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 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...
AMRS 2010 Business model

Can Amyris Find The Ingredients Of Success?

In late August 2018, sustainable ingredients developer Amyris (AMRS:  Nasdaq) staged a successful secondary offering by a selling stockholders, Foris Ventures and Vivo Capital Fund.  In conjunction with the offering the company raised $46.0 million in new capital through the exercise of warrants held by existing shareholders.  Last week the shares closed over 40% higher than the $6.25 deal price.  The chief executive officer lauded shareholders for their support and apparent endorsement of the company’s game plan to commercialize sustainable alternatives to petroleum-sourced materials used in fragrance, health and beauty products. Amyris leadership should celebrate its loyal shareholders given how far the company drifted...
10 Clean Energy Stocks

Ten Clean Energy Stocks For 2018: Second Quarter Earnings

Tom Konrad Ph.D., CFA July and August saw some mild recovery for the stock market after a difficult first half of 2018.  Clean energy income stocks continue to lag the broader market, but my Ten Clean Energy Stocks model portfolio has managed to maintain its lead over its broad market benchmark. Through August 31st, the model portfolio is up 7.5%, compared to its broad dividend income benchmark SDY, which is up 5.3%.  Its clean energy income benchmark YLCO is down 1.2, even after dividend income.  The private portfolio I manage, the Green Global Equity Income Portfolio (GGEIP), is slightly behind the...
fractionation of corn

Corn Fractionation Improving Ethanol Production

Ethanol and isobutanol producer Gevo, Inc. (GEVO:  Nasdaq) is installing equipment in its Luverne, Minnesota plant to improve efficiency in corn processing.  The company is leasing a proprietary corn fractionation or slicing process developed Shockwave, LLC based in DesMoines, Iowa.  The new equipment is intended to increase by-product output, including feed protein products and food-grade corn oil.  With sales of more valuable by-products Gevo expects to improve overall profit margins.  Shareholders can expect to see results after the first quarter 2019, when the equipment installation is expected to be complete. Shockwave keeps a low profile with no corporate website and no one to answer phone calls.  However,...
Permaculture flower - finance

Free Talk: A Permaculture Portfolio

For readers in the Hudson Valley, I will be giving a free talk next Monday night.  I will speak about applying permaculture design principles to your investment strategy.  While I developed my own strategy over the last two decades without any reference to these design principles, now that I'm familiar with them, I realize that I have been thinking along these lines for a long time.  The design principles are remarkably robust and intuitive. I used to think Permaculture was just about redesigning our food systems, but it's much much more than that. The talk is sponsored by the Rondout Valley...

First Solar: Companies Plan, God Laughs

by Paula Mints First Solar (FSLR) offered a great lesson about the announcing of plans (man plans, god laughs) in July when during its Q2 release call it discussed the yield problems slowing commercial production of it’s Series 6 large format module. The production delays are due to a single point of failure causing a bottleneck. First Solar expects to enter volume production with its Series 6 module early in 2019. Muted-kudos to First Solar for discussing a not-so-secret problem with Series 6 production. The kudos are muted because if the company had been more circumspect in the first place there...