North Coast Solar Stocks

August 29, 2008

Energy Conversion target raised

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , — Jason @ 9:15 am

Friday August 29, 9:15 am ET

Analyst raises target on Energy Conversion following better-than-expected 4th-qtr earnings

NEW YORK (AP) — Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ENER) will continue to see strong earnings growth in the coming years, an analyst said Friday, boosting his price target on the maker of solar energy products.

Jefferies & Co.’s Paul Clegg raised his target on the Rochester Hills, Mich., company 68 percent, to $96 from $57. He also lifted his earnings forecast for 2009 and offered a 2010 forecast ahead of Wall Street estimates.

The new price target implies he expects the stock to gain 25 percent over Thursday’s close of $76.55. Clegg reiterated his “Buy” rating on the stock, which has more than doubled since the start of the year.

Energy Conversion, which reported a better-than-expected fourth-quarter profit on Thursday, should continue to see strong earnings growth in the coming years largely due to higher gross margins, Clegg wrote in a note to investors.

Separately, Cowen & Co.’s Robert Stone called the quarterly results a “solid beat” in a report, and said the company’s guidance appeared “conservative.”

“Energy Conversion has consistently beaten gross margin targets for several quarters,” he wrote.

Advertisements

LDK Signs Seven-Year Wafer Supply Agreement With Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd.

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

Friday August 29, 3:15 am ET

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Aug. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd (“LDK Solar”)(LDK), a leading manufacturer of solar wafers, today announced that it has signed a seven-year 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 approximately 440 MW of multicrystalline silicon solar wafers to Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd over a seven-year period, commencing in 2009 and extending through 2015. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd will make a down payment representing a portion of the contract value to LDK Solar.

“We are pleased to have entered into an additional agreement with Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., Ltd. and build upon our partnership,” stated Mr. Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “We continue to support HHI as they expand their presence in the solar markets.”

“As we continue to grow our solar business and meet the growing demand for our products in Korea and globally, we are excited to strengthen our long-term wafer supply pipeline by reaching this agreement to secure additional high-quality wafers from LDK Solar,” commented Kwon-Tae Kim, HHI’s Executive Vice President.

August 28, 2008

Analyst upbeat on solar companies

Filed under: CSUN, ENER, ESLR, FSLR, HOKU, SPWR, STP, TSL — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:13 pm

Thursday August 28, 4:13 pm ET

Analyst sees balanced market in ’09 for solar companies, says pricing worries overstated

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Shares of several solar power companies mostly rose with the broader market Thursday as a Cowen & Co. analyst set an “Outperform” rating for some companies in the sector and said worries about declining module average selling prices have been overstated.

“We expect end market diversification, enhanced U.S. subsidies, rapid growth in Italy and France, and emergence of new regions such as the Middle East,” Robert W. Stone said in a report issued Thursday.

Stone said he expects module average selling price declines of 10 percent to 15 percent in 2009 and that supply and demand for global photovoltaics should be balanced.

The report said demand is expected to grow from 6 gigawatts in 2008 to 14 gigawatts in 2010. Stone said he assumed an increased Democratic majority in Congress that will pass a multiyear investment tax credit with higher residential credits and utility participation. State programs also will become important.

“Lower prices and improved supply should drive German expansion and renewed Japanese growth. Italy appears close to grid parity, while Middle Eastern countries could deploy PV to preserve valuable hydrocarbons for export,” he said.

Stone gave an “Outperform” rating to SunPower Corp. (SPWR); Evergreen Solar Inc. (ESLR); First Solar Inc. (FSLR); SunTech Power Holdings Co. (STP); Trina Solar (TSL); Hoku Scientific Inc. (HOKU); China Sunergy Co. (CSUN); and Energy Conversion Devices (ENER).

SunPower shares rose $3.52, or 3.8 percent, to close at $96.96, while Evergreen Solar added 17 cents to $9.48. SunTech Power climbed $1.29, or 2.9 percent, to $46.50, and Trina Solar rose 73 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $32.45.

Hoku shares lost a penny to end at $5.95. Also finishing down a penny was China Sunergy, at $11.37.

Energy Conversion Devices lost $1.79, or 2.3 percent, to $76.55 after the company announced its fiscal fourth-quarter results.

