Stock Market Advice for Solar Energy Investors

J. Peter Lynch I have been reading your articles for years and always thought your stock market related insight was interesting and helpful for me as an investor. At the current time I am worried about the market and am wondering where you think the market is currently, given the major run up we have had in the past year. I would also be curious about your view on solar stocks and what you see for them. Claude M., France. Claude, great questions.  You are really going to make me think about this one. Sorry...

Inverter Stocks: A Backdoor to Solar and Wind Energy

Avoiding the Rush Whenever there is a gold rush, the people who make the real money are seldom the gold miners, but rather the suppliers to the miners that come home with the lion's share of the profits.   This is not because there is not an incredible amount of money to be made in mining gold, but because the nature of a gold rush is that too many optimistic miners are encouraged by the early profits of a few to rush to pursue too few opportunities. To many, the rush into solar stocks seems to be just...

New Loans For LDK and Canadian Solar Just Band-Aids

Doug Young Stock Band-Aid Image via BigStock   A couple of items from the struggling solar panel sector are showing how the industry is limping forward, receiving minor rescue loans to continue funding operations while manufacturers await a bigger rescue package from Beijing. I can only guess that the bigger package, which has been talked about for much of the last half year, will finally be rolled out by the middle of this year. That will finally allow the industry to try and put itself on more sustainable long-term...

Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008: Geothermal, Wind and Wave, and Thin Film Hype

This article is a continuation of my Ten Alternative Energy Speculations for 2008, with picks #8, 9, and10 published last Thursday.  If you haven't already, please read the introduction to that article before buying any of the stock picks that follow.  These companies are likely to be highly volatile, and large positions are not appropriate for many investors.   My least risky picks are part of that same article linked to above; the moderately risky picks are here.  This article contains the most speculative three picks. #3 Nevada Geothermal Power (OTCBB:NGLPF or Toronto:NGP.V) US$1.29 or CAD$1.26 Geothermal first started catching...

Solar Windows Coming But What Kind?

Dana Blankenhorn One thing any new industry needs to do is beware of its own hype. I still remember, almost 20 years ago now, sitting in on the launch of a tablet PC called Momenta. I was just then finishing a book for New Riders to be called “A Guide to Field Computing,” all about hand-held computers and terminals that could collect, transmit and calculate outside. I had reason to believe. But I didn't believe. Yes, they had big-time backing, big names in the executive suite. Yes, the press release was slick, glossy and over-sized. Yes, the shrimp...

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   ...

Yingli In Danger Of Default

by Doug Young Bottom line: Yingli is in increasing danger of defaulting on its heavy debt load, which could result in a rapid and disorderly bankruptcy if its hometown government fails to provide support. After sending out a steady series of distress signals over the last few weeks, solar panel maker Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) has sent out its strongest trouble sign yet as it struggles under a huge debt load. The most recent signal comes in a new filing with the US securities regulator, in which Yingli says its big debt could threaten its...
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Clearing Up Some Confusion Over Community Solar In New York

Community Solar in New York has a messaging problem. It is confusing, and even some industry professionals have given up in disgust because of aggressive marketing and a lack of clarity. Fortunately, aggressive marketing is not universal among community solar developers. Unfortunately, the lack of clarity is almost universal. How Community Solar Works in New York The system the New York utility regulator set up for community distributed generation (CDG, a term which includes community hydropower and community wind as well as community solar) is counter intuitive for most potential customers. As shown in the diagram above, the electric utility pays for a project's...

PowerSecure on a Solar Roll

by Debra Fiakas CFA Last week PowerSecure International (POWR:  Nasdaq) announced the award of orders valued at $100 million for new solar projects.  About 15% of the work will be completed in the final quarter of this year and the rest of the revenue will be recorded in 2016.  The announcement sent investors into a tizzy.  PowerSecure reported $283.4 million in total sales for the twelve months ending March 2015, primarily for solar power infrastructure and smart grid technology destined for electric utilities and microgrids.  Securing orders equivalent to 35% of its current revenue run rate...

