory 2," the former Silevo facility in Western New York, now owned by Tesla through its acquisition of SolarCity.  This makes some background on Panasonic (Whose technology Tesla plans to rely on instead) in this month's Solar Flare particularly relevant. Panasonic recently announced that the New York Facility would be operated under the name Panasonic Eco Solutions Solar New York America (PESSNYCA?) and that equipment will be installed and production will begin by summer 2017. In 2014 SolarCity acquired Silevo...

What Happened To Solar In 2016, And What To Expect In 2017

by Shawn Kravetz, Esplanade Capital What happened to solar industry fundamentals in 2016? Global demand shattered records growing ~40% to ~80 GW The U.S. grew ~75% to ~14 GW with solar accounting for 40-50% of new generation capacity in 2016 (vs. close to 0% in 2004 when Esplanade started investing in solar.) China installed 34 GW, a massive but volatile figure with record H1 installations giving way to an air pocket in the third quarter followed by a fourth quarter rebound Solar now competes against natural gas, coal, and other wholesale electricity sources not...

What Just Happened: SunPower Struggles And Restructures

2016 was a wild year and not just for solar and after decades of reliance on government incentives, subsidies and mandates the global solar industry may be inured to unpredictability but the industry as a whole should be wary of global trends.  Solar PV expert Paula Mints looked at a number of the developments for solar companies in the December edition of  SPV Market Research's Solar Flare.  Adapted for AltEnergyStocks.com, this series of articles is reprinted with permission. The high efficiency monocrystalline cell pioneer and manufacturer SunPower (SPWR) began signaling its competitive struggle in early 2016 and...

What Just Happened: First Solar’s Strategy Shifts

2016 was a wild year and not just for solar and after decades of reliance on government incentives, subsidies and mandates the global solar industry may be inured to unpredictability but the industry as a whole should be wary of global trends.  Solar PV expert Paula Mints looked at a number of the developments for solar companies in the December edition of  SPV Market Research's Solar Flare.  Adapted for AltEnergyStocks.com, this series of articles is reprinted with permission. Though First Solar (FSLR) indicated recently that 2017 would be a transition year there is no indication from...

What Just Happened: Solar Module Prices Drop To New Lows

2016 was a wild year and not just for solar and after decades of reliance on government incentives, subsidies and mandates the global solar industry may be inured to unpredictability but the industry as a whole should be wary of global trends.  Solar PV expert Paula Mints looked at a number of the developments for solar companies in the December edition of  SPV Market Research's Solar Flare.  Adapted for AltEnergyStocks.com, this series of articles is reprinted with permission. Over 60% of global PV cell and module manu-facturing is either in China or owned by...

What Just Happened: Chinese Solar-Boom or Bubble?

2016 was a wild year and not just for solar and after decades of reliance on government incentives, subsidies and mandates the global solar industry may be inured to unpredictability but the industry as a whole should be wary of global trends.  Solar PV expert Paula Mints looked at a number of the developments for solar companies in the December edition of  SPV Market Research's Solar Flare.  Adapted for AltEnergyStocks.com, this series of articles is reprinted with permission. China’s 2016 market for solar deployment soars to near 30-GWp: Solar PV deployment in China ballooned in 2016 to...

What Just Happened: SunEdison, First Solar, and SolarCity

2016 was a wild year and not just for solar and after decades of reliance on government incentives, subsidies and mandates the global solar industry may be inured to unpredictability but the industry as a whole should be wary of global trends.  Solar PV expert Paula Mints looked at a number of the developments for solar companies in the December edition of  SPV Market Research's Solar Flare.  Adapted for AltEnergyStocks.com, this series of articles is reprinted with permission. In 2015 SunEdison (SUNEQ) was still buying up companies, developing projects, sponsoring conferences and was viewed – though skeptically...

Quick Take: What Sunpower Project Sales to 3rd Party Mean for 8.3 Energy Partners

This morning, SunPower (SPWR) announced that it had sold a majority interest in two solar projects totaling 123MW.  Owners of stock in SunPower's jointly sponsored Yieldco 8point3 Energy Partners (CAFD) might be wondering, "Hey, shouldn't SunPower be selling these projects to CAFD?" The Yieldco model has Yieldcos using inexpensive capital from income investors to fund the purchase of projects from their developer sponsors, which have more expensive capital because developing solar projects is riskier than owning already-developed ones.  In fact, one of the two projects in question can be found in 8point3's "Right of First Offer" or ROFO...

The Implications Of Trump’s Election For Solar

by Paula Mints   The US election will have an affect on the US climate policy potentially swaying it much more towards conventional energy including fracking for natural gas and oil and away from deployment of renewables and incentives towards this end. The Clean Power Plan as established is unlikely to survive and states will start pulling back plans – not all states, but many of them. The Three Branches of Government: The Republican Party now controls the Executive, Judicial and Legislativebranches of government this means that the agenda followed by the country for at least two...