Silicon rally

Filed under: TSL — Tags: , , — Jason @ 2:20 pm

Aug 28th 2008
From The Economist print edition

One shortage in the solar-panel business gives way to another

FOR 40 years or so, the price of solar panels fell steadily, as volumes grew and technology improved. But in 2004 Germany enormously increased subsidies for solar power, prompting a surge in demand. The supply of pure silicon, the main component of most solar cells, did not keep pace. Its price rose from $25 a kilogram in 2003 to as much as $250 this year, abruptly halting the downward march in the price of panels. If making energy from sunlight is ever to become as cheap as burning fossil fuels, the price of silicon will have to fall.

Happily, it seems likely to do so soon. Silicon producers, whose biggest customers were always chipmakers, have been slow to cater to the solar industry. They were scarred by the memory of the technology bust of 2001, which had weighed them down with excess capacity, and so delayed expansion—despite the boom in solar. Moreover, it takes three years or so to get a new plant going, so new silicon supplies are only just beginning to materialise.

New Energy Finance, a research firm, expects the output of silicon for the solar industry almost to double next year. It has asked big buyers and sellers what prices they have agreed on this year for silicon to be delivered in the future. The responses suggest that participants in the industry expect prices to fall by more than 40% next year, and over 70% by 2015 (see chart).

Other analysts are more cautious. HSBC, an investment bank, expects shortages to last throughout 2009. Cyrus Mewawalla of Westhall Capital, a broker, notes that predictions of silicon prices were notoriously unreliable even when chipmakers were the sole customers; the rise of the solar industry adds another variable.

One source of uncertainty is demand. This may be softer than expected because of cuts in subsidies for solar power in Germany and Spain, and because of the looming expiry of a big tax-break in America. The chief source of uncertainty, though, is on the supply side—in particular, the troubled outlook for a host of planned new plants in Asia. Most observers expect that some of these will never materialise, others will take longer than scheduled to build and many will be less efficient than their backers claim. Earlier this year Trina Solar (TSL), a Chinese firm, abandoned plans for a big new silicon plant. Although more setbacks of this kind would slow the price’s fall in the short run, says Jenny Chase of New Energy Finance, the construction of a few less efficient, higher-cost plants will eventually create a tier of marginal producers, and so temper future price swings.

Yet even if the silicon price falls, other bottlenecks may well appear. The first step in making solar cells is to shape silicon into ingots and then slice it into wafers. Ingot- and wafer-makers hope a surge in the silicon supply will expose a lack of capacity in their fields. Others wonder whether there will be enough of the specialist chemicals that coat cells. HSBC predicts that the solar industry will grow by 45% a year until 2012. Such searing expansion is bound to cause more growing pains.

Energy Conversion Devices Reports Net Income of $0.24 Per Share on Revenues of $82 Million for Fourth Quarter of Fiscal 2008

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

Thursday August 28, 7:00 am ET

– Operating Profitability Achieved in Second Half, Solar Gross Margin Sustained at 30+ Percent
– World’s Largest 12MW Solar Rooftop Installation Confirms Leadership in BIPV/Rooftop Market
– Sales Pipeline Grows 50% to $1.8 Billion

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (ENER), the leading global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets, today announced financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended June 30, 2008.

Total consolidated revenues for the quarter were $82.4 million, up 18 percent from third quarter revenues of $70.0 million, and 129 percent higher than fourth quarter fiscal 2007 revenues of $36.0 million. Solar product sales were $77 million, a 19 percent sequential increase and a 161 percent increase over the prior-year quarter.

Net income for the fourth quarter was $9.9 million, or $0.24 per share, compared to net income of $7.0 million, or $0.17 per share, in the third quarter of fiscal 2008, and a net loss of $13.1 million, or $0.33 per share, in the year-ago period.

Gross margin on product sales in the solar business was 33.5 percent in the fourth quarter, compared with 30.7 percent in the third quarter. United Solar Ovonic produced 26.2 MWs in the fourth quarter and 73.6 MWs for the fiscal year. As of June 30, 2008, the solar product sales pipeline was $1.8 billion, as compared to $1.2 billion at the end of the fiscal third quarter.

Mark Morelli, ECD’s president and chief executive officer, said, “During fiscal 2008, we focused on operational excellence, and successfully built a strong foundation for sustained long-term growth. For example, fourth quarter solar gross margin improved to 33.5 percent compared with 15.8 percent last year. SG&A as a percent of revenue in the fourth quarter declined to 16.9 percent from 30.8 percent a year ago. As a result, we achieved profitability from operations for the second half of fiscal 2008.”

