NovX21: Urban Miner

by Debra Fiakas CFA There's Platinum in them catalytic converters. Mention platinum and most of us think about beautiful and expensive jewelry.  However, platinum can be found in the dullest of products.  Catalytic converters used in automobiles for emissions control represent about one-third of the demand for platinum. The devices attached to the rear of our cars uses a mix of previous metals to remove nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons from engine exhaust.  The catalytic converter on a typical car uses a gram or less of platinum,...

Lighting Science Group Announces First Purchase Order for Lighting Science’s Low Bay Lights for...

Lighting Science Group Corp. (LSGP.OB) announced an order for 1,000 of Lighting Science's Optimized Digital Lighting(TM) (ODL(TM)) Low Bay lighting fixtures from Amtech Lighting Services, an ABM Industries Incorporated subsidiary, which is one of the nation's largest lighting management companies. Lighting Science expects to begin shipping the products during the second quarter for installation in select garages operated by AMPCO System Parking, another ABM subsidiary, and in AMPCO client garages. The nation's estimated 40,000 garage facilities provide an excellent platform for Lighting Science to launch their low bay fixtures given the high cost of electricity and the demand...

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...

Green Shoots for Green Building: Seven Stocks to Play the Trend

Tom Konrad CFA Rockwool insulation (Photo: Achim Hering) Signs of Green Building Growth Rockwool International (COP:ROCK-B,OTC:RKWBF) recently announced the establishment of the insulation manufacturer’s first US factory, in Mississippi, about 30 miles outside Memphis, Tennessee.  The firm has been seeing double-digit annual sales growth in North America, driven by interest from do-it-yourself chains and insulating commercial buildings, and expects this growth to continue. The company’s rock wool insulation, sustainably made from stone and recycled materials, can provide improved fire protection when compared to traditional insulation products. Rockwool is far...

Power Plant Costs & The Case For Energy Efficiency

A few weeks ago, I stumbled upon a presentation that was given by FERC officials on the phenomenon of rapidly rising costs in US power generation (presentation link at the end of this post). The FERC, or Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, is America's energy watchdog. The presentation begins by noting that across America's major electricity hubs, power prices are up significantly on last year (between 62% in the Midwest and 123% in NYC) and that, unfortunately, this probably isn't an anomaly. In fact, the presentation argues, there may be something secular at play. Two main trends are noted....

Lime Energy Sells ESCO Business to PowerSecure

Tom Konrad On March first, Lime Energy (NASD:LIME) announced the sale of its Energy Service Contracting (ESCO) business to PowerSecure International, Inc. (NASD:POWR). The deal will provide Lime with approximately $1.9 million in cash, plus the assumption of $9.9 million in liabilities associated with various ongoing projects, offset by $6.3 million in assets transferred to PowerSecure.  This makes the effective purchase price of the business approximately $5.5 million (not the $11.9 million I earlier reported).  The deal should be good news for both Lime and PowerSecure shareholders. From Lime Energy’s Perspective After nine months of worrying about misreported and potentially fictitious revenue, it’s...

Orion Energy Systems: Right Industry, Right Time

by Debra Fiakas CFA March 31st marked the end of fiscal year 2014 for Orion Energy Systems (OESX: Nasdaq), a provider of energy-saving lighting systems.  The half dozen or so analysts who follow the company on a regular basis think the company will be able to report about the same level of sales as the same quarter last year, but will actually suffer a penny loss instead of making a profit as they did last year.  If they are right it will be a setback for Orion, which higher sales this year than last and has so far...

EE=C

Tom Konrad, CFA Apple takes on Google in Silicon Valley rivalry to save the world... first.   Recently appointed Apple (NASD:AAPL) senior VP of Energy Lester Coulson is unimpressed by Google's (GOOG) efforts to solve climate change.  "Google has been trying to make renewable energy cheaper than coal for more than three years now, and we haven't even seen a Beta version!" Coulson admonishes.  "Sure, they've made a few headlines by investing in EGS and planning to string wires up and down the Atlantic coast, but after investing $100 million, is renewable energy cheaper than...

