Solar Weaklings Shudder on Tianwei Collapse

Doug Young  Bottom line: The bankruptcy of Tianwei signals Beijing will allow a new round of failures for weaker solar panel makers, with Yingli and ReneSola the most likely to come under pressure. News that solar panel material maker Baoding Tianwei is on the brink of collapse has sent shudders through the entire sector, as everyone guesses who might be next to fall in a looming new clean-up of China’s bloated industry. Tianwei has been in trouble for a while now, after the company became the first state-run firm to ever default on a domestic bond interest payment back...

Why I Believe in Thin Film

Analyzing Solar Stocks With False Assumptions Dana Blankenhorn When most people think of solar energy, they see flat panels on a roof. They don't think about thin film. They don't see it. This is one of the many advantages of CIGS  and other thin film solar technologies. So what if its efficiency is half that of a panel? It conforms to the shape of the place where it lays. Thin film can also be productized in ways no panel can. It can be turned into something retailers can sell or bloggers will...

Invest Where Solar Beats $10 Oil

By Jeff Siegel In Dubai, solar is now cheaper than oil at $10 a barrel. Yes, you read that correctly. As reported by the National Bank of Abu Dhabi: Dubai set a new global benchmark in December 2014: at 5.84 US cents per kW hour, the bid for Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s 200 MW solar PV plant was cheaper than oil at US$10/barrel and gas at US$5/MMBtu. You see, while oil in the U.S. is used primarily as a transportation fuel, in the oil-rich Middle East, the shiny black stuff is used to generate electricity. In...

The Solar Trade Wars: Which Side Are You On?

Marc Gunther Should we worry about Chinese government subsidies to its solar industry? Or send the Chinese a thank-you note? A group of seven US-based manufacturers of solar panels is alarmed. These manufacturers, led by Solar World (SRWRF.PK), a German firm with a plant in Oregon, filed a complaint with the United States International Trade Commission, which reached a preliminary conclusion in December that US companies were, in fact, being harmed by subsidized imports. If the Commerce Department goes on to find that Chinese firms have been dumping solar panels on the US market at prices below their costs,...

Solar Headwinds, Part II

Tom Konrad, CFA Prospective investors in solar manufacturers should consider the competitive forces that constrain the industry's long-term profitability. In the first part of this series, I showed how a competitive analysis of the corn ethanol industry in early 2007 illuminated the forces that soon caused ethanol company stock prices to collapse in late 2007.  I also implied that the solar cell manufacturers, including industry leaders such as Sunpower (SPWRA) and First Solar (FSLR) are vulnerable to these forces and may not be able to maintain high returns on capital over the long term. I'm not...

Solar Gets Boring

Tom Konrad CFA Assurant, Inc. (NYSE:AIZ) is announcing  insurance for solar development projects today.   Are you bored yet? Insurance always puts me to sleep, but the solar industry has left a lot more investors crying into their pillows than nodding off into gentle slumber.  That’s what happens when a sector, on average, falls 73% in a year, as the Guggenhiem Solar ETF (NYSE:TAN) has.  And many investors in individual solar stocks are weeping harder, from even larger percentage losses. But that does not mean that the solar industry does not have a bright future, and...

First Solar’s New Mexico Project: The Parity and the Pain

James Montgomery Unusually public details about a newly signed solar project deal in New Mexico raise some interesting questions about the purchasing power of solar energy, how close it's getting to grid parity and just how much pressure is on upstream suppliers to fulfill that objective. First Solar (FSLR) has acquired a 50-megawatt (MW) solar power project in New Mexico from the solar division of Element Power. The deal is billed as the state's largest solar project; it also, according to some unusually public information revealed in a regulatory filing, raises some interesting questions...

Solar Stocks Slide On Oil Slick

Doug Young  Bottom line: The recent plunge in solar stocks is the result of panic selling due to falling oil prices, meaning the shares could rebound sharply once the sell-off subsides. US investors were showing signs of new energy indigestion in the shortened trading day after Thanksgiving, dumping stocks of all the major solar panel makers in a messy post-holiday sell-off. With no major news from any of the companies, the driving force behind the sell-off appears to be the recent plunge in oil prices, which hit new 4 years lows late last week after OPEC declined to cut...

SunEdison Launches Yieldco; Trend Will Be Transformative For Solar

James Montgomery SunEdison proposes Yieldco IPO The proposed initial public offering (IPO) of common stock for a new yieldco vehicle, with terms yet to be determined, was announced hours before the company's quarterly and year-ending financials. Reports over the past couple of months have suggested a SunEdison (SUNE) yieldco could generate a $300 million payday. Later this month (Feb. 24) the company will hold its Capital Markets Day with a more extensive analysis of its business strategies, and surely this will be a big topic of conversation. Here's why SunEdison...

The Cadmium Telluride Solar Factory Race

by Joseph McCabe, PE Solar manufacturers are racing to build the next cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) factory in the United States. Three major CdTe on glass factories in the US have been recently announced each with a unique starting point. Abound Solar has won a US DOE loan to support a new 640 MW/yr facility in Tipton, Indiana. General Electric (GE) recently announced buying Primestar. They indicate that they will be building the largest PV manufacturing facility in the world. Finally First Solar has announced a 250 MW/yr facility to be built in Mesa City Arizona near...

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...

US Finalizes China Solar Tariffs

Doug Young President Obama's election victory has dominated US headlines over the last 2 days, but Washington showed it was still hard at work with news that the Commerce Department has finalized punitive anti-dumping tariffs against Chinese solar panel makers. In a way, this kind of quiet ending seems appropriate for a drawn-out process that began more than a year ago with a Congressional probe into a bankrupt US solar firm. With this trade issue now resolved, China, which produces more than half of the world's solar panels, can now focus on simply saving an industry that is...

China’s Solar Panel Makers Set For A Correction

Doug Young After a massive rally over the last year, shares of solar panel makers could be set for a few months of winter following a disappointing earnings announcement from superstar Canadian Solar (Nasdaq: CSIQ) and a debt default from second-tier player Chaori Solar (Shenzhen: 002506). Such a correction was almost inevitable after last year’s huge rally and shouldn’t be cause for concern among long-term buyers of shares in top players like Canadian Solar. But shareholders of second-tier firms like Chaori might think strongly about selling their stock, as these smaller companies could easily end up getting wiped...

Yingli Joins The $1 Club; China Solar Slows

Bottom line: A new second wave of consolidation is likely to occur in China’s solar panel sector later this year, with money-losing companies like Yingli and ReneSola as the most likely acquisition targets. Looming signs of new trouble are brewing in the solar panel sector, with shares of Yingli Green Energy (NYSE: YGE) taking a bath after the company reported widening losses and slowing revenue growth. The 15 percent sell-off saw Yingli’s shares re-approach an all-time low from just 2 and a half years ago, as the company joined a small but growing club of US-listed solar panel makers...

Future Remains Bright For Solar Despite The Trump Tariff

by Thomas Byrne Despite the Trump Administration’s assertion that it will benefit the solar industry, the decision to impose a tariff on solar panels will have the opposite effect. While attempting to prop up a handful of American manufacturing jobs that may never materialize, many more jobs installing solar systems are at risk as the pace of installations will slow. Some estimate as many as 23,000 jobs could be lost. But the solar industry has proven resilient through bigger threats, and the global demand for clean energy will eclipse this decision. The remedy imposed by the Administration will have a few immediate impacts on...

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...
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