(more…)

August 27, 2008

Solarfun shares fall on expected 2009 price drop

Filed under: SOLF — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:40 pm

Wednesday August 27, 4:40 pm ET
By Dirk Lammers, AP Business Writer

Shares of Chinese solar cell maker Solarfun fall on lower expected prices for 2009

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Shares of Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (SOLF) dropped Wednesday after the Chinese solar cell maker warned that the average selling price of its photovoltaic modules could fall in 2009.

Shares fell $2.61, or 14 percent, to $16.33.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Sanjay Shrestha is maintaining a “Hold” rating on the stock, saying it is fairly valued at current levels considering the near-term uncertainty surrounding polysilicon sourcing and margin performance.

“We believe that management is taking the necessary steps to position the company for longer-term success through capacity ramp, silicon sourcing, and focus on technological enhancements to reduce cost,” Shrestha wrote in a client note. “However, the company still lacks scale compared with other larger players.”

Solarfun on Wednesday reported earnings of $11.4 million, or 23 cents per share, for the second quarter of 2007, nearly tripling from the year-ago period and beating the average expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters by a penny per share. The company increased revenue during the quarter by 12.7 percent to $197.1 million.

But Solarfun said it expects average selling prices, which have been strong so far this year, to decline 5 percent to 10 percent from expected fiscal 2008 prices.

Its average selling price during the second quarter of 2008 improved to $4.17 per watt from $4.07 per watt in the first quarter, the company said.

Citing strong demand, Solarfun raised its guidance for 2008 shipments to a range of 175 megawatts to 190 megawatts, up from a previous estimate of 160 megawatts to 180 megawatts. It expects total shipments for 2009 to come in about 50 percent higher than its revised 2008 estimate.

“Although near-term supply constraints and higher costs persist, we see visibility for better conditions beginning in the fourth quarter of this year and further improvements throughout 2009,” Harold Hoskens, Solarfun’s chief executive, said in a statement.

Thin-film solar startup scores a fat $300 million

Filed under: EIX, ENER, FSLR, PCG, SPWR, SRE — Tags: , , — Jason @ 3:44 pm

by Todd Woody
GreenWombat – Fortune.com

The looming expiration of a crucial renewable energy investment tax credit doesn’t seem to have spooked investors. Silicon Valley thin-film solar startup Nanosolar said Wednesday that it has secured another $300 million in funding and is jumping into the Big Solar game as well.

Writing on the Nanosolar blog, CEO Martin Roscheisen said that the latest financing round – the company’s funding now totals half a billion dollars – comes from oldline utility AES (AES), French utility giant EDF and the Carlyle Group, among other investors. Nanosolar, which prints solar cells on flexible materials, will supply solar panels to the newly formed AES Solar, which will build medium-scale – up to 50 megawatts – photovoltaic power plants.

The Nanosolar news is just the latest of a spate of deals to take solar panels off rooftops and plant them on the ground to generate massive megawattage. Two weeks ago, thin-film solar startup Optisolar won a contract from utility PG&E (PCG) for a 550-megawatt PV solar power plant while SunPower (SPWR) will build a 250-megawatt photovoltaic solar farm for the utility. Leading thin-film company First Solar (FSLR), meanwhile, has inked deals over the past few months to build smaller-scale PV power plants for Southern California Edison (EIX) and Sempre (SRE). And thin-film solar company Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) is assembling a 12-megawatt array for a General Motors plant in Spain.

Suntech Signs Polysilicon and Wafer Supply Agreements with GCL Silicon

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , — Jason @ 9:20 am

Wednesday August 27, 9:20 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, Aug. 27 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), one of the world’s leading manufacturers of photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules, today announced it has signed new supply agreements with GCL Silicon Technology Holdings Inc (“GCL Silicon”). Under the terms of the supply agreements, GCL Silicon will supply Suntech with 9,420 MT of polysilicon and 1.1 GW of silicon wafers from 2008 to 2012.

“These agreements with GCL Silicon will greatly strengthen our silicon pipeline and support our capacity and production expansion over the next five years,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi. “With steep declining cost curves, these agreements are in line with our strategy to quickly reach grid parity and extend our position as a leading global provider of solar products.” With the addition of these agreements, Suntech has now secured approximately 1GW of silicon for 2009.