Cree Survey at Light+Building Indicates Expected Rapid LED Adoption for Lighting

Cree, Inc. (CREE) announced the results of a new survey on the adoption, deployment and overall benefits of LED lighting. Conducted for Cree this week at Light+Building 2006 in Frankfurt, Germany. The survey revealed extraordinary optimism among lighting industry executives, architects, designers, engineers and other decision-makers regarding the growth of the LED lighting market. Out of 123 trade show participants polled, 50 percent of respondents stated they have seen a 20 percent to 60 percent growth rate for LED lighting applications in their businesses over just the past six months. Looking forward, 50 percent of those polled...

Ameresco (AMRC): Clean Energy One-Stop Shop

Tom Konrad CFA Contrary to common belief, the greatest barrier to the adoption of clean energy is not the cost.  In many cases, cost is not a barrier at all: it's an advantage.  That's because energy efficiency measures are usually so cost-effective that they not only pay for themselves, they can often pay for the addition of flashier clean energy technologies such as solar and wind. For institutions in the Federal and MUSH (Municipalities, Universities, Schools, and Hospitals) sectors, the main barriers are lack of capital and expertise.  Lack of capital arises because such institutions traditionally consider...

Two Dividend-Paying Energy-Efficiency Companies

Charles recently recommended a few dividend paying alternative energy companies as safe havens in the current turmoil.  Since I've been thinking along the same lines, I thought I'd add my own picks.  I currently like energy efficiency companies with solid balance sheets, because I believe that Obama's fiscal stimulus will contain significant money for green, energy-efficiency related jobs.   That said, here are two I'd add to Charles' list.  These two also have the advantage of being pure-play (or nearly pure-play) bets on clean energy. Name Ticker Yield Focus Related Articles Waterfunace Renewable Energy WFI.TO, WFFIF.PK...

Put the LIME in the Coconut

by Debra Fiakas CFA You put the lime in the coconut and call the doctor woke him up, I said Doctor! Is there nothing I can take, I said Doctor! To relieve this bellyache… -Baha Men It is best to avoid corporate drama that involves unexpected resignations and unscheduled week-end board meetings.  At least that is my view.  However, the company soap operas can be entertaining, so I decided to tune into the Lime Energy, Inc. (LIME:  Nasdaq) saga .  Based in North Carolina, Lime provides a menu of energy-saving solutions to utilities and large-facility owners.  Lime's product...

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...

Canadian Municipality Saves Taxpayers $8 million Using Itron Enterprise Energy Management Software

Itron Inc. (ITRI) announced that the Region of Peel (ROP), a municipality near Toronto, Canada, has saved its residents more than $8 million by using their energy management software tools to reduce energy costs and operate its numerous facilities more efficiently.

Misreported Revenue, Part I: Lime Energy

Tom Konrad CFA In my model portfolios of ten clean energy stocks for 2013 andsix alternatives, three companies are currently delaying earnings announcements for various reasons, and at least two of the three will be restating previous results. Many investors flee the scene at the first whiff of accounting problems: All investors rely on a company’s financial statements (directly or indirectly) to value companies.  If there is  any doubt as to the accuracy of those statements, they believe it’s better to invest elsewhere. In contrast, I believe that we never have anything like an accurate picture of what is going on...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: These Almost Made It

In the future, I plan to avoid doing lists of ten stocks. I've found the writing to be somewhat repetitious, and I suspect some readers feel the same way.  Look for more threes and fives. That said, there are more than enough solid companies with strong clean energy arms.  These companies are my favorite investments right now, both because I think that now is a time to play it very safe in the stock market (I'm also increasing my cash reserve), and because these companies allow me to use Cash Covered Puts. Since I do have several...
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