North Coast Solar Stocks

February 27, 2008

EMCORE Receives $39 Million in New Orders for Concentrator Solar Cell Receiver Assemblies from Green and Gold Energy

Filed under: EMKR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 9:00 am

Worldwide deployment is driving a dramatic ramp-up of EMCORE’s concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) receiver products. EMCORE’s receiver assembly line commences high-volume production

Albuquerque, NM, February 27, 2008 “” EMCORE Corporation (EMKR), a leading provider of semiconductor-based components and subsystems for the broadband, fiber-optic, satellite and terrestrial solar power markets, announces today that it has been awarded a follow-on production order of $39 million for additional solar cell receiver assemblies. These receivers are to be deployed in Green and Gold Energy’s SunCube CPV systems through its world-wide licensees. Additionally, EMCORE has received purchase orders from several other leading CPV system integrators for CPV receiver assemblies. The current backlog for this product line has increased to approximately $86 million. This backlog was reported in EMCORE’s Q1 release for fiscal year 2008. Production of CPV receiver assemblies has commenced at EMCORE’s high-volume manufacturing line located in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

EMCORE has recently introduced a line of integrated solar cell receiver assemblies optimized for operation at 500x to 1000x concentration, which provide terrestrial systems integrators a complete photovoltaics solution for their CPV systems. EMCORE’s unique CPV receiver assembly is easily integrated into existing concentrating PV systems and has emerged as the most desirable form in the industry. By choosing EMCORE’s complete and highly reliable receiver solution, CPV system developers are able to focus their full efforts on advancing their optical design and optimizing the balance of the system, significantly reducing their time to market.

David Danzilio, Vice President and General Manager of EMCORE’s Photovoltaics Division stated, “We are delighted that Green and Gold Energy has recognized the market advantage provided by EMCORE’s CPV receiver solution. This product fits seamlessly into GGE’s existing optical design and eliminates the cost and time required to internally develop this critical element of the system. The conversion of GGE’s initial solar cell order to CPV receiver assemblies, as well as the new $39M purchase order, demonstrates both the high confidence our customers have in EMCORE and the realization that our cell receiver assembly provides the shortest time to market for their system.” Danzilio added, “This highly differentiated product has gained broad industry acceptance and we see increasing demand from multiple customers around the world. We are currently expanding our production capacity for both solar cells and cell receiver assemblies at our Albuquerque factory, and we entered 2008 with a record firm order backlog exceeding 300 MW. EMCORE’s continued investment will continue to provide our CPV customers assured supply of the critical engine driving the deployment of economically viable terrestrial CPV systems.”

February 25, 2008

LDK Solar Reports Financial Results for the Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2007

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

Xinyu City, China and Sunnyvale, California, February 25, 2008 – LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today reported its unaudited financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2007.

All financial results are reported in US dollars on a U.S. GAAP basis.

Fourth Quarter 2007 Financial Highlights:

* Revenue of $192.8 million, up 21.4% quarter-over-quarter
* Gross profit of $58.0 million, up 18.6% quarter-over-quarter
* Net income of $49.2 million, or $0.44 per diluted ADS, up 18.2% quarter-over-quarter
* Signed 9 long-term wafer supply agreements during the fourth quarter
* Total wafer shipments increased 18.4% sequentially to 93.4MW in the fourth quarte

Net sales for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 were $192.8 million, up 21.4% sequentially from $158.7 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2007, and up 212% year-over-year from $61.9 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.

Gross profit for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was $58.0 million, up 18.6% sequentially from $48.9 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2007, and up 119% year-over-year from $26.6 million for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006. Gross profit margin for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was 30.1% compared with 30.8% in the third quarter of fiscal 2007 and 42.9% in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006.

Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was $49.2 million, or $0.44 per diluted ADS, compared to net income of $41.6 million, or $0.37 per diluted ADS for the third quarter of fiscal 2007.
The Company ended the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 with $83.5 million in cash and cash equivalents.

“The fourth quarter closed a very strong year for LDK marked by record revenue and continued rapid growth,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar.? “During the year, we had a number of significant achievements.We exceeded our annual wafer production capacity target for 2007 by 5% to reach 420 MW. ?We also broadened our customer base by securing 16 long-term wafer supply contracts during the year.Our success is a testament not only to the quality of our wafers, but also to our strong customer relationships and our leading position amongst multicrystalline solar wafer manufacturers.

“As we enter 2008, we continue to experience strong demand for our wafers coupled with a significant backlog of long-term supply contracts.? The construction on our new polysilicon plants is progressing as planned and we expect to enjoy further cost reductions and the advancement of our production processes in 2008.”

In accordance with its filing requirements, LDK expects to file its 20-F document which includes detailed financials for the full year 2007 in the second quarter of 2008.

Business Outlook

The following statements are based upon management’s current expectations. These statements are forward-looking, and actual results may differ materially. The Company undertakes no obligation to update these statements.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2008, LDK estimates its revenue to be in the range of $210 million to $220 million for wafer shipments of 98 MW to 104 MW.The Company also estimates fully diluted earnings per ADS to be in the range of $0.41 to $0.45.The first quarter is typically a seasonally slow period due to Chinese New Year holidays, and this year may have some impact from the severe snow storms.