Hunter Jiang, President of GCL Silicon, said, “GCL Silicon is pleased to become a polysilicon and wafer supplier to Suntech. We view Suntech as an important strategic partner and a leading solar cell and module manufacturer. We look forward to developing a close relationship with them and are committed to expanding our polysilicon and wafer production capacity to meet the growing demands of customers such as Suntech.”

Suntech recently signed over 200MW of fixed price, fixed volume sales contracts for 2009 and targets to finalize approximately 500MW of additional sales contracts by the end of September 2008. Dr. Shi added, “The demand for solar energy has continually exceeded expectations and we are confident that this trend will continue as more and more people recognize the benefits of this clean and renewable energy.”

About GCL Silicon

GCL Silicon Technology Holdings Inc. (GCL Silicon) supplies polysilicon and wafers to companies operating in the solar industry. The company currently operates a polysilicon production facility in Xuzhou, Jiangsu Province in China.

Solarfun Reports Second Quarter 2008 Results

Filed under: SOLF — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 7:48 am

Wednesday August 27, 7:48 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 reported its unaudited financial results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2008.

2008 SECOND QUARTER RESULTS

* Net revenue was RMB 1.35 billion (US$ 197.1 million), an increase of 12.7% from the first quarter of 2008, and 192.2% from the second quarter of 2007.
* PV module shipments reached 43.1 MW, an increase of 162% from the second quarter of 2007. Solarfun also shipped 5 MW of cells with specification levels that are different than the Company’s mainstream business.
* Average selling price (“ASP”) improved to US$4.17 from US$4.07 in the first quarter of 2008. Business in Europe remained robust, with Germany, Spain and France accounting for 56%, 33% and 5% of net revenues, respectively.
* Gross profit was RMB 185.6 million (US$ 27.1 million), an increase of 163.7% from the second quarter of 2007.
* Gross margin decreased to 13.7% from 15.8% in the first quarter of 2008. The figure was in line with the Company’s guidance and was primarily due to higher polysilicon and wafer costs.
* Operating profit was RMB 116.4 million (US$ 17.0 million), an increase of 306.6% from the second quarter of 2007. Operating margins decreased to 8.6% from 11.8% in the first quarter of 2008 as the Company returned to more normal levels of spending to support growth, including a nearly RMB 2.9 million sequential increase in research and development expenses.
* Interest expense rose over RMB 25.5 million (US$ 3.7 million) from the second quarter of 2007 to RMB 28.1 million (US$ 4.1 million) due to increased bank borrowings and the Company’s convertible senior notes offering earlier in the year.
* Currency gain was RMB 4.1 million (US$ 0.6 million) as a result of the appreciation of the RMB relative to the U.S. dollar.
* Net income was RMB 78.1 million (US$ 11.4 million), a 285.2% increase over the second quarter of 2007.
* Earnings per basic ADS were RMB 1.62 (US$ 0.24).

Harold Hoskens, CEO of Solarfun, noted “We are pleased with the progress achieved during the second quarter as we continued to see healthy demand and firm pricing. The tight supply and higher costs for polysilicon and wafers constrained both our top and bottom line growth, and our gross margins. This is a temporary situation with visibility improving on both measures during the second half of 2008, most notably during the fourth quarter. A number of important initiatives were completed following the close of the quarter which position us for continued growth going forward.”

(more…)

Solarfun Signs Letter of Intent for Three Year Supply Agreement with Q-Cells

Filed under: SOLF — Tags: , , — Jason @ 5:42 am

Wednesday August 27, 5:42 am ET

SHANGHAI, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd ( “Solarfun” ) (SOLF), an established vertically-integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots and photovoltaic (“PV”) cells and modules in China, today announced that it has entered into a letter-of-intent for a three-year supply agreement with Q-Cells International, a 100% subsidiary of Q-Cells AG (“Q-Cells”), the world’s largest independent manufacturer of solar cells.

Under the letter of intent, Q-Cells International intends to purchase from Solarfun a minimum of 100 MW of PV modules per annum using PV cells supplied by Q-Cells from 2009 through 2011. The modules shall be delivered according to Q-Cells design and specifications and used to serve Q-Cells International’s rapidly growing systems businesses’ requirements. In addition, both parties intend to complete an agreement whereby the companies will cooperate to further enhance the development of highly efficient and low cost PV solar modules.

