North Coast Solar Stocks

July 31, 2008

Republicans Block Action on Senate Tax Bill

Filed under: none — Tags: , — Jason @ 2:20 pm

By MARTIN VAUGHAN
July 31, 2008; Page A12 WSJ.com

WASHINGTON — Republicans again turned back a Democratic attempt to bring an energy- and business-tax bill to the Senate floor, likely delaying action on the package until September at the earliest.

The bill would extend tax incentives for wind, solar and other forms of renewable energy, and would renew a host of expired tax cuts, such as the research tax credit and the state-sales-tax deduction. It would also protect most taxpayers from the alternative minimum tax in 2008.

The move failed on a 51-43 procedural vote, dashing Democrats’ hopes that their recent additions to the bill would draw more Republican support.

The White House said senior advisers will recommend a veto should the Senate tax bill reach the president’s desk in its current form. The White House had earlier threatened a veto of similar legislation passed by the House.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D., Nev.) said Tuesday that if Republicans continued to block the tax bill, he wouldn’t allow amendments on a separate bill to curb oil-market speculation.

In a bid to draw more Republican votes for the tax bill, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D., Mont.) last week added disaster relief for Midwestern states and a requirement that health plans cover mental illnesses on par with physical diseases.

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MIT develops way to bank solar energy at home

Filed under: none — Tags: , — Jason @ 2:07 pm

Thu Jul 31, 2008 2:07pm EDT
By Scott Malone

CAMBRIDGE, Massachusetts (Reuters) – A U.S. scientist has developed a new way of powering fuel cells that could make it practical for home owners to store solar energy and produce electricity to run lights and appliances at night.

A new catalyst produces the oxygen and hydrogen that fuel cells use to generate electricity, while using far less energy than current methods.

With this catalyst, users could rely on electricity produced by photovoltaic solar cells to power the process that produces the fuel, said the Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor who developed the new material.

“If you can only have energy when the sun is shining, you’re in deep trouble. And that’s why, in my opinion, photovoltaics haven’t penetrated the market,” Daniel Nocera, an MIT professor of energy, said in an interview at his Cambridge, Massachusetts, office. “If I could provide a storage mechanism, then I make energy 24/7 and then we can start talking about solar.”

Solar has been growing as a power source in the United States — last year the nation’s solar capacity rose 45 percent to 750 megawatts. But it is still a tiny power source, producing enough energy to meet the needs of about 600,000 typical homes, and only while the sun is shining, according to data from the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Most U.S. homes with solar panels feed electricity into the power grid during the day, but have to draw back from the grid at night. Nocera said his development would allow homeowners to bank solar energy as hydrogen and oxygen, which a fuel cell could use to produce electricity when the sun was not shining.

“I can turn sunlight into a chemical fuel, now I can use photovoltaics at night,” said Nocera, who explained the discovery in a paper written with Matthew Kanan published on Thursday in the journal Science.

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Senate Again Fails To Extend Solar Tax Credits

Filed under: none — Tags: , — Jason @ 11:01 am

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

The U.S. Senate yesterday failed yet again to approve a measure that would extend solar tax credits, which are due to expire at the end of 2008.

As Reuters notes, a measure which would have extended the tax credits for eight years failed a key procedural vote.

In a statement, Solar Energy Industry Association president Rhonse Resch warned that a failure to extend the tax credit could damage the domestic solar industry:

For the eighth time since June 2007, the Senate was unable to reach a bipartisan compromise to extend solar tax credits which are vital to the solar industry and our economy. Time is running out to extend the solar tax credits and without passage in the immediate future, tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars will be lost in new solar investment. Already companies are putting projects on hold and preparing to send thousands of jobs overseas – real jobs that would otherwise be filled by American workers. Failure to extend the solar tax credits is a severe blow to an industry that has proven to be an economic engine for the U.S. at a time when we need it most.

The Senate now has little time left this year to extend these tax credits. I strongly urge the Senate to figure out a bipartisan compromise and immediately extend the solar tax credit when they return from their August recess.

While industry observers expect the credit will eventually be extended, there are concerns on the Street that the uncertainty about the future of the credits – and the potential that they will not be renewed until after a new administration is installed early next year – will cause U.S. installation of solar systems to temporarily grind to a halt.

