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...

Trina Joins Solar Fund Raising Queue

by Doug Young Just a day after the solar panel sector was hit by a new negative trade ruling from the US, Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL) gave its investors another unwanted surprise with word that it is preparing to raise more than $200 million through a combination of new stock and bond offerings. Trina joins a growing list of solar panel makers that are looking to western capital markets as confidence returns to the sector following a prolonged downturn dating back to early 2011. The fact that Trina and others are turning to western capital markets to...

Earnings Surprises Keep SunPower An Investor Favorite

By Harris Roen The stock market has been paying attention to SunPower (SPWR) in a big way. At the end of May the stock hit an annual high of 23.76, a gain of 125% from where it was just a month earlier. That price is quadruple levels it was trading at in the beginning of the year. Since May, the stock has seen about a 17% correction, and is trading sideways in the 18 to 20 price range. Volume at these high price levels have been impressive tooshares exchanging hands in the past 30...

US Still Net Exporter of Solar to China

by Clean Energy Intel Following the announcement that CIGS solar start-up Solyndra had declared Chapter 11, I published an article suggesting that although this was clearly not good news, the overall solar sector in the US was still in relatively good competitive shape, with a healthy trade surplus with the rest of the world of some $1.9bn. You can read my original article here. Although competition from China is intense, particularly in low-cost module production, the US remains a strong player across the supply chain as a whole - particularly in polysilicon production and the manufacture of the...

SolarCity Buys Zep: Behold The Power of Vertical Integration

To win the U.S. solar installation game, SolarCity (SCTY) continues to go vertical and thin its margin stack... so what'll be next? James Montgomery SolarCity (SCTY) is acquiring Zep Solar and its rackless mounting design in a $158 million stock deal, illustrating the growing importance of improving costs and complexity in residential solar. Much of the cost-cutting in solar PV has been shouldered by the upstream manufacturing side, but half the costs or more in a residential solar PV system come from the softer side, and they'll have to keep coming down dramatically to support widespread deployment of...

End Draws Near for Suntech

Doug Young  Sunset looms for Suntech. Photo by Tom Konrad The month of February could mark the final sunset for solar panel maker Suntech (OTC: STPFQ), with 2 major events on the calendar that look like the swansong for this former solar energy pioneer. If the ending does indeed come, it would be almost a year after Suntech first was forced into bankruptcy in a Chinese court in its home city of Wuxi, kicking off a contentious process that saw many of its top executives and board members...
Run VSLR, RUN!

Unprofitable Sunrun Buys Unprofitable Vivint Solar

by Paula Mints In July, Unprofitable residential solar lease company Sunrun (RUN) announced that it would acquire its unprofitable competitor, Vivint Solar (VSLR). Each share of Vivint stock will be exchanged for .55 shares of Sunrun’s common stock. Sunrun indicated that there were great synergies between the two companies. Comment: Remember when Tesla (TSLA) adopted Solar City, a company founded by Elon Musk’s cousin? Sorry – remember when Tesla acquired money-losing Solar City and claimed strong growth and profits would follow? Great synergies. A wonderful future. Rainbows, kittens, and a profitable solar future for all. The residential solar lease and residential PPA offers...

Are Solar PV and Wind Incompatible with Nuclear and IGCC?

Paul Denholm, a Senior Analyst at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL), sees an upcoming struggle between renewable sources of electricity such as photovoltaics (PV) and wind with low-carbon baseload alternatives for space on the low carbon grid of the future.  These baseload alternatives are nuclear and Internal Gasification Combined Cycle coal plants with Carbon Capture and Sequestration (IGCC w/ CCS, refereed to by advocates as "Clean Coal). This may come as a shock to advocates of the idea that Global Warming is such a big problem that we will need all forms of low carbon electricity, because the...