Anton Milner, CEO of Q-Cells stated, “We are very pleased to establish this relationship with Solarfun which will support our growing needs for the rapidly expanding activities in Q-Cells International, in this case primarily outside of Europe. We aim to combine our high efficiency cells and Solarfun’s competitive, flexible and high quality manufacturing base for solar modules to create high efficiency and cost effective module solutions for these systems. We believe that close cooperation between the two parties will provide each with opportunities to grow and compete effectively in the burgeoning field of renewable solar energy.”

Solarfun CEO Harold Hoskens commented, “We believe this relationship is beneficial to both parties and provides a platform for further areas of cooperation. We are pleased that Q-Cells intends to choose us as a major module supplier with this sizeable commitment. Upon the expected entry into the contract, it will allow us to build additional scale, and leverage and enhance our corporate structure. We look forward to building further areas of cooperation and sharing process, product and application technology that could benefit both parties.”

August 26, 2008

Japan Players Bet Big on Emerging Thin-film Solar

Filed under: none — Tags: , — Jason @ 9:49 pm

by Dr. Paula Doe, Contributing Editor, Solid-State Technology

While startups attract the clean tech venture capital millions in the U.S. for new kinds of thin-film solar technologies, some big established players in Japan are also putting significant money into major new efforts to move these emerging technologies into volume production in the next few years.

Mitsubishi Chemical Corp. is starting a big “Project PV,” focusing on small-molecule organics solution coated on flexible substrates. Sanyo Electric Co. Ltd. is putting US $70M into microcrystalline thin-film technology at its new Advanced Photovoltaics Development Center. The directors of both projects recently briefed SST partner Nikkei Microdevices on the details.

Mitsubishi Chemical already sells some US $18M/year worth of materials to the solar industry, and figures this will grow to a US $90M business by 2010. But it sees a bigger opportunity in putting this materials expertise to work in making the cells itself — targeting thin, light, flexible solar cells for portable applications that can be made cheaply with a roll-to-roll process. Right now there’s little or no competition in this field from established product, and where required lifetimes are only in the more attainable 10-year range.

“Solar cells are electronics with chemistry, so they’re a natural market for a chemical company like us to target aggressively,” said Mitsubishi Chemical PV Project director Tokitaro Hoshijima.

(more…)

GT Solar posts quarterly profit, shares rise

Filed under: LDK, SOLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:56 pm

Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:56pm EDT

LOS ANGELES, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Solar equipment maker GT Solar International Inc (SOLR) reported a quarterly profit on Tuesday due to soaring revenue and increased profit margins, reversing a year-ago loss.

The company’s shares, which have been hit hard since going public last month, rose 4.5 percent following the announcement.

First-quarter net income was $5.1 million, or 3 cents per share, compared with a loss of $5 million, or 4 cents per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose to $57.1 million from $15.4 million last year.

Gross margin for the quarter was 42.6 percent, up from 34.7 percent a year ago.

“Our backlog remains strong and we continue to see a robust order pipeline,” Chief Executive Tom Zarrella said in a statement.

For the second quarter, GT Solar expects earnings of 12 cents to 15 cents a share on revenue of $120 million to $130 million.

Full-year earnings are forecast to be between 70 cents and 75 cents a share on revenue of $600 million to $650 million.

GT Solar shares rose to $14.70 after closing at $14.07 on Nasdaq. The stock made its debut at $16.50 on July 24, but has traded below that level since its IPO.

The company faces shareholder lawsuits related to the IPO.

Investors have shunned solar stocks this year due to concerns about cuts to or elimination of government subsidies in Spain and the United States and a weakening global economy that could hamper demand for renewable energy sources.

In addition, GT Solar shares were hurt when one of its major clients, LDK Solar Co Ltd (LDK), said it signed a contract with a Chinese competitor. GT Solar has said the contract would have no impact on its business and LDK said earlier this month that GT Solar was still an important supplier.