Spanish watchdog seeks to ease solar subsidy cuts

Filed under: none — Tags: , — Jason @ 10:58 am

Thu Jul 31, 2008 10:58am EDT

By Martin Roberts

MADRID, July 31 (Reuters) – Spain’s energy watchdog has broadly approved government plans to slash generous subsidies to photovoltaic generators but has made non-binding recommendations to ease the transition to the new scheme.

In a report issued late on Wednesday, the National Energy Commission (CNE) said it backed official plans to cap the generating capacity entitled to support at 300 megawatts in 2009, down from a current limit of 1,200 MW.

The government had long suggested it would trim the subsidy scheme, which had sparked a rush and saddled it with a bill for billions of euros. Advance news of its plans in a July 17 Reuters report helped to undermine U.S. solar energy shares as many of these companies were doing business in Spain.

“The CNE views favourably the proposed decree and shares the goal of establishing a tariff system which aims to cut the costs of this technology,” the watchdog said.

The next step will be for the cabinet to discuss the proposals. No date has been set, although the cabinet will hold its last weekly meeting before a summer break this Friday.

MORE GROUND-BASED PANELS

Where the watchdog departed from the government was in suggesting that the new cap be broken down into a limit of 250 MW for ground-based solar panels, as opposed to the 100 MW proposed in the government review.

The CNE recommended that the remaining 50 MW be installed on roofs, as opposed to the 200 MW proposed by the government in plans due to come into force on Jan. 1, 2009.

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Solarfun Signs 30MW Sales Contract with Martifer Solar

Filed under: SOLF — Tags: , , — Jason @ 7:00 am

Thursday July 31, 7:00 am ET

SHANGHAI, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (“Solarfun” or “the Company”) (SOLF), an established vertically-integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots and photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in China, today announced that Jiangsu Linyang Solarfun Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Solarfun, has entered into a 30MW sales contract with Martifer Solar Sistemas Solares SA, headquartered in Portugal and a leading solar project developer, installer and producer in Europe.

Under the terms of the agreement, Solarfun has agreed to supply a total of 30MW of PV modules to Martifer Solar at a fixed price to be delivered according to a binding delivery schedule from January 2009 to December 2009.

Solarfun CEO Harold Hoskens commented, “This agreement is one of our largest new contracts to date. We are delighted to be working with Martifer and are excited to begin a long-term relationship with them. This project is particularly important as it will further enhance our presence in regions outside of the mainstream developed solar markets in Europe. We plan to continue to geographically diversify our business to these and other regions in the coming years.”

Henrique Rodrigues, Martifer Solar CEO stated, “We are very happy to be working with Solarfun for the installation of their PV modules in various projects throughout Portugal, Italy, Greece, and other countries in Southern Europe. Solarfun’s strong reputation in the market and their high quality products excite us to begin developing a long-term relationship with their team.”

This Report on Form 6-K is hereby incorporated by reference into the Company’s Registration Statement on Form F-3 (Registration No. 333-152005) filed on July 14, 2008.

Solar Power, Inc. and Solyndra, Inc. Execute Long-Term Supply Agreement for Innovative Photovoltaic Panels

Filed under: SOPW — Tags: , , — Jason @ 6:00 am

Thursday July 31, 6:00 am ET

Agreement Provides Solar Power, Inc. With Approximately $325 Million of Solyndra Thin-Film Panels Over Five Years

ROSEVILLE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solar Power, Inc. (“SPI”) (SOPW) has executed an amendment to its current supply agreement with Solyndra, Inc., a Fremont, California-based manufacturer of CIGS (Copper indium gallium selenide) thin-film photovoltaic panels. The amended agreement, signed July 24, 2008, has a product value of approximately $325 Million for the delivery of solar panels between 2008 – 2012 with yearly increasing volumes and decreasing price per watt of peak output.

SPI will be one of the first companies in the U.S. to offer Solyndra’s highly innovative PV panels to its customers. The panels feature a unique cell geometry which enables rapid installation and high energy production for large-scale rooftops.

“We are very excited about this agreement,” said Steve Kircher, CEO of Solar Power, Inc. “Solyndra’s panels are highly innovative and offer unique design features that differentiate them from conventional panels. Their panels and simple mounting systems are quick to install and have outstanding energy production. The addition of their products to our portfolio extends the range of installation opportunities we now have; especially where available space and/or system weight are considerations.”

