PV pricing trends

How China Came To Dominate Solar Manufacturing

by Paula Mints The PV industry is global, and its pricing function has a cultural basis. Particularly as it is dominated by China, without an understanding of China and its market motivations, it is impossible to understand why PV manufacturers today, all rational actors, willingly accept 15% or lower manufacturing margins when margins for like industries are higher. Examples from other industries include: Coal 40% to 50%, Iron and Steel 20%, Construction ~30%, Appliances 30%, Aluminum 20%, Industrial Machinery and Components 40%, Aerospace 40% and Agriculture 8%. In the PV industry the average margin is 8%. Congratulations PV, you are on par with agriculture. Aside from significant government...

The Environment Is On The Ballot. Vote November 6th

AltEnergyStocks.com first endorsed a presidential candidate in 2008.  We endorsed Barack Obama based on his more pro-environmental, pro-alternative energy stance compared to his opponent, John McCain.  Choosing between John McCain and Barack Obama took some research, since both candidates struck a somewhat pro-environment tone.  Our choice rested on the fact that Obama seemed to have a deeper commitment to environmental causes.  Our 2012 endorsement of Obama over Romney was also based on a comparison of their proposed policies. Fast-forward to 2016, and the decision between the candidates was no longer one that required much analysis.  The choice could not have...
Round-up of announced solar manufacturing capacity for the US

US Solar Manufacturing Announcements: The Real And The Hype

by Paula Mints In 2018, the US market for PV deployment is estimated at ~12-GWp. As the US does not have sufficient domestic cell manufacturing capacity to meet its demand, most of the 12-GWp will be met by imports of cells or, modules. Following the implementation of cell/module tariffs there were, as expected, new capacity announcements in the US, primarily for module assembly. If all the current announcements came true it would add an additional 4.2-GWp of module assembly and 1.7-GWp of cell manufacturing (thin film and crystalline) capacity to the US. First Solar (FSLR) is responsible for 1.3-GWp of the new module assembly and...
Nemaska's Whabouchi site

Nemaska: A Lithium Bargain

Nemaska Lithium (NMKEF:  OTC/PK, NMX:  TO) is a newcomer to the lithium industry.  The company recently came to the market with battery-grade lithium from spodumene rock carved out of its Whabouchi mine in northern Quebec, Canada and converted in a proprietary electrochemical process to battery-grade lithium material at an in-house facility in Shawinigan to the south.  The company filled its first orders in Summer 2018. The company expected to produce over 200,000 metric tons of lithium-bearing spodumene concentrate from its Whabouchi mine with an average 6.25% lithium oxide content.  The mine is expected to remain productive for over three decades at that extraction rate.  The processing plant in...
Plan for Nemaska's electrochemical lithium mining project

Nemaska Sprints to Early Lead In Lithium Mining Race

Thank Elon Musk with his Tesla (TSLA) gigafactory for sparking a global obsession with lithium-ion batteries and the materials need to turn them out.  Claimed by Musk to be the largest building in the world, the factory was planned to reach capacity in stages.  By the time the factory is fully completed in 2020, production capacity is expected to be 150 gigawatt hours of battery packs. Ever since construction of Musk’s gigafactory began in 2014, investors around the world have been fretting over the adequacy of lithium supplies in particular.  The gigafactory concept appeared to trigger a whole slew of ‘me too’ factories...
Suncommon groundbreaking

Suncommon breaks ground on a new Community Solar project in the Hudson Valley

  On 10/17/18, a groundbreaking event was held for a community solar installation being developed by SunCommon, partnering with Orange County Citizens Foundation, to supply a group of 60 homes and a community center located in the hillsides of an exurb called Sugar Loaf near Chester, NY. The staff and community members were ebullient, as the project, coming to the end of 2-year development process, begins the final stage of erecting the racks and panels, and installing the interconnection, which will be completed in the next 30 days. It is the first project for SunCommon, a firm with a large footprint...
active vs passive investing

Permaculture Design and Stock Market Investing

by Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA Passive Investing And Modern Agriculture: Parallels Today's stock market is a dynamic and scary place. Once choosing stocks to invest in based on the fundamental value of the companies they represent (called fundamental or value investing) was the dominant paradigm for investors.  No longer.  In 2017, JP Morgan estimated that only 10 percent of trading came from fundamental investors. The vast majority of trading now comes from computer based algorithmic trading, and passive investors following pre-defined rules, such as index investors.  According to Morningstar, nearly 45 percent of all stocks are owned by passive investors.  These should...
solar storage and finance

Solar & Storage Finance Conference, NYC 10/29-30

I will be attending, and reporting on the Solar & Storage Finance, USA at the Harmonie Club, NY City for AltEnergyStocks.com in November.  For any readers also planning to attend, I would look forward to an opportunity to meet, feel free to contact me so we can connect at the conference. Here are links to the list of Speakers and the Program Brochure - Presentation Topics if you are considering attending. Daryl Roberts      

Hydrogenics: Will Hydrogen Skeptics Be Blown Away?