For the full year 2008, LDK reiterates estimated revenue to be in the range of $960 million to $1.0 billion for wafer shipments of 510 MW to 530 MW.The Company also estimates polysilicon production to be in the range of 100MT to 350MT and gross margins of 26% to 31%.

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February 22, 2008

LDK Solar Signs an Eight-Year Wafer Supply Agreement with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Feb 22, 2008 /PRNewswire/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that it has signed an eight-year “Take or Pay” contract to supply multicrystalline solar wafers to Republic of Korea-based Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd (HHI).

Under the terms of the agreement, LDK Solar will deliver 450 MW of multicrystalline solar wafers to Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. over an eight-year period commencing in late 2008 through 2015. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. will make an advanced payment representing a portion of the contract value to LDK Solar.

“This latest long-term wafer supply agreement with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. further exemplifies the strong demand levels for our high quality wafers,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO. “We are pleased to continue expanding our strategic list of customers with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd’s business.”

“Having visited LDK Solar’s polysilicon plant in Xinyu City, China several times, we are confident that both their wafers and new manufacturing facilities will meet the highest industry standards,” commented Kwon-Tae Kim, HHI’s Executive Vice President. “We look forward to beginning a long-term relationship with LDK Solar.”

February 19, 2008

United Solar Ovonic Announces Multi-Year Agreement with ITOCHU to Supply Photovoltaic Laminates for Large-Scale Rooftop Applications

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Feb 19, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ — United Solar Ovonic LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ENER) (“ECD”), announced today that it has entered into a multi-year agreement to supply its UNI-SOLAR(R) brand solar laminates to ITOCHU Corporation for use on large-scale rooftop installations on industrial and commercial buildings worldwide.

“The agreement with ITOCHU underscores our significant and growing presence in the global solar market,” said Mark Morelli, president and CEO of ECD. “We applaud ITOCHU for recognizing both the economic and environmental benefits of UNI-SOLAR’s lightweight, durable, and flexible thin-film PV laminates for rooftop installations.”

“Since 2005, ITOCHU has been committed to growing our solar business as part of a broader commitment to environmental conservation and the development of alternative energy sources. Our agreement with UNI-SOLAR will help us further develop our solar energy business following our acquisition of California-based systems integrator and distributor Solar Depot in 2006. UNI-SOLAR laminates are a natural fit for us, because they can be integrated directly into roofing materials and provide a faster return on investment than competitive solar products,” said Yutaka Kato, Chief Operating Officer of Industrial Machinery and Solution Division of ITOCHU Corporation.

UNI-SOLAR laminates offer superior cost-effective solutions for roofing applications because they are lightweight, durable, flexible, can be integrated directly with building materials, and generate more energy in real-world conditions. They are generally three-to-five times lighter than conventional solar modules (which use glass), offering an ideal solution for low-load bearing roof applications. UNI-SOLAR laminates can be installed without any structural changes or penetrations to the roof, and provide superior wind and seismic load performance compared with conventional solar modules.

February 14, 2008

SunPower Announces 3-Gigawatt Silicon Supply Agreement with Jupiter, Qingdao DTK Industries Co., Ltd.

Filed under: SPWR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

SAN JOSE, Calif., Feb 14, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ — SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq: SPWR), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today announced that it has signed a multi-year polysilicon supply agreement with Jupiter Corp., Ltd., a sales office of Qingdao DTK Industries Co., Ltd. (Jupiter, Qingdao DTK), a corporation based in China.

Starting in 2010 and continuing through 2016, SunPower has contracted to purchase increasing volumes of polysilicon from Jupiter, Qingdao DTK. The agreement will provide polysilicon volumes sufficient to manufacture more than 3 gigawatts of solar cells based on SunPower’s expected silicon utilization during this period. Jupiter, Qingdao DTK will build a new polysilicon manufacturing facility in Qingdao, China, in order to produce the polysilicon that will be supplied under the terms of this agreement.

“SunPower is pleased to partner with Jupiter, Qingdao DTK as it extends its expertise into polysilicon manufacturing,” said Tom Werner, CEO of SunPower. “Jupiter, Qingdao DTK will provide polysilicon to our ingot suppliers, supporting our drive to scale rapidly and cost-effectively to meet the demand for our high-efficiency solar systems.”

“We are looking forward to our new partnership with SunPower that will help build a cleaner environment for future generations,” said Indi Sohal, CEO of Jupiter and Qingdao DTK Industries. “We share SunPower’s vision to expand the solar industry and make it the premier renewable energy choice. Jupiter, Qingdao DTK is excited to support SunPower’s vision and to build a low cost polysilicon manufacturing solution in China.”

February 13, 2008

First Solar Q4 Shines, Pumping New Energy To Ailing Green Sector

Filed under: AMAT, FSLR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 6:54 pm

Wednesday February 13, 6:54 pm ET
Brian Womack

Beaten-down solar stocks got back some of their mojo Wednesday after market-leader First Solar crushed fourth-quarter estimates and raised its 2008 outlook.

First Solar (FSLR) — the largest solar company by market capitalization — saw its stock rise 30% to 228.46 Wednesday, regaining much of its loss since the start of the year.