Suntech and PV Crystalox Solar Announce 260MW Wafer Supply Agreement

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:00 am

Thursday July 31, 3:00 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, July 31 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, and PV Crystalox Solar PLC (“Crystalox”), a specialist multicrystalline solar wafer manufacturer, today announced they have signed an initial five-year silicon wafer supply agreement with predetermined prices and volumes. Under the agreement, PV Crystalox Solar will supply Suntech with a total of 260MW of silicon wafers from 2008 to 2013.

Headquartered in Oxfordshire, England, Crystalox is a highly specialized wafer supplier to the world’s leading solar cell manufacturers. The Group was one of the first to develop multicrystalline technology on an industrial scale, setting the industry standard for ingot production. Crystalox is currently developing a 1,800MT solar grade polysilicon production facility in Germany.

“PV Crystalox Solar is well recognized for its expertise in the production of silicon wafers, and we are very pleased to initiate this relationship. Aside from silicon, many of Suntech’s key equipment and materials originate in Europe including PV cell and module manufacturing equipment, module backsheets and adhesives. This global sourcing strategy is reflective of our complete commitment to quality and supports our ability to deliver premium quality solar products,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO.

“With a strong demand outlook for 2009, the emergence of a number of high potential solar markets in Europe, and growing sentiment supporting the need for renewable energy, we are confident that the solar industry will sustain long term growth. We will continue to develop and diversify our silicon channels to ensure we have a stable base of raw material supply to support this industry growth,” added Dr. Shi.

PV Crystalox Solar Chief Executive Officer Iain Dorrity said: “We are delighted to be working with Suntech. This new relationship with one of the world’s leading solar energy companies is an important step in securing additional long-term supply agreements for PV Crystalox Solar in line with our strategy for growth.”

About PV Crystalox Solar PLC

PV Crystalox Solar, initially established in the UK in 1982, is a highly specialised supplier to the world’s leading solar cell manufacturers, producing multicrystalline silicon ingots and wafers for use in solar electricity generation systems. The Group was one of the first to develop multicrystalline technology on an industrial scale, setting the industry standard for ingot production. Crystalox is currently developing a 1,800MT solar grade polysilicon production facility in Germany.

July 30, 2008

First Solar’s Results Power Past Views As Sales Up 246%

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 6:58 pm

Wednesday July 30, 6:58 pm ET
Brian Womack

First Solar’s latest quarter blazed past expectations and the company raised guidance, sending its shares up almost 7% after hours and boosting rivals.

The largest U.S. solar company by market value said earnings per share for the second quarter ended June 28 were 85 cents. That’s up from 7 cents a year earlier, after excluding a 51-cent, one-time tax benefit.

Sales shot up 246% to $267 million from $77.2 million.

Both figures crushed views. Analysts expected a profit of 58 cents a share on sales of $216.9 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

“These guys just keep on executing flawlessly,” Lazard analyst Sanjay Shrestha said.

The company continues to reap sales of its solar-module products that are among the cheapest in the industry, analysts say. It has been ramping up manufacturing capacity to help meet demand.

Outlook Even Brighter

In a conference call with analysts, First Solar (FSLR) raised its full-year revenue estimate to a range of $1.175 billion to $1.225 billion. In April, it predicted $975 million to $1.05 billion in sales. Analysts had expected $1.04 billion.

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First Solar Q2 net soars past view, shares rise

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 6:42 pm

Wednesday July 30, 6:42 pm ET
By Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Solar cell maker First Solar Inc (FSLR) reported a 57 percent increase in quarterly profit on Wednesday, blowing past Wall Street estimates as higher-than-expected production from a new plant in Malaysia helped it meet surging demand.

The company also forecast 2008 revenue above analysts’ estimates, and shares rose 6.5 percent in extended trade.

“Despite expectations being so high, they completely outdelivered again,” Pacific Crest analyst Mark Bachman said. Bachman has an “outperform” rating on First Solar shares and does not own the stock.

Second-quarter net income increased to $69.7 million, or 85 cents per share, exceeding analysts’ average estimate of 57 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

In the same period last year, First Solar earned $44.4 million, or 58 cents per share.

First Solar has been the darling of the clean technology sector since it went public in 2006. The stock has gained nearly 7 percent this year, while most other solar stocks have logged sharp declines.

The Phoenix company’s thin-film photovoltaic solar cells, which turn sunlight into electricity, are cheaper to produce than the silicon-based cells that dominate the market.

Revenue totaled $267 million, nearly three-and-a-half times revenue of $77.2 million in the second quarter of last year. Analysts, on average, had expected $217.3 million.

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First Solar, Inc. Announces 2008 Second Quarter Financial Results

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:05 pm

Wednesday July 30, 4:05 pm ET

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today announced its financial results for the second quarter ended June 28, 2008. Quarterly revenues were $267.0 million, up from $196.9 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2008 and up from $77.2 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2007.

Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2008 was $69.7 million or $0.85 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to net income of $46.6 million or $0.57 per share on a fully diluted basis for the first quarter of fiscal 2008. Net income for the second quarter of fiscal 2007 was $44.4 million or $0.58 per share on a fully diluted basis, which included a one-time income tax benefit of $39.2 million that resulted from the reversal of valuation allowances against previously established U.S. deferred income tax assets.

First Solar will discuss these results and expected results for fiscal 2008 in a conference call scheduled for today at 1:30 p.m. PDT (4:30 p.m. EDT). Investors may access a live audio web cast of this conference call in the Investors section of the company’s website at http://www.firstsolar.com. An audio replay of the conference call will be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The audio replay will remain available until August 1, 2008 at 8:59 p.m. PDT (11:59 p.m. EDT) and can be accessed by dialing 888-266-2081 or 703-925-2533 and entering access ID number 1255716.

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Spire Enters Multi-Year Contract with Trina Solar

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

Wednesday July 30, 8:30 am ET

BEDFORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Spire Corporation (SPIR), a global solar company providing turnkey solar factories and capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules worldwide, today announced that it has entered into a multi-year, multi-system contract to provide key module line equipment to Trina Solar Limited (TSL) of the People’s Republic of China.

Spire will provide Trina Solar with multiple Spi-Sun Simulator™ 4600 Single Long Pulse (4600 SLP) systems. The 4600 SLP is the world’s leading solar simulation system. It is unique as it is the choice in research, testing, and high volume production. The 4600 SLP has recently been selected for use at research and certification test facilities, such as the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Underwriters Laboratories, Inc.

“We are proud of our simulation systems. They are the standard of the industry. We have invested heavily into the spectral quality and uniformity of the Spi-Sun Simulator. Only Spire has the profound history of research built into production ready systems.” said, Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire Corporation. “Spire’s business in China continues to grow rapidly. Trina is a leader not only in China but in the world market and we are very excited to work with them on expanding their capability.”

Jifan Gao, Chairman and CEO of Trina Solar, said, “From our years of experience in the PV module industry, we recognize the importance of having advanced equipment in our line to produce high quality PV modules to compete globally. We have developed a beneficial relationship with Spire and hope to continue using their high quality products to help us achieve our goals.”

Hoku and Jiangxi Kinko Energy Sign $298 Million Polysilicon Supply Contract

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 6:10 am

Wednesday July 30, 6:10 am ET

Hoku Updates Plant Financing Strategy, Reports Polysilicon Production Fully Allocated

POCATELLO, ID and SHANGHAI, CHINA–(MARKET WIRE)–Jul 30, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Jiangxi Kinko Energy Company, Ltd., a manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and related products in China, today announced the signing of a definitive contract for Hoku’s sale and delivery of solar-grade polysilicon to Kinko Energy over a ten-year period beginning in late-2009.

According to the contract, up to approximately $298 million may be payable to Hoku during the ten-year period, subject to product deliveries and other conditions. The take-or-pay contract provides for the delivery of predetermined volumes of polysilicon each year, with the first shipment in the second half of 2009 and the remainder over a ten-year period at set prices that will decline throughout the term of the agreement. The contract also provides for an initial deposit of $10 million to Hoku, and requires that Kinko Energy make additional prepayments for products in the amount of $20 million by December 20, 2008 and an additional $25 million by March 31, 2009. Under the agreement, Hoku will grant to Kinko Energy a security interest in its polysilicon assets to secure Hoku’s obligation to repay $55 million to Kinko Energy as a credit against product shipments over time.

“We are pleased to have established a relationship with Kinko Energy, an emerging player in the global silicon ingot and wafer industries,” said Dustin Shindo, chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Kinko Energy’s strategic approach and their focus on growth in the solar market make them an excellent long-term partner for Hoku.”

“We are excited to partner with Hoku and look forward to a long and productive business relationship,” said Kinko Energy chairman, X.D. Li. “Hoku is a clear leader among new polysilicon market entrants, and securing this long-term supply agreement is an important part of Kinko Energy’s future expansion goals.”

The agreement with Kinko Energy contributes to the financing needed by Hoku to complete its planned Idaho production facility. Previously, Hoku had announced plans to fund the $390 million polysilicon plant through $240 million from customer pre-payments and $40 million of its own cash, with the remaining $110 million to come from a combination of pre-payments from new customers, and from debt, equity and other financing strategies. Under the terms of the agreement with Kinko, up to $55 million could be applied toward this remaining $110 million, potentially reducing it by half.

“We plan to continue with our equity distribution agreement and other funding strategies, but do not expect we will need to sell as many shares to complete our plant financing,” Shindo said. “The contract with Kinko Energy provides $10 million in near-term funds which will be deployed during our ramp-up to pilot production. And, with a total of $30 million expected from Kinko before the end of 2008, the agreement reduces our risk of not meeting the financing contingencies in some of our other customer supply contracts.”

With the signing of the Kinko Energy agreement, Hoku also confirmed that the plant’s expected annual production of 3,500 metric tons (MT) of polysilicon had been fully allocated.

“Looking over a ten year period, we are actually slightly oversold at current planned capacity,” said Shindo. “As we have previously stated, though, Hoku is in ongoing contract amendment discussions with both Sanyo and GEWD/Solar Fabrik. We are generally seeking to strengthen these two relationships, but we may adjust delivery amounts or timing to either Sanyo or GEWD, or both, to address this slight overage.”

July 29, 2008

Hoku taps Honeywell to help with production

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 10:15 am

July 29, 2008 – 10:15 AM
Pacific Business News (Honolulu)

Honeywell announced Tuesday that it will design and install the core process and safety systems at Hoku Materials’ new plant in Pocatello, Idaho.

Honeywell’s Process Solutions business, based in Phoenix, will serve as the integrated main automation contractor and equipment supplier. The company will help the plant produce 3,500 tons of polysilicon per year.

Hoku Materials, a subsidiary of Hoku Scientific (HOKU) plans to initiate pilot production by the end of the year and expects to begin commercial shipments of polysilicon in the first half of 2009.

Trina Solar to sell modules to Enel.si

Filed under: TSL — Tags: , , — Jason @ 10:01 am

Tuesday July 29, 10:01 am ET

Trina Solar to provide photovoltaics for Italian power company Enel

NEW YORK (AP) — Chinese solar company Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) said Tuesday it will supply Italy’s largest power company with 17 megawatts of photovoltaic modules.

Trina signed a two-year agreement with Enel.si, a subsidiary of Enel, to supply the modules in 2008 and 2009.

Jifan Gao, Trina’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement that the company looks forward to building its relationship with Enel and further its sales and brand recognition in the Italian market.

Suntech signs agreement with Italian company

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , — Jason @ 9:05 am

Tuesday July 29, 9:05 am ET

Suntech Power Holdings to provide Italian power company with photovoltaic modules

NEW YORK (AP) — Solar cell maker Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP) said Tuesday it will supply Italy’s largest power company with 30 megawatts of photovoltaic modules.

Suntech, which is based in Wuxi, China, signed a two-year agreement with Enel.si, a subsidiary of Enel, to supply the modules in late 2008 and 2009.

“With its substantial solar irradiation, relatively high cost of grid electricity, and favorable solar subsidies, Italy is set to embrace solar as part of its renewable energy portfolio,” Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.

July 28, 2008

Evergreen Solar Completed the Redemption of 4.375% Convertible Subordinated Notes due 2012

Filed under: ESLR — Tags: , — Jason @ 11:22 am

Monday July 28, 11:22 am ET

MARLBORO, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Evergreen Solar, Inc. (ESLR) announced today that it has completed the early redemption of its 4.375% convertible subordinated notes due 2012. The aggregate principal amount of the notes outstanding was $90 million.

All of the holders converted their notes into shares of the Evergreen Solar common stock at the conversion price of approximately $7.39 per share of common stock and the Company issued 12,178,609 shares of its common stock. None of the notes were redeemed for cash.

EcoVillage Farm Living Center Dedicates SunPower Solar System

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

Monday July 28, 8:00 am ET

SunPower Teams with Local Organizations to Celebrate Green Collar Job Training Program

SAN JOSE, Calif., July 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — SunPower Corporation (SPWR), a Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of high-efficiency solar cells, solar panels and solar systems, today is joining Sun Light & Power and non-profit organizations Solar Richmond, Solar Living Institute and Rising Sun Energy Center to dedicate a 2-kilowatt SunPower solar system on the rooftop of EcoVillage Farm Learning Center in Richmond, Calif. SunPower provided financial support for the project and joins with partner organizations to celebrate green collar job training for local youth.

With a grant from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District, Solar Living Institute, in collaboration with Solar Richmond and Rising Sun Energy Center, provided training to 18 students on the basics of solar electricity and installation. Sun Light & Power then installed the SunPower solar array at EcoVillage, with assistance from the new trainees.

“SunPower is pleased to provide financial support for the solar array that will benefit the EcoVillage Farm Learning Center’s sustainability goals, while providing an educational tool for its visitors,” said Bobby Ram, director of global community relations for SunPower Corp. “We are delighted to be a part of this dedication and embrace the organization’s training program that enables local youth to learn new skills that can offer career opportunities in the future.”

EcoVillage Farm Learning Center, which promotes environmental conservation, restoration, and growing a socially just community, is located on 5.6 acres of uniquely preserved, semi-rural farm land. The farm will benefit from the solar array with an immediate 85 percent reduction on its energy bill, and receive a new element in its farming operations that will reinforce sustainability principles to thousands of local visitors.

Shyaam Shabaka, founder and executive director of EcoVillage Farm, added: “The SunPower system provides us with critical financial savings, allowing us to expand our operations and enhance our programs.”

“We are confident that our trainees will use this hands-on solar knowledge as they develop their careers,” said Michele McGeoy, executive director of Solar Richmond. “We commend SunPower for its commitment to the community and for the environmental leadership they continue to demonstrate through support of this project.”

July 27, 2008

Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study

Filed under: DUK, PCG — Tags: , , — Jason @ 3:42 pm

The following is an excerpt from Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study. To read the full report, please download the PDF file by clicking on the link at the bottom.

The Utility Solar Assessment (USA) Study, produced by clean-tech research and publishing firm Clean Edge and green-economy nonprofit Co-op America, provides a comprehensive roadmap for utilities, solar companies, and regulators to reach 10% solar in the U.S. by 2025.

The study finds that significantly scaling solar power in the U.S. will require the active involvement of utilities. The study delivers a to-do list for the three key stakeholders in the nation’s solar industry. Among others, the action items include:

* For utilities: Take advantage of the unique value of solar for peak generation and alleviating grid congestion; implement solar as part of the build-out of the smart grid; and adapt to new market realities with new business models.

* For solar companies: Bring installed solar systems costs to $3 per peak watt or less by 2018; streamline installations; and make solar a truly plug-and-play technology.

* For regulators and policy makers: Pass a long-term extension of investment and production tax credits for solar and other renewables; establish open standards for solar interconnection; and give utilities the ability to “rate-base” solar.

The USA Study also reports that:

* For the first time solar power is beginning to reach cost parity with conventional energy sources. As solar prices decline and the capital and fuel costs for coal, natural gas, and nuclear plants rise, the U.S. will reach a crossover point by around 2015.

* Installed solar PV prices are projected to decline from an average $5.50-$7.00 peak watt (15-32 cents kWh) today to $3.02-$3.82 peak watt (8-18 cents kWh) in 2015 to $1.43-$1.82 peak watt (4-8 cents kWh) by 2025

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Building-Integrated Photovoltaics Market to Top $4 Billion by 2013: Report

Filed under: none — Tags: , , — Jason @ 3:26 pm

GLEN ALLEN, Va. — The market for building-integrated photovoltaics (BIPV) will exceed $4 billion in revenues by 2013 and surpass $8 billion in 2015, according to a new report from a leading industry analyst firm.

NanoMarkets’ report, “Building Integrated Photovoltaics Markets: 2008,” says that by 2013 there will be an installed capacity of 10.8 gigawatts peak of BIPV of which 4.6 gigawatts peak will come from Europe and 3.7 gigawatts peak will come from the U.S.

About 7 gigawatts peak of total BIPV capacity by 2013 will be from residential applications, and rooftop installations are expected to continue to dominate the market with facade BIPV accounting for 1.1 gigawatts peak in five years, the report said.

The report also anticipates that much of the market growth will be generated by a new generation of BIPV products.

In examining opportunities for BIPV products over the next eight years, the report covers rooftop and facade systems in view of products available today and those under development by leading firms.

NanoMarkets has published several reports related to organic, thin-film and printable electronics materials and applications. Its BIPV report, announced on July 21, is the latest in a series examining the emerging solar energy market.

Renewable Energy Jobs Growing Worldwide: Study

Filed under: none — Tags: , — Jason @ 3:12 pm

OAKLAND, Calif. — Renewable energy accounts for the employment, directly or indirectly, of 2.3 million people worldwide, with the largest gains made where governments support renewables, according to a Worldwatch Institute study.

“It depends very, very strongly on government policy and investment private companies take,” said Michael Renner, Worldwatch researcher and author of the “Jobs in Renewable Energy Expanding” report. “Even in the years up to now, we have clearly seen countries that give consistent, strong support, for example in Europe, in Germany and Spain.”

Using available data, the study estimates there are 1 million biomass and biofuel jobs, 624,000 solar thermal jobs, 300,000 wind jobs and 170,000 solar photovoltaic jobs. Figures include jobs directly in the renewables sector and jobs indirectly related, such as suppliers that provide equipment components.

The data is incomplete due to the fact that one can’t look at traditional economic statistics to see the number of renewables jobs, Renner said.

Using what’s available, the Worldwatch study shows Germany has 259,000 renewables jobs (a figures estimated to grow to 500,000 by 2020), Spain has 89,000 direct and 99,000 indirect jobs, and the United States, due mostly to support from individual states, had 200,000 direct and 246,000 indirect jobs in 2006.

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July 25, 2008

GT Solar International, Inc. Comments on LDK Relationship

Filed under: LDK, SOLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 1:41 pm

Friday July 25, 1:41 pm ET

MERRIMACK, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GT Solar International, Inc. (SOLR) today issued the following statement concerning the announcement by LDK Solar (LDK) that it has signed a contract to purchase JYT multicrystalline and monocrystalline furnaces. According to the announcement, LDK Solar has been granted the exclusive right by JYT to purchase furnaces for the contract period, which extends through 2010.

Bob Woodbury, chief financial officer for GT Solar International, Inc. made the following statement.

“This announcement by LDK does not in any way impact GT Solar’s backlog, nor do we believe it will have any effect on our internal targets or projections. In fact, LDK Solar’s total orders represent less than 20 percent of our current backlog. Moreover, LDK’s furnace orders represent less than eight percent of our current backlog.

“Additionally, GT Solar has and will continue to diversify its customer base. LDK Solar remains an important customer, and we continue to negotiate with them for future equipment needs related to multicrystalline furnaces and silicon reactors.”

EMCORE’s Wins 2008 R&D 100 Award For Inverted Metamorphic Multi-Junction Solar Cell Technology

Filed under: EMKR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 1:31 pm

Friday July 25, 1:31 pm ET

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M., July 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — EMCORE Corporation (EMKR) a leading provider of Semi-conductor-based components and subsystems for the broadband, fiber-optic, satellite and terrestrial solar power markets, announced today that its world record Inverted Metamorphic (IMM) solar cell technology has been chosen by R&D Magazine for an R&D 100 award. This prestigious award recognizes the IMM solar cell as one of the most innovative technologies of 2008.

This revolutionary solar cell technology provides a platform for EMCORE’s next generation photovoltaic products for space and terrestrial solar power applications. Solar cells built using IMM technology recently achieved world record conversion efficiency of 33% used in space, and it is anticipated that efficiency levels in the 42%-45% range will be achieved when adapted for use under the 500-1500X concentrated illumination, typical in terrestrial concentrator photovoltaic (CPV) systems. Once commercialized, the CPV systems that are powered with EMCORE’s IMM based products will see a reduction in the cost of power generated by approximately 10% to 20%. EMCORE expects to commercialize this technology for both space and terrestrial applications in 2009.

Developed in conjunction with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Vehicle Systems Directorate of the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the IMM design is comprised of a novel combination of compound semiconductors that enables a superior response to the solar spectrum as compared to conventional multi-junction architecture. Due to its unique design, the IMM cell is approximately one fifteenth the thickness of the conventional multi-junction solar cell and will enable a new class of extremely lightweight, high-efficiency, and flexible solar arrays for space applications. Furthermore, this technology can be readily integrated into EMCORE’s complete line of CPV receiver products and the increased conversion efficiency will enable the most cost effective CPV systems. EMCORE has developed a strong intellectual property position for this innovative technology, with over 10 patents pending in the area of solar cell design and manufacturing techniques.

David Danzilio, Vice President and General Manager of EMCORE’s Photovoltaics Division stated, “We are pleased that the IMM solar cell platform has been chosen as one of the top technical innovations of 2008. In collaboration with NREL and AFRL, our industry leading scientists and engineers continue to refine and optimize multi-junction solar cell technology to reach higher and higher efficiency performance. This continual investment in our fundamental solar cell technology and production capabilities will support our customer’s needs and enable the next generation of space and terrestrial solar power systems in performance and cost.”

GT Solar down sharply as major client defects

Filed under: SOLR, WFR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 12:20 pm

Fri Jul 25, 2008 12:20pm EDT

NEW YORK, July 25 (Reuters) – Shares of GT Solar International Inc SOLR, an equipment provider to solar energy companies that went public on Thursday, fell as much as 22 percent on Friday on news that one of its major clients had signed a contract with a Chinese competitor.

LDK Solar Co (LDK), which represented 62 percent of GT Solar’s revenue in the fiscal year 2008, said in a statement Friday it had signed a contract with China-based JYT Corp, one of GT Solar’s competitors.

That news put pressure on GT Solar’s prices, said Sal Morreale, who tracks IPOs for Cantor Fitzgerald.

Since debuting on Thursday, GT Solar’s stock has been falling sharply. The company’s shares, which had priced at $16.50, in the middle of the estimate range, fell 11.6 percent in their first day of trading. By midday Friday they were off another 14 percent, at $12.50.

Analysts had ascribed Thursday’s fall to the lower-than-expected earnings reported a day earlier by MEMC Electronic (WFR), a major supplier of silicon wafers to the chip and solar industry, dragging down most solar stocks.

But in Friday morning trading, as MEMC Electronic was up 5 percent, and other solar stocks generally flat, GT Solar shares continued their fall.

A larger problem might lay with the starting price, one analyst said.

“The IPO was overpriced,” said Ted Sullivan, a senior analyst with Lux Research, adding that the pricing gave GT Solar a market capitalization of about $2.5 billion, much higher than that of German competitor Centrotherm Photovoltaics, with a market capitalization of about $1.2 billion.

LDK Signs Contract to Purchase JYT Furnaces

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

Friday July 25, 3:15 am ET

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., July 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, announced today that it has signed a contract to purchase production equipment from China-based JYT Corporation.

Under this contract, LDK Solar will purchase furnaces used in the manufacturing of multicrystalline and monocrystalline ingots for installation in its manufacturing facilities in Xinyu City. With the world’s largest current ingot loading capacity of 800 KG, LDK Solar expects these furnaces to reduce the Company’s electricity consumption and capital expenditures, while increasing production efficiency. Delivery will commence in 2008, and extend through 2010. LDK Solar is granted the exclusive right by JYT in purchasing and using this new equipment for the contract period. With this additional equipment, LDK Solar expects to reach 3.2 GW of annualized wafer capacity in 2010.

“We are pleased to establish a relationship with JYT,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “Our testing of their equipment yielded high quality ingots. By utilizing their cost efficient furnaces, we expect to lower our manufacturing expenses while expanding our wafer capacity.”

“We feel very excited to receive this large order from LDK Solar,” said Mr. Huanpei Feng, Chairman of the Board and CEO of JYT. “The partnership with LDK Solar is an important step toward our goal of becoming a world-class photovoltaic and semiconductor equipment manufacturer. We are determined to provide the best products and services to our customers.”

July 24, 2008

MEMC Electronic Materials shares hit 52-week low

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 7:16 pm

Thursday July 24, 7:16 pm ET

MEMC Electronic Materials falls to annual low after earnings miss and lower guidance

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR) sank to a 52-week low Thursday, after the silicon wafer maker’s second-quarter results missed Wall Street forecasts and the company issued a cautious outlook for the third quarter.

MEMC shares fell $11.57, or 21.5 percent, to close at $42.23 Thursday after sinking to an annual low of $41.58 in earlier trading.

After the close of trading Wednesday, MEMC reported income, without one-time items, of 92 cents per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial forecast earnings of $1 a share on average.

MEMC trimmed its 2008 earnings guidance to a range of $4 to $4.30 per share from $4.50 to $4.60 per share.

Despite the sell-off, Kaufman Brothers analyst Theodore O’Neill kept his “Buy” rating on MEMC with an $80 price target.

“The shares of MEMC are periodically loved and unloved and this, we believe, is due generally to management’s lack of transparency,” he wrote in a note to investors. “Nonetheless, we recommend these shares here, where they are well off the peak.”

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