Ascent Solar: Grounded

By Brandon Qureshi Recently, Ascent Solar Technologies (ASTI:  Nasdaq) , a publicly traded solar power company, received an additional $5.0 million from institutional investor Ironridge Technology, thereby completing a $10 million Series B Preferred Stock investment.  AST, based in Thornton, Colorado, has emerged as a leader in the development of flexible, thin, high-performance solar panels. In order to examine AST within an industrial context, a profile of the solar power industry is necessary: According to sources such as Time and E&E Publishing, the industry has experienced record levels of popularity in the United States in the last...

Staying Alive: Could Thin-film Manufacturers Come Out Ahead in the PV Wars? Part 2

Jennifer Runyon In part one of this article, we talked with a-Si equipment manufacturer, Oerlikon Solar, which was recently purchased by Tokyo Electric.  Here in part two, we talk with two heavy-hitters in the thin-film solar industry to hear their thoughts about the future of thin-film PV and the future of their technologies.  First Solar (FSLR)– Maker of Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) Thin-film; Developer of Utility-Scale Projects First Solar (FSLR) has robust plans for the future, according to David Erhart, Marketing Communications Manager at the company. Erhart explained that it is First Solar’s “thin-film technology that takes a simple...

China Puts The Brakes On New Solar Production Capacity

Doug Young Bottom line: New signals indicate Beijing plans to move aggressively to prevent solar panel makers from adding unneeded new capacity to help their local governments meet economic growth targets. A new low-key announcement from Beijing is hinting at a quiet struggle taking place behind the scenes in China’s promising but embattled solar panel sector, with the regulator saying it will stop the building of most new manufacturing capacity. On one side of this struggle are local government officials, who may be encouraging solar panel makers in their areas to add capacity that will benefit their...

SunEdison’s Impressive Customers Not Yet Impressing Investors

by Debra Fiakas CFA A series of acquisitions have put SunEdison, Inc. (SUNE:  Nasdaq) in the business of solar energy systems.  Until recently called MEMC Electronics Materials, the company had been a provider of silicon wafers to semiconductor producers and fabricators.  In 2009 and 2010, MEMC acquired SunEdison and Solaicx, respectively.   Besides the foundation for a new name, the SunEdison deal gave the company a line of photovoltaic energy solutions to sell to solar system developers and major end users.  Solaicx acquisition gave the company access to a proprietary continuous crystal growth manufacturing technology which yields high-efficiency...
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Bargain Priced Alternative Energy Stocks

A review of Crystal Equity Research’s novel alternative energy indices found a number of companies that have delivered exceptional price appreciation over the last year.  Several were reviewed in the recent post “Alternative Returns” on May 8th.  Expectations for growth appeared to be driving the price movement, so the last post “Quest for Growth” featured four companies from the indices for which analysts have posted high growth predictions.  Not unexpectedly some investors have already bid higher the stocks of those promising companies. In this post we go back to the lists to find the companies with both high growth predictions and low price-earnings...

Channel Problems Keep BIPV Out of the Money

Dana Blankenhorn Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV)  is often in the news. There's a romance to it. Instead of having ugly solar panels on your house, your whole house could be an integrated solar system. It could use all the heat and light hitting it, from any angle, look like any other house, and pay for itself. Pythagoras Solar, an Israeli start-up, says its solar windows, cells sandwiched in glass, can both lower heating and cooling costs while they generate electricity, paying for themselves in 3-4 years. Pythagoras is private, but most publicly-traded BIPV plays are penny stocks, like...

Flying into the Sun

by Debra Fiakas CFA Shares of two solar panel producers appeared on one of our favorite stock screens the other day  -  energy stocks that have traded downward to a point they appear oversold.  Trina Solar, Ltd. (TSL:  NYSE) recently closed at $11.22, down 39% from its 52-week high set in early March this year, but well above where the stock was trading a year ago.  RenaSola, Ltd. (SOL:  NYSE) has followed a similar track, recently closing at $2.61 well above its 52-week low.  The question for investors is whether investors should take advantage...
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