GT Solar International, Inc. Reports Fiscal Year 2009 First Quarter Results

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

Tuesday August 26, 4:05 pm ET

Highlights
— Revenue for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009 grew to $57.1 million, up 272% from the prior year first quarter revenue
— Gross margin for the quarter was 42.6%
— Net income for first quarter of fiscal year 2009 was $5.1 million, compared to a loss of $5.0 million for the prior year first quarter
— Earnings per share for first quarter of fiscal year 2009 was $0.03, compared to a loss of $0.04 for the same quarter of fiscal year 2008
— Company completed its initial public offering (“IPO”) and listing on NASDAQ on July 24th, 2008

MERRIMACK, N.H.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–GT Solar International, Inc. (SOLR) (“GT Solar”) today reported results for its fiscal year 2009 first quarter ended June 28, 2008.

Revenues for the first quarter of fiscal year 2009 increased 272% to $57.1 million, from $15.4 million during the same quarter of fiscal year 2008. The increase resulted primarily from growth in revenue from the sale of the DSS 450, its recently introduced multi-crystalline product.

Gross profit increased to $24.3 million or 42.6% of sales, compared to $5.3 million, or 34.7% of revenue in the first quarter of 2008. GT Solar had net income of $5.1 million in the first quarter of fiscal year 2009 versus a net loss of $5.0 million for the same period of fiscal year 2008. Included in the results were $1.4 million in costs related to GT Solar’s IPO. Earnings per diluted share were $0.03 in first quarter of fiscal year 2009 versus a loss of $0.04 per diluted share for the same quarter a year earlier.

President and CEO Tom Zarrella noted, “We are pleased with the results for our first quarter of fiscal 2009 for several reasons. We were able to manage dynamic growth while achieving both gross and operating margins at record high levels. Additionally we increased our investment in R&D and approached completion of our previously announced factory expansion. Our backlog remains strong and we continue to see a robust order pipeline in both of our major product areas. Our balance sheet and cash flow provide us with more than ample capital to fuel our growth objectives.”

(more…)

Solar Power Showcased at Democratic National Convention

Filed under: ESLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:12 am

Tuesday August 26, 11:12 am ET

18.2 kilowatt solar installation will help offset power used during four-day event at Pepsi Center in Denver

DENVER–(BUSINESS WIRE)–An 18.2 kilowatt solar power system has been installed on the grounds of the Pepsi Center, home of the 2008 Democratic National Convention, it was announced today by AeonSolar, Evergreen Solar (ESLR) and PV Powered, each of which was involved in the system installation. The goal of incorporating solar energy into the DNC is to highlight the importance of solar energy and its potential to help meet the nation’s energy needs while addressing concerns about the environment and global warming. The solar installation is part of the DNC’s commitment to build the most environmentally sustainable Democratic Convention in history.

The solar system, which is housed in the Pepsi Center parking lot, demonstrates to the public a typical photovoltaic (PV) system that can power approximately three-to-four American homes. The energy produced by the installation will be put back into the local power grid to help offset some of the power used throughout the DNC.

“Thanks to the dedication and collaboration of AeonSolar, Evergreen Solar, PV Powered, IBEW, Turner Construction and the DNCC, we have been able to provide clean, renewable solar power to the Pepsi Center and raise awareness on renewable sources of energy to those attending the Democratic National Convention,” said Andrea Robinson, Director of Sustainability & Greening, Democratic National Convention Committee.

AeonSolar, a commercial and residential solar installer, oversaw the system design and installation. The panels for the installation were supplied by Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar, a manufacturer of STRING RIBBON™ solar panels. Evergreen uses proprietary technology that requires significantly less silicon resulting in the smallest carbon footprint of any solar panel. The project’s grid-tied inverter is provided by PV Powered, a leading U.S. manufacturer focused on dramatically improving the reliability and installability of solar inverters.

All of the companies working with the solar project are U.S. based and currently involved in helping solve the nation’s dependence on foreign energy source and increasing the use of renewable energy nationwide.

(more…)

August 25, 2008

LDK climbs as sales outlook beats analyst views

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 1:20 pm

Monday August 25, 1:20 pm ET

LDK Solar shares rise after company issues 2009 revenue outlook ahead of analyst expectations

NEW YORK (AP) — LDK Solar Co. (LDK) shares jumped Monday after the China-based solar wafer maker predicted 2009 revenue above analysts’ expectations, saying it has attained its goal of increasing wafer production capacity ahead of schedule.

LDK American Depositary Shares rose $3.20, or 7 percent, to $49.02 in afternoon trading. In the past year, the stock has traded between $19.64 and $76.75.

LDK expects $2.8 billion to $3 billion in annual revenue; analysts polled by Thomson Reuters have forecast $2.43 billion in revenue.