The hydrogen technology developer Hydrogenics Corporation (HYGS: Nasdaq) is taking on wind energy.  The company’s fuel cell power systems for stand-by and site power sources, hydrogen generators for industrial situations, and energy storage and fuel solutions for fleet owners. Hydrogen has gained in popularity because it is a zero-emission fuel source when burned with oxygen.  The energy efficiency of hydrogen as a transportation fuel is also enticing.  An electric motor powered by hydrogen fuel cell is two to three times more efficient than an internal combustion engine running on gasoline. Hydrogen is not without its critics.  One of the criticisms is that hydrogen is not entirely a carbon-neutral...
uranium spot price

Spotting A Uranium Rebound: Inventories Are Key

The chart of spot uranium prices presents a dismal picture for this key energy commodity. After a brief spike in early 2006, the spot price has been in a long-term slide down hill. In the last year and a half it appears the price as found a level of support at the $20.00 price level as the shares have bounced around between that support level and up to the high 20s. With each bound higher shareholders of uranium producers cheer the end of what has been a long ‘down’ cycle. A click up to US$27.50 in recent days has...
Diamond Green Diesel

Darling’s Renewable Diesel Diamond

In July 2013, Darling Ingredients (DAR:  NYSE) and its joint venture partner Valero Energy (VLO:  NYSE) commissioned the largest facility in North America to convert waste animal fats into renewable diesel.  The facility was strategic located adjacent to Valero’s petroleum refining installation in Norco, Louisiana. At the time the facility was capable of pumping out 12,000 barrels of renewable diesel per day that could be dropped directly into Valero’s distribution network and blended with fossil fuel.  Even at that production level the facility showed promise to deliver strong dividends back to its owners.  The partners named their venture Diamond Green Diesel and celebrated the unparalleled achievement. The two partners in Diamond Green...
SunPower Equinox using IBC panels

Sunpower’s Tariff Exemption: When You Win, You Lose

SunPower gets an exemption for its interdigitated back contact (IBC) solar cells – did it win the battle and lose the war? by Paula Mints If SunPower (SPWR) was playing a game of chicken with the Trump Administration to give it an edge towards the goal of getting an exemption, it a) won its gamble and can now focus on manufacturing p-type monocrystalline cells and modules to compliment imports of its n-type IBC cells and modules, b) won its gamble and now must keep its word and invest in resuscitating the long-in-the-tooth SolarWorld US manufacturing facility, or, c) won its gamble...
10 Clean energy stock model portfolio performance

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2018: September Quick Update

As you can see from the chart, September was a tough month for my model portfolio of Ten Clean Energy Stocks for 2018.  Seaspan (SSW) fell back on trade war fears and Green Plains Partners (GPP) fell on ethanol market weakness caused by retaliatory ethanol tariffs and the Trump EPA's continued undermining of the Renewable Fuel Standard.  I'm less sure why Covanta (CVA) is down, but Clearway Energy's (CWEN and CWEN-A formerly NRG Yield) small decline is due to a recent secondary offering. Two of these (CVA and GPP) were my top picks last month, while the third was Terraform Power (TERP). ...
Permaculture flower - finance

Presentation: A Permaculture Portfolio

Unfortunately, my attempt to record my presentation last Monday failed... still learning to use Screencastify.  There was a lot that was not in the text of the presentation itself- I use slides more as a reminder of what I want to talk about than a script. On the other hand, it would have been a 2 hour recording, so flipping through the slides will be at least save you time.  The link to the PDF version is below: A Permaculture Portfolio
ReneSola SOL logo

ReneSola Finds Shareholders Hard To Please

Solar project developer ReneSola Ltd. (SOL:  NYSE) reported financial results this week for the quarter ending June 2018.  Revenue topped $27.8 million in the quarter well below the year ago period when a faster pace of development activity generated $44.8 million in sales.  The negative year-over-year comparison was anticipated following the sale of ReneSola’s solar cell manufacturing operations in September 2017.  Now the company is making its way with solar project development, engineering services and electricity sales from its owned solar power facilities. Management had guided for sales in a range of $25 to $30 million in the June 2018 quarter.  The good news was that ReneSola...
Envision Solar Tree

Envision’s Off Grid Electric Vehicle Charging Stations

In a recent discussion about the extent to which Demand Charges are an impediment to development of DC fast chargers EV Fast Charging Disincentives, the solutions explored included primarily a) regulatory reform of the rate design & b) technology solutions involving battery based peak shaving. A 3rd solution could be added, for strategies involving charging with behind-the-meter renewable generation.   Solar carports can offer such a solution, with various configurations involving batteries sized to support L2 chargers.   Most of the PV carports are grid-connected but can be islanded.  I recently discovered a system that is completely off-grid.  So far most of the carports...