The solar-module maker said fourth-quarter earnings soared more than 500% from the year-ago period to 77 cents per share. That smashed the average estimate of 53 cents among analysts polled by Thomson Financial.

Sales nearly quadrupled to $200.8 million, topping views of $179.6 million.

“Pick your favorite hokey phrase,” said Paul Leming, an analyst with Soleil Securities who rates the stock a neutral, or hold. “They buried the estimates. They blew the lights out. That was a spectacular quarter.”

For 2008, the company raised its sales outlook to $900 million-$950 million; it previously had forecast sales of $760 million-$800 million. The new outlook also topped analysts’ average forecast of $820.5 million.

“It’s clearly good news for the industry,” said Jonathan Hoopes, a ThinkEquity Partners analyst who rates First Solar a buy. “Investors should come back into these stocks as they see strong earnings in the fourth quarter (and the) first quarter and second quarter.”

IBD’s Energy-Other group, which is dominated by solar stocks, rose more than 8% on Wednesday. SunPower (SPWR) saw shares climb more than 12%. The solar-module maker announced solid earnings in January, but not enough to drive the response First Solar caused.

Solar stocks fell roughly 25% in the first six weeks of this year, a big reversal from 2007, when they soared roughly 70% on higher oil prices, government incentives and “green” technology buzz.

Blame the declines this year on the overall contraction in the stock market, but also fresh fears about oversupply as more companies ramp up to get their piece of the solar market. That could hurt sales — and profit margins.

Some worry that government incentives for solar build-outs may not be enough to overcome a potential oversupply.

John Hardy, an analyst at American Technology Research, calls those oversupply fears overblown.

Some new industry players may be optimistic about ramping up quickly, he says. But large-scale manufacturing of quality solar products is easier said than done.

Soleil’s Leming adds that Germany — which makes up roughly half of the world’s solar market — has no real caps on solar subsidies. He expects that to continue for a few years before Germans begin to balk at the cost.

“We got a good, comforting report out of First Solar this morning that I just think allayed a lot of investor concerns,” Leming said.

First Solar gave investors good news by reporting yet another increase in its manufacturing efficiencies. Using its proprietary system, the company increased its production output — a metric that includes the amount of power its solar modules can produce — by more than 10% in the fourth quarter. That came on the heels of even larger improvements in the second and third quarters.

That’s helping First Solar churn out solar modules faster. The company is also building new production lines, fueling potential sales.

ThinkEquity’s Hoopes says First Solar isn’t taking a hit on prices, so those extra sales fall to the bottom line.

“There’s a real nice toggle switch,” he said. “That’s where they were able to deliver.”

Another help: First Solar uses a thin-film process that avoids the need for polysilicon, which is in short supply.

First Solar’s results also helped boost Applied Materials (NasdaqGS:AMAT – News), a key provider of gear used in thin-film manufacturing. The firm reported estimates-beating numbers for its first quarter Tuesday evening, sending the stock up 9% on Wednesday.

First Solar Flares

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:25 pm

Carl Gutierrez, 02.13.08, 4:25 PM ET

Investors renewed their love affair with the solar industry on Wednesday after First Solar posted impressive quarterly results that reflected improved manufacturing efficiency.

First Solar’s shares soared 27.0%, or $47.67, to $223.23, in afternoon trading, and other makers of solar-energy equipment also advanced.

For the fourth quarter the Phoenix-based solar-panel maker reported a 686.3% increase in earnings, to $62.9 million, or 77 cents per share, from $8.0 million, or 12 cents per share, reported a year earlier.

First Solar’s earnings came on the back of a near-quadrupling of sales, to $200.8 million, from the $52.7 million, in 2006.

The results were far better than Wall Street’s predictions. The consensus among analysts was for earnings of 53 cents per share and sales of $179.6 million. “They were fantastic,” said Adam Hinckley, an analyst at Oppenheimer, “no one was expecting anything this quarter.”

Hinckley said the key to the quarter’s success were lower-than-expected manufacturing costs and better volumes. The company spent $1.12 per watt of generating capacity to make its panels, down from $1.19 a year ago. “It really demonstrates their leadership within the industry,” Hinckley said.

Although the increased efficiency was specific to First Solar, the entire industry benefited in the stock market on Wednesday. Shares of SunPower were up 11.4%, or $8.12, to $79.42, Evergreen Solar jumped $11.3%, or $1.14, to $11.25, LDK Solar increased 7.2%, or $2.41, to $35.96 and Suntech Power Holdings leaped 13.4%, or $6.15, to $52.07.

Hinckley said that First Solar’s success has gotten people exciting about the sector again. After phenomenal increases through 2007, solar stocks fell hard as investors took their profits amidst broader economic uncertainty. “The demand trends for the industry are as robust as ever,” Hinckley said, adding “an event like this acts as a catalyst for the group.”

Spire Awarded Patent for Synthesis of Quantum Dot Nanostructures

Filed under: SPIR — Tags: , — Jason @ 8:30 am

Wednesday February 13, 8:30 am ET

Spire Semiconductor Invents Large-Scale Method to Produce Nanoparticles of Highly Uniform Size
Nanophotonics Breakthrough Has Potential for Ultra-High Efficiency, Low-Cost Solar Cells

BEDFORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Spire Corporation (Nasdaq: SPIR – News), a global solar company providing turnkey solar factories and capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic modules, cells, and wafers worldwide, today announced that it has been awarded United States Patent Number 7,306,963 entitled “Precision Synthesis of Quantum Dot Nanostructures for Fluorescent and Optoelectronic Devices.” This patent describes a method for designing and synthesizing quantum dot nanoparticles with improved uniformity and size. These quantum dots have the potential to create new high efficiency, low-cost solar cells and other optoelectronic devices such as lasers, light emitting diodes (LEDs), and photodetectors. The extremely small size of these structures also makes them useful for medical assays, diagnostic systems, and therapeutic compounds.

“Quantum dot technology represents an exciting field of research in solar energy today,” said Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire Corporation. “Quantum dots have the potential to improve the efficiency of solar cells beyond levels currently available, and quantum dots also have important applications in the fields of medical research and diagnostics. The challenge has always been how to manufacture these small structures with the consistency needed to take advantage of their unique properties. Our scientists have conceived of a large-scale method that may allow the promise of this technology to be realized.”

Quantum dots are nanometer-sized (about one 25-millionth of an inch) semiconductor structures which, when exposed to light at predetermined wavelengths, can generate free electrons and create an electrical current. The confinement of electrons in these minute three-dimensional structures gives scientists the ability to use quantum dots to precisely control the optical properties of various devices, such as a solar cell or a biomarker for detecting cancer.

“The technique we conceived for fabricating the quantum dots involves using compound semiconductor technology developed at Spire Semiconductor, Spire Corporation’s solar cell manufacturing operation,” said Kurt J. Linden, Ph.D., Senior Scientist at Spire Corporation. “It involves the synthesis of free-standing nanoparticles by using a specially designed release layer that separates uniformly sized nanoparticles from gallium arsenide (GaAs) thin films that are grown in our existing GaAs wafer fabrication systems. Such techniques are expected to achieve large-scale volumes of active nanostructures with a highly consistent size. This consistency of size can provide a number of important scientific and commercial benefits.”

“This patent further strengthens our intellectual property portfolio in our solar and optoelectronic market areas,” concluded Little. “It is a testament to the strength and depth of Spire’s research staff.”

First Solar 4Q Earnings Soar

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 7:57 am

Wednesday February 13, 7:57 am ET

First Solar 4th-Qtr Earnings Jump, Driven by Increased Production and Lower Costs

PHOENIX (AP) — Solar modules maker First Solar Inc. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter earnings skyrocketed on increased production and lower costs.

The results, which beat Wall Street’s expectations, sent shares up $26.19, or 14.9 percent, to $201.75 in premarket trading.

The company earned $62.9 million, or 77 cents per share, compared with $8 million, or 12 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Analysts expected profit of 53 cents per share on revenue of $179.6 million, according to a poll by Thomson Financial.

Revenue in fact almost quadrupled to $200.8 million, from $52.7 million in the 2006 period.

First Solar said full production capacity at its German plant, with increased efficiency and lower manufacturing costs, helped earnings.

For the full-year, the company posted profit of $158.4 million, or $2.03 per share, compared with $4 million, or 7 cents per share, in 2006.

Revenue jumped to $504 million, from $135 million a year earlier.

Analysts predicted earnings of $1.19 per share on sales of $483.4 million for the year.

First Solar, Inc. Announces 2007 Fourth Quarter and Year-end Financial Results

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 7:02 am

Wednesday February 13, 7:02 am ET

PHOENIX, Feb. 13, 2008 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) — First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended, December 29, 2007. Quarterly revenues were $200.8 million, up from $159.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2007 and up from $52.7 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006. Revenues for the fiscal year ended December 29, 2007 were $504.0 million, up from $135.0 million in fiscal year 2006.

Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was $62.9 million or $0.77 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to net income of $46.0 million or $0.58 per share on a fully diluted basis for the third quarter of fiscal 2007. Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2007 included a one time tax benefit of $7.5 million, or $0.09 per fully diluted share due to the reversal of valuation allowances against previously established deferred tax assets in Germany. Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2006 was $8.0 million or $0.11 per share on a fully diluted pro-forma basis.

Net income for fiscal 2007 was $158.4 million or $2.03 per share on a fully diluted basis compared to net income of $4.0 million for fiscal 2006 or $0.05 per share on a fully diluted pro-forma basis.

Pro-forma earnings per share for the three months and fiscal year ended, December 30, 2006, have been adjusted to give effect to the Company’s equity offerings during 2006, including its initial public offering, as if each occurred on January 1, 2006. The Company believes the pro-forma earnings per share presentation represents a meaningful basis for the comparison of its current results to results during fiscal periods occurring prior to the Company’s initial public offering.

“During the fourth quarter of 2007 we benefited from the full capacity and economies of scale of our Frankfurt/Oder plant. This combined with continued throughput and conversion efficiency gains afforded us strong operating leverage and decreased our manufacturing cost per watt by 12% year over year to $1.12 per watt in the fourth quarter of 2007, further solidifying our cost leadership position in the industry,” said Michael J. Ahearn, Chief Executive Officer of First Solar.

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February 12, 2008

Applied Materials Announces Results for First Quarter of Fiscal 2008

Filed under: AMAT — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:03 pm

Tuesday February 12, 4:03 pm ET
— Net Sales: $2.09 billion (8% decrease year over year; 12% decrease quarter over quarter)
— Net Income: $262 million (35% decrease year over year; 38% decrease quarter over quarter)
— EPS: $0.19 ($0.10 decrease year over year; $0.11 decrease quarter over quarter)
— New Orders: $2.50 billion (2% decrease year over year; 13% increase quarter over quarter)

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials, Inc. reported results for its first fiscal quarter ended January 27, 2008. Net sales were $2.09 billion, down 8 percent from $2.28 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2007, and down 12 percent from $2.37 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007. Gross margin for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 was 44.8 percent, down from 46.7 percent for the first quarter of fiscal 2007, and down from 45.5 percent for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007. Net income for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 was $262 million, or $0.19 per share, down from net income of $403 million, or $0.29 per share, for the first quarter of fiscal 2007, and down from net income of $422 million, or $0.30 per share, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

New orders of $2.50 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 decreased 2 percent from $2.54 billion for the first quarter of fiscal 2007, and increased 13 percent from $2.21 billion for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007. Regional distribution of new orders for the first quarter of fiscal 2008 was: Taiwan 32 percent, North America 20 percent, Korea 14 percent, Japan 12 percent, Southeast Asia and China 11 percent, and Europe 11 percent. Backlog at the end of the first quarter of fiscal 2008 was $4.10 billion, compared to $3.65 billion at the end of the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007.

“We executed well in a challenging global chip equipment market,” said Mike Splinter, president and CEO. “The strength in our new orders reflects robust demand for our display products and recognition of our first Applied SunFab™ Thin Film Line orders.

“This is a pivotal year for Applied and we are focused on execution and growth throughout the company. Our long-term prospects are excellent as we build on our foundation of semiconductor equipment and services to add new businesses and move into new markets,” concluded Splinter.

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ICP Solar Expands Distribution Relationship with Wal-Mart

Filed under: ICPR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 8:59 am

Tuesday February 12, 8:59 am ET

Coleman(R) 12V Solar battery chargers to be distributed in over 2000 Wal-Mart Stores

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ICP Solar Technologies Inc. (ICPR.ob), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of solar panels and products, today announced that Wal-Mart Stores Inc (WMT), the world’s largest retail distributor, will carry the Coleman® 12V solar battery charger range, designed and made by ICP Solar, in 2000 stores across the United States..

“We are thrilled to be significantly expanding our relationship with Wal-Mart. They are the premier retailer in the world and our companies have always shared the same customer centric strategies. As part of their leadership stance in the energy efficiency arena, Wal-Mart is demanding that their supplier’s products live up to their motto of “saving people money” by helping them use less energy, reduce their energy cost, allowing them to become better stewards of the environment by reducing their carbon footprint,” said Sass Peress, ICP chairman and chief executive officer. “Our products are a perfect fit. The Coleman® 12V solar chargers come with best in class features, a 2-year warranty and will deliver over 50% more power per square inch that competing solar chargers.”

“The US market is the largest solar market in the world and following our success with Wal-Mart in Canada, we are proud to expand our relationship with the largest retailer in world, here in the US market,” said Tom Clark, ICP Solar’s VP of Sales-Americas. “In order for a product to become part of Wal-Mart’s clean-energy range of products, it must meet the highest standards. The Coleman® brand, which we license from Jarden Corporation (NYSE: JAH – News), has been a mainstay of the Wal-Mart outdoor line because of its quality and durability. The fact that Wal-Mart chose to carry our product in over 2000 stores validates the investments we have made, in order to ensure that our licensed Coleman® branded solar chargers are the most innovative and reliable products of their kind. We look forward to a long and rewarding relationship with Wal-Mart in its drive to provide clean-energy alternatives to its customers.”

February 11, 2008

SunPower Shares Surge on Barron’s Report

Filed under: SPWR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 2:12 pm

Monday February 11, 2:12 pm ET

SunPower Stock Surges More Than 12 Pct. After Barron’s Becomes Latest to Tout Potential Growth

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of SunPower Corp. surged Monday after a Barron’s article became the latest in a string of reports to tout the company’s growth potential and say its shares have been undervalued.The solar-panel maker’s stock rose $8.02, or 12.1 percent, to $74.41 in afternoon trading. Its shares have traded in a range of $38.82 to $164.49 over the past 52 weeks, reaching the high in November.

Solar stocks have come under pressure recently amid a broader sell-off because of recessionary fears and because of a solar-tax credit that is set to expire at the end of this year.

However, the Barron’s article noted that analysts are forecasting earnings growth of 40 percent to 50 percent for SunPower through 2010 and that the company is working to cut costs and lift margins. If its profits expand to that degree and its operating strategy is successful, its shares could rally, Barron’s said.

The article also noted that much of SunPower’s revenue comes from customers who are spurred to install solar power because of state incentives, rather than the federal one that is set to expire.