The company said it attained a goal of shipping 1.0 gigawatts ahead of schedule, and predicted it will ship 1.45 gigawatts to 1.55 gigawatts of wafer shipments in 2009.

LDK makes multicrystalline silicon solar wafers, which are the main raw material used to make solar cells.

In a note to investors, ThinkPanmure LLC analyst Peter Peng said he is “confident in LDK’s expansion plans” after visiting the company’s new supplier of multicrystalline casting furnaces, JYT Corp.

Peng said JYT’s 800 kg multicrystalline furnace “is one of the first in the industry and could improve yield, while saving production costs.”

He also visited Tangshan Silicon, which could be a competitor for LDK in polysilicon production, but said LDK “could actually benefit by actively participating in new technologies.”

Peng rates the shares “Buy” with a $55 price target.

Trina Solar Signs Supplemental Agreement to the Long Term Supply Agreement with GCL Silicon Technology

Filed under: TSL — Tags: , , — Jason @ 9:25 am

Monday August 25, 9:25 am ET

CHANGZHOU, China, Aug. 25 /Xinhua-PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL; ”Trina Solar” or the ”Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, founded in 1997, today announced that its subsidiary, Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd., has signed a supplemental agreement to the long-term polysilicon supply agreement with a subsidiary of GCL Silicon Technology Holdings Inc. (collectively, ”GCL Silicon Technology”).

Together with the original supply agreement announced in April of this year, GCL Silicon Technology will supply Trina Solar with virgin polysilicon and wafers sufficient to produce approximately 4,825 MW of solar modules in aggregate over eight years. Delivery of polysilicon at predetermined prices started in April of 2008.

”This supplemental agreement greatly extends our advantage in securing high quality polysilicon feedstock at predetermined prices to support our long-term sales growth. Combined with our other long-term agreements and increased manufacturing efficiencies, we remain confident in our abilities to expand our margins in the long term as the cost of solar energy approaches grid parity levels,” said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.

”Further, the supplemental agreement’s inclusion of significant wafer quantities, starting in 2010, reflects a significant revision to our capacity expansion strategy, whereby future expansion will involve increased cell and module capacity additions relative to those for ingot and wafer. We believe that this flexible strategy will offer increased output of solar modules to achieve better market penetration under our increasingly recognized brand. This will also allow us to place our technology improvement emphasis on cell and module value areas to further strengthen our brand. For 2009, we intend to leverage on this dynamic strategy to efficiently extend our capacity growth to approximately 700MW for cell and module areas, while expanding ingot and wafer production capacities to approximately 500MW.”

”Trina Solar is an important strategic customer and we are encouraged by their progress made so far,” said Hunter Jiang, CEO of GCL Silicon Technology. “GCL Silicon Technology remains committed to expand its production capacity to meet the growing demand from customers such as Trina Solar.”

This supplemental supply agreement will further increase the Company’s raw material supplies and enhance its cost structure, and therefore strengthen its position as a leading global PV manufacturer. After signing this supplemental agreement and together with other polysilicon supply agreements, the Company has now secured approximately 95% of its estimated silicon feedstock requirements for 2008, an equivalent of approximately 204 MW based on a production target of 210 to 220 MW of module output. The Company has also secured sufficient feedstock through its long term contracts to produce approximately 380 MW of solar modules in 2009.

August 22, 2008

China Sunergy swings to 2Q profit; shares rise

Filed under: CSUN — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 9:42 am

Friday August 22, 9:42 am ET

China Sunergy swings to 2nd-quarter profit on stronger sales of solar cells; shares climb

NEW YORK (AP) — China Sunergy Co. (CSUN) said Friday that it swung to a profit in the second quarter on higher revenues from solar cells.

The solar-power product maker said its net profit was $3.1 million, or 8 cents per share, compared with a net loss of $3.5 million, or 14 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the quarter was $111.6 million, nearly double the $56.2 million posted in the same quarter of 2007. Solar cell sales rose 160 percent to $104.4 million.

China Sunergy’s results beat Wall Street expectations. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected a profit of 3 cents per share on revenue of $94.7 million.

“The important steps we have taken over the past year to improve operational efficiency and develop market-leading products are beginning to show genuine improvements to our bottom line,” Chief Executive Allen Wang said in a statement.

China Sunergy still faces challenges in the second half of the year, mainly higher costs for polