The Future Shape of CSP

Parabolic Troughs have dominated Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) until recently, but several companies are vying to replace them. Will the upstarts succeed, or will incumbency and improvements to trough technology ward off the competition? Dr. Arnold Leitner, CEO of Skyfuel, Inc., thinks the battle for dominance of CSP will be "winner-take-all." The technology which can deliver power when it is needed at a reasonable price should triumph. Photovoltaic (PV) technologies are rapidly producing price reductions, and can be used almost anywhere, but only produce power when the sun is shining. In contrast, CSP is still cheaper than PV enables...

The Brightsource IPO: By the Numbers

The article first published at this URL was originally attributed to Dana Blankenhorn by my mistake. It was in fact written by Katie Fehrenbacher, Editor at GigaOM and Earth2Tech. You can find the original article here: http://gigaom.com/cleantech/brightsource-energys-s-1-by-the-numbers/. The article I had intended to publish is here: http://www.altenergystocks.com/archives/2011/04/brightsource_new_tech_is_filled_with_failure.html My apologies, Tom Konrad, Editor, AltenergyStocks.

Solar Stocks As the Best Play On The Cleantech Revolution? (Part I)

I just got around to reading a new report by Merrill Lynch (link at the end of this article) identifying cleantech as "The Sixth Revolution" (the other five being: Industrial Revolution; Age of Steam & Railways; Age of Steel, Electricity and Heavy Engineering; Age of Oil, the Automobile and Mass Production; and Age of Info and Telecommunications). Periodically, sell-side firms will release free cleantech/alt energy reports, which lay out their macro theses but stop short of providing stock picks to non-clients. I don't generally pay these reports too much attention as I find they rarely - if ever...

CSP: The New Baseload Kid On The Block?

Regular readers know I'm a big fan of wind power, especially in North America. I like the fact that the technology and business model are well understood, that most wind projects have good forward revenue visibility, and that wind is close to being competitive with conventional power generation without subsidies. Wind combines the best of both worlds: stable cash-flows and rapid growth. Over the past few months, concentrating solar power (CSP), a form of energy that is about as ancient as humanity, has begun appearing in the media and across the blogosphere with increasing frequency. What's the hype...

Solar Conquistador

by Debra Fiakas CFA In the last post on Brightsource Energy and its Ivanpah solar thermal power plant in California, I offered no investment opportunity.  Brightsource’s colossal configuration of mirrors and boilers in the Mojave desert is not the first solar thermal power plant using the tower configuration.  The solar subsidiary of Spain’s power generator and transmission leader Abengoa S.A.(ABGB:  Nasdaq) was first to market with a commercial solar thermal tower power plant near Seville. Since construction first started in 2004, Abengoa Solar has brought a series of solar thermal...

Cheap Photovoltaics Are Eating Solar Thermal’s Lunch

Tom Konrad CFA The falling price of photovoltaic (PV) solar is undermining the case for Concentrated Solar Thermal Power (CSP).  According to a recent report from Pike Research, of the 6886 MW of CSP projects awarded in the United States since 2004, 36% have been replaced with PV.  That's more than the number which are actually under construction (1,532 MW, or 21% of announced projects), and all of those required the backing of the US DOE loan guarantee program. With this recent track record, and no ...

Solar Tracer at the Penny Stock Arcade

Dana Blankenhorn This article is no longer available. Disclosure: None Dana Blankenhorn first covered the energy industries in 1978 with the Houston Business Journal. He returned last month after a short 29 year hiatus because it's the best business story of our time. In between he covered PCs, the Internet, e-commerce, open source, the Internet of Things and Moore's Law. It's the application of the last to harvesting the energy all around us he's most excited about. He lives in Atlanta.
Solar Farm

List of Solar Farm Owner and Developer Stocks

Solar farm owner and developer stocks are publicly traded companies who develop or manufacture equipment that converts sunlight into other types of useful energy.  Includes manufacturers and developers of both solar photovoltaic and solar thermal equipment, as well as their supply chain. This list was last updated on 9/11/2020. See also the list of Solar Manufacturing Stocks, the list of Residential Solar Stocks, and solar and wind inverter stocks. 7C Solarparken AG (HRPK.DE) Abengoa SA (ABG.MC, ABGOY, ABGOF) Acciona, S.A. (ANA.MC, ACXIF) Adani Green Energy (ADANIGREEN.NSE) Algonquin Power and Utilities (AQN, AQN.TO) Atlantica Yield PLC (AY) Azure Power Global Ltd. (AZRE) Bluefield Solar Income Fund (BSIF.L) Boralex (BLX.TO, BRLXF) Brookfield Renewable Energy...

Why CSP Should Not Try to be Coal

Joe Romm, at the influential Climate Progress blog, has hit on a formula for countering the coal industry's claims that we need baseload power sources.  Since Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) in conjunction with thermal storage can be used to generate 24/7 or baseload power Joe has renamed it "Solar Baseload."   This is win-the-battle-lose-the-war thinking.  While it does neatly counter the argument we need coal or nuclear, since there are renewable power sources which can produce baseload, such as CSP, Geothermal, and Biomass.  I fell into this coal-industry trap myself in a 2007 article about Geothermal, as did AltEnergyStocks...

From Solar 2009: Investment Opportunities in Solar Stocks: Solar Millennium (SMLNF.PK)

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. This is the third in a series of entries on opportunities in solar stocks, based on a panel at Solar 2009.  The the first article introduced the panelists, and took a look at the solar sector as a whole.  The second was about First Solar. Allen Goodman  on Solar Millennium (SMLNF.PK) "Project developers stand out because of their ability to have a relationship with the customer." Peter Lynch on Solar Millennium (SMLNF.PK) "I liked Solar Millennium before it ran up to $90 last year, I liked it at $90, and I like it today at...

Structured Leveraged Concentrating Solar Power?

On August first, Acciona Energy closed financing on Nevada Solar One, in the first leveraged lease structured financing in the United States. This begs two questions: What in the world is a leveraged lease structured financing? Why do we care? What in the World? An in-depth analysis of the economics of leverage leasing for all three parties involved is available here.  Structured financing is a generic term for any form of financing more complex than a loan or a rental.  For those of you who need to remain awake, here's the short version: a leveraged lease is...

Bragawatts

Tom Konrad, Ph.D. When Solaren announced they are seeking PUC approval for a power purchase agreement (PPA) with PG&E (NYSE:PCG) for solar power from outer space, I wasn't too surprised.   California utilities signing deals for large solar projects which quite likely may never be built is something of an industry trend.  At a Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) conference last fall, John White, the Executive Director of Cleanpower.org, said that competitive solicitations for power supplies in California are becoming a sideshow, and that the "Process lacks credibility among the most serious and qualified developers."  Rainier Aringhoff, the president of one...

Ten Solid Clean Energy Companies to Buy on the Cheap: #10 United Technologies

Like most conglomerates, United Technologies Corporation (UTC), (NYSE:UTX) won't be found in any of the Clean Energy indices, but its growing portfolio of clean energy businesses makes it fit well into a diversified portfolio with a clean energy tilt.  A conservative capital structure and solid earnings and cash flow, and a decades long history of constantly increasing dividends make this a company that I'm comfortable holding for the long term.   In terms of sustainability, the company has been recognized by Dow Jones as in the top 10% of the world's most sustainable companies.  Long before it became fashionable for...

Renewable Energy: a Better Bribe

Bribing and Pressuring Fissile Regimes On July 25th, France offered to build a nuclear reactor for Libya to power a water desalinization plant.  Russia is delaying the delivery of  nuclear fuel for Iran's nearly completed Bushehr to help pressure them to comply with UN Security council demands for less secrecy.  South Korea, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States promised to provide 950 thousand tons of oil or equivalent aid to North Korea in return for permanently disabling all its nuclear facilities. I'm not going to argue about whether using energy aid is the best way to influence this...

A Solar Technology for Every Application

Acciona's financing of Nevada Solar One, and a recent series of a financing, a prominent hire, and a big announcement from Concentrating Linear Fresnel Reflector (CLFR) developer Ausra has been keeping long-underappreciated Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) technology in the news recently.  I consider this great news, because the potential for cheap thermal storage of CSP and the gigantic size of the available resource means that CSP is likely to provide the backbone of reliability for any future decarbonized electric grid where the clear skies which it requires to operate properly and sufficient transmission are available. But CSP is...

A New Solar Fuel to the Rescue?

Cerium - an oil saviour? Eamon Keene Making fuel from solar energy is the holy grail of the renewable industry. In 2008, David Nocera, an energy professor from MIT, gushed about a "major discovery" which would unleash a solar revolution. The MIT press reported on a "simple, inexpensive, highly efficient process for storing solar energy". Ostensibly this was a way to split water to store solar energy in the form of hydrogen and each house would have its own solar panel, which would mean that "electricity-by-wire from a central source could be a...
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