Wall Street analysts like Calyon Securities’ Kelly Dougherty have been issuing similar statements in recent weeks, saying the company is poised for growth despite a weak share price. Dougherty reiterated a “Buy” rating for SunPower on Jan. 28, but lowered her price target on the shares, saying investors are “not paying up as much for growth now.”

Sunny Skies for Solar Stock

Filed under: SPWR — Tags: , — Jason @ 10:00 am

By JACQUELINE DOHERTY

IT HAS BEEN A DARK JANUARY for San Jose-based SunPower, whose shares have fallen 60%, to 66. Weighing on the stock are recession fears and the looming expiration of a solar tax credit at year end. But the sell off is overdone, and the solar-power producer’s shares soon may shine again.

SunPower (SPWR) trades at 32 times Wall Street’s 2008 earnings estimate of $2.07 a share, and 20 times the ’09 consensus of $3.30. The company’s ’08 guidance is somewhat lower, at $2 to $2.10 a share, on revenues of $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion. SunPower’s multiple doesn’t seem high in light of forecasts that earnings will grow by 40% to 50% at least through 2010. If the company can meet ’09 forecasts and trade up to 40 times earnings — the low end of its expected growth rate — the stock would sell for more than 130. Its multiple peaked last year at 79 times estimated earnings, and its shares, 57%-owned by Cypress Semiconductor (CY), at 164, when all solar stocks soared-yes, too close to the sun.

[BA_SUN_POWER.gif]

Retail buyers account for 45% of SunPower’s revenues, companies and institutions, 55%. The stock has come under pressure with the government’s $2,000 solar tax credit for individual buyers set to expire this year, but retail purchases — at an average pre-credit price of $40,000 — are driven by more substantial credits offered by California and New Jersey. The elimination of the corporate tax credit likely would have a bigger impact on earnings; corporations can deduct 30% of the cost of solar systems from their taxes. If that tax credit isn’t extended, the company plans to shift many of its commercial sales to Europe and Japan, where it already operates. International sales account for more than 40% of revenue.

THE U.S. SENATE TRIED TO attach an extension of the solar tax credit to the economic stimulus bill, but it failed to pass. While an extension could be reintroduced anytime, it most likely will be part of a package considered in the fourth quarter that would extend the wind and solar tax credit and the research and development tax credit, and apply a “patch” to the dreaded alternative minimum tax. “There’s so much bipartisan support for the wind and solar package” that there’s an 85% to 90% chance it gets passed by year end, says Daniel Clifton, head of policy research at Strategas Research Partners.

If not, it will be re-introduced in 2009, says Tom Gallagher, head of policy research at ISI Group. “We would like it to pass sooner rather than later,” says Tom Werner, SunPower’s CEO. “It’s a very low-cost way of moving the country toward renewable energy.”

The Bottom Line:

SunPower’s stock was cut in half after the solar bubble burst. Now it could double, with earnings growing 40% to 50%.

More recent concerns about SunPower center on an expected pick-up in the supply of polysilicon — a key ingredient in solar panels — and a resultant drop in prices. This could lead lesser players to produce more, and create a solar-panel glut. SunPower fully expects panel prices to fall, but aims to expand its margins to offset any decline. The company hopes to reduce the cost of a system by 50% by 2012, in part because efficiencies will increase as volumes rise.

When systems drop in price, “you address huge new market segments,” says Werner. Tax credit or no, that’s also one way to address shareholder concerns.

February 7, 2008

Energy Conversion Devices Reports Second Quarter 2008 Results

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

– Consolidated Revenues Increase 20 Percent on Strong UNI-SOLAR(R) Sales
– Solar Production Increases Nearly 50 Percent
– Company Reaffirms Sustainable Profitability in Fiscal Q4

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Feb 07, 2008 /PRNewswire-FirstCall via COMTEX News Network/ — Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (ENER), the leading global manufacturer of solar thin-film laminate products, today reported financial results for the second quarter of fiscal 2008, ended December 31, 2007.

Revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2008 were $56.4 million, up 20 percent from first quarter revenues of $47.0 million and up 146 percent from $22.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2007. Revenues from the company’s solar business were $51.7 million, or 92 percent of total revenues. Second quarter solar revenues represented a 23 percent sequential increase and a 169 percent increase over the prior-year quarter. Gross margins in the solar business were 19.2 percent.

ECD reported a net loss for the quarter of $5.4 million, or $0.14 per share, compared to a net loss of $7.6 million, or $0.19 per share, in the first quarter of fiscal 2008, and a net loss of $2.9 million, or $0.07 per share, in the year-ago period. Second quarter results included $2.5 million, or $0.06 per share, of restructuring charges principally for severance and other costs associated with corporate staff reductions and management transition. Results in the quarter were also impacted by approximately $2.3 million, or $0.06 per share, of preproduction costs.

For the first six months of fiscal 2008, total revenues were $103.5 million compared with $50.1 million for the first six months of fiscal 2007, an increase of 106 percent. Revenues from the solar business totaled $93.6 million in the first six months of fiscal 2008, a 118 percent increase compared with $43.0 million last year.

For the six-month period, the company reported a net loss of $13.0 million, or $0.33 per share, compared with the previous year’s net loss of $5.2 million, or $0.13 per share. Restructuring costs for the first six months of fiscal 2008 amounted to $5.1 million, or $0.13 per share. Preproduction costs for the period were $4.8 million, or $0.12 per share.

Mark Morelli, ECD’s president and CEO, commented, “We are excited with the progress we are making in growing revenues and reinventing the company around operational excellence. During the quarter, our production of thin-film solar laminates expanded by 50 percent over the first quarter, and tripled over last year’s second quarter. At the same time, our sales pipeline continues to run ahead of production capacity as new and repeat customers in key markets around the world have come to recognize the significant advantages and attractive return on investment of our UNI-SOLAR laminates. As a result, we remain confident that we will reach sustainable profitability by the fiscal fourth quarter.”

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February 6, 2008

Shedding Some Light on Solar Power

Filed under: ESLR, FSLR, HOKU, SPWR, STP, TSL — Tags: , — Jason @ 8:22 pm

Cowen & Co.

WE BELIEVE THAT THERE is a need for more alternative resources. There are numerous factors that support our bullish stance on solar photovoltaics and demand-response stocks, including Comverge, Evergreen Solar, First Solar, Hoku Scientific, SunPower, Suntech Power Holdings, and Trina Solar Limited.

In the U.S., electricity demand outpaces generating and grid capacity, and uncertainty clouds our heavy reliance on coal. In Europe, energy costs are driving inflation, while import dependency raises security concerns. In China, the fast-growing economy forces a difficult balance between living standards and limited resources. In South Africa, grid failures have spiked metals prices.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation is a nonprofit organization charged with ensuring that the bulk power system is reliable. In June 2007, it was granted legal authority by the U.S. Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to enforce reliability standards in the U.S. In the 2007 Long-Term L-T Reliability Assessment, which projects demand and capacity to 2016, the areas of greatest concern included: California, the Rocky Mountain States, the Southwest (Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada), New England, Texas, and the Midwest. Based on committed resources, nearly all of these regions will fall below target capacity margins in 2009. Uncommitted resources would push out the shortfall by two years or more, but these include generators that are not contracted or legally obligated to provide peak power, and those which may lack transmission capacity to deliver the load.

The FutureGen project, originally conceived in 2003, was to build a 275 megawatt (MW) plant demonstrating carbon capture and sequestration (CCS) at a cost of $950 million. However, as cost estimates have reached $1.8 billion, the U.S. Department of Energy has decided to restructure the FutureGen program, seeking $241 million in fiscal 2009 to be spread among multiple commercial projects developing CCS for integrated gasification combined cycle coal (IGCC) plants, including $156 million for the FutureGen approach, with a target for commercialization by 2015. We note that even if CCS is successfully developed, the total volume of carbon dioxide from U.S. coal plants would be 50% more than U.S. annual oil consumption.

In the U.K., two utilities recently announced price increases of 12.9% and 15% for natural gas, while electricity prices were set to increase 7.9%. In the Eurozone, energy prices are estimated to have risen 9.2% in the full-year 2007. And in Germany, natural-gas prices are expected to rise 20%, with electricity up at least 10%.

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EMCORE Corporation Announces 2008 Revenue Guidance and Preliminary Unaudited Results For Its First Quarter Ended December 31, 2007

Filed under: EMKR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

EMCORE Corporation Announces 2008 Revenue Guidance and Preliminary Unaudited Results For Its First Quarter Ended December 31, 2007

* Including our pending acquisition, fiscal 2008 annual revenue guidance is estimated at $265 – $285 million, an increase of 25% from our previously provided revenue guidance and a 60% increase when compared to prior year annual revenue of $170 million
* Including our pending acquisition, calendar year 2008 revenue guidance is estimated at $340 million
* Quarterly revenue increased 21% year–over–year to approximately $47 million
* Quarterly gross margin increased from 14% to 21% year–over–year
* Including our pending acquisition, 2nd quarter revenue guidance is estimated at $56–57 million

ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico, February 6, 2008 – EMCORE Corporation (Nasdaq: EMKR – News), a leading provider of compound semiconductor–based components and subsystems for the broadband, fiber optic, satellite, and terrestrial solar power markets, today announced preliminary unaudited financial results for its first quarter ended December 31, 2007.

Consolidated revenue for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled approximately $47 million. This represents a revenue increase of approximately 21% from $38.6 million reported last year and flat when compared to the prior quarter. Fiber Optics revenue totaled $34.0 million, which represents an increase of 34% from $25.3 million reported last year and an increase of 9% from $31.2 million reported from the prior quarter. The increase in revenue was primarily related to sales of our broadband products, as well as a recovery of 10G products that serve the digital fiber optics sector, which increased 13% year–over–year and 16% from the prior quarter. Photovoltaics revenue totaled approximately $13 million, which represents a decrease of 3% from $13.3 million reported last year and a decrease of 18% from $15.8 million reported from the prior quarter. Our Photovoltaics division experienced delivery and installation delays on capital equipment purchased for its new concentrator photovoltaics (CPV) solar cell and receiver manufacturing line. The delayed equipment caused a shortfall of approximately $3.0 million in revenue associated with scheduled CPV receiver shipments. All required capital equipment is expected to be on line in the current quarter and shipment of CPV receivers should commence shortly. We expect to make up the revenue shortfall in the current fiscal year with no impact to fiscal 2008 revenue guidance.

Consolidated gross profit for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled $9.8 million, which represents an increase from $5.5 million reported last year and from $8.2 million reported in the prior quarter. Consolidated gross margin was approximately 21%, which represents an increase from 14% gross margin reported in the prior year and from 17% gross margin reported in the prior quarter. On a segment basis, Fiber Optics gross margins were 23% for the first quarter ended December 31, 2007, an improvement from 18% gross margin reported in both the prior year and the prior quarter. The increase in Fiber Optics gross margins is primarily due to increased revenue and restructuring efforts completed by the Company in the prior year. Photovoltaics gross margins were 14% for the first quarter ended December 31, 2007. Photovoltaics gross margin on a quarterly basis improved from 8% gross margin as reported in the prior year and decreased from 17% gross margin as reported in the prior quarter. The sequential decrease in Photovoltaics gross margin was a result of deferred revenue and unfavorable product mix.

Excluding stock–based compensation expense, professional fees incurred associated with our review of historical stock option granting practices, non–recurring legal expenses, and severance and restructuring–related expenses (later referred to as “Adjusted Expenses” and disclosed in detail in the attached non–GAAP tables), operating expenses for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled $16.0 million. This represents an increase of $1.9 million of operating expense when compared to the prior year. This annual increase was primarily related to increased SG&A spending in our new Terrestrial Solar Power Systems division, as well as in our other divisions to support revenue increases. On a GAAP basis, operating expenses for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled $23.4 million, which represents an increase from $19.2 million reported last year and a decrease from $24.8 million reported in the prior quarter. A significant portion of the year–over–year increase in operating expenses was due to non–cash stock–based compensation expense. The Company incurred approximately $4.4 million in additional non–cash stock–based compensation expense related to the modification of stock options issued to former employees.

Excluding Adjusted Expenses, our adjusted operating loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled $6.0 million. This represents a decrease in operating loss of 28% or $2.3 million when compared to the prior year. On a GAAP basis, operating loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled $13.6 million.

Excluding Adjusted Expenses, our adjusted net loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled $6.8 million or $0.13 loss per share. This represents a decrease in net loss of 13% or $1.0 million when compared to the prior year. On a GAAP basis, net loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2007 totaled $14.5 million, or $0.28 loss per share.

As of December 31, 2007, the Company had an order backlog of approximately $156 million as compared to a backlog of approximately $149 million as of September 30, 2007. The December 31, 2007 order backlog is comprised of $142 million for our Photovoltaics segment and $14 million for our Fiber Optics segment. Within our Photovoltaics segment, $53 million relates to our satellite solar power business and $89 million relates to our terrestrial solar power business.

Cash, cash equivalents and marketable securities at December 31, 2007 totaled approximately $30 million, a decrease of $11.5 million from the prior quarter. The decrease was primarily due to payment of professional fees incurred associated with our review of historical stock option granting practices, legal costs associated with our patent infringement lawsuits against Optium Corporation, interest payments on our convertible subordinated notes, capital expenditures, and various other increases in net working capital requirements. The Company has plans to improve its liquidity position through additional equity financing, as well as potential asset sales.

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February 4, 2008

Yingli sees higher shipments; shares soar

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:03 pm

Mon Feb 4, 2008 1:03pm EST

LOS ANGELES, Feb 4 (Reuters) – Chinese solar cell maker Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd (YGE) said on Monday it expects to ship between 255 and 265 megawatts of photovoltaic modules in 2008, lifting its shares more than 17 percent.

Yingli reached capacity of 200 megawatts in mid-2007.

Photovoltaic cells, which convert sunlight to electricity, are packaged together to form the modules that make up solar panels.

Based on its 2008 forecast, Yingli said it had secured more than 70 percent of the polysilicon, the industry’s key raw ingredient, needed to make the modules.

Tight supplies of polysilicon have pushed prices for the material higher over the past year, pressuring solar companies’ margins.

Oppenheimer analyst Adam Hinckley said he was concerned that, according to Yingli’s polysilicon contract, prices will be renegotiated based on spot polysilicon pricing, which is rising.

“We believe Yingli is well positioned in the longer term, but that polysilicon costs will hinder share upside in the near term,” Hinckley said in a client note. He has a “perform” rating on the company’s shares.

Yingli’s stock has slid 38 percent since the beginning of the year as investors have fretted that a sluggish U.S. economy and falling oil prices would dampen demand for renewable energy sources. Fears about an impending oversupply of photovoltaic modules have also weighed on solar stocks.

Yingli shares rose nearly threefold in 2007 following the company’s initial public offering last June.

Yingli said it had reduced the thickness of its wafers to 180 microns at the beginning of February from 200 microns last year, cutting the polysilicon usage per watt and reducing its costs.

Last month, Yingli Chief Financial Officer Bryan Li told Reuters the company planned to build a module manufacturing plant in Miami as part of its effort to reach a production capacity of 600 megawatts in 2009.

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