Solar Stocks Bask In Hawaiian “Aloha”

By Jeff Siegel I’ve been all over the world, and without a doubt, there is no place more beautiful than Hawaii, particularly the island of Kauai. The weather, the ocean, the rain forests, the food - it just doesn’t get any better. Although if state lawmakers get their way, there could soon be a cherry on top for renewable energy supporters. As recently reported in Greentech Media … Lawmakers in Hawaii passed legislation last week (in a 74-2 vote) requiring the state to generate 100 percent of its electricity from renewable energy resources by 2045. If HB 623...
p-series

Sunpower Optimistic, But Needs Cash

This recent post explored the unusual mating call of a solar panel manufacturer, SunPower Corporation (SPWR:  Nasdaq).  The Company is looking for a partner to bankroll the upgrade of a manufacturing facility in Hillsboro, Oregon acquired in October 2018, in a tie up with one of its rivals, SolarWorld America.  SunPower now has one less competitor and more room to flex its production muscles.  However, capital is still important. The Company suffered a net loss of $811.1 million or $5.76 per share on $1.73 billion in total sales.  Profit margins were negative straight down. Investors could accept the loss without too much worry if the pace of...

Buffett-First Solar Deal Extremely Bullish For Solar Sector

by Clean Energy Intel Nellis Solar Power Plant in the US. Source: Wikimedia Commons The Solar Industry this week received significant support in the purchase by Warren Buffett-controlled MidAmerican Energy Holdings of First Solar's (FSLR) $2bn Topaz Solar Farm in San Luis Obispo County, California. This is a significant show of confidence in the industry from Mr Buffett. Of course, we do not know exactly what Warren Buffett´s utility holding company has paid for the solar project. However, the deal is unquestionably significant in size and scope. What we do know is...

Green Chip Stocks’ “Sunless Solar” Tease

Tom Konrad Last week, Stock Gumshoe sleuthed out Jeff Seigel's recent tease of a "$0.62 Company Just Perfected Sunless Solar.”  The company is New Energy Technologies (NENE.OB), which was trading at $1.20 after the close on Friday.  Here's what the Gumshoe has to say about the company: And of course, maybe Siegel’s right, maybe these guys will be to First Solar what IBM was to Smith Corona … I’m just not holding my breath. For more information on the company, which did stage a demonstration of the technology in Tampa last month, you can certainly visit...

The Fukushima cloud’s (green, not silver) lining

By. Dr. John C.K. Daly The ongoing tragedy of Japan's Daichi Fukshima nuclear complex will prove to be a boon for renewable energy in Japan, and astute investors should begin carefully to follow Tokyo's new priorities. Before the March 11 twin disasters of a massive earthquake followed by a devastating tsunami, about 30 percent of Japan's electricity was generated by nuclear power, and Tokyo had ambitious plans to raise its market share to 50 percent over the next two decades, with renewable accounting for 20 percent, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan told journalists earlier last month. ...

Solar Verticals and “Balance of System” Valuations

Garvin Jabusch Tom Konrad has kindly provided an opportunity for me to contribute a response to his recent piece “Inverter Stocks: A Value BOS Play on Solar.” I’m grateful for the opportunity because it gives me the chance to discuss these stocks and along the way to clear up some misconceptions it seems may exist regarding Green Alpha’s portfolios and our vision of the next economy. Tom wrote, for example, that “Garvin... has been making the case that the solar sell off is irrational on this blog since...

Is The Largest Solar Manufacturer a Bargain?

by Debra Fiakas CFA   In the previous post on Canadian Solar (CSIQ:  Nasdaq) I suggested a multiple of 10 times the consensus estimate for earnings in 2014 might be a compelling value for the solar module producer.  Putting a value on is competitor Yingli Green Energy Holding (YGE:  NYSE) is not so easy given the string of losses reported by Yingli.  The usual price to earnings multiple cannot be used to value a company swimming in red ink.  That leaves the multiple of price to sales.  Yingli trades at 0.5 times sales compared to the one-to-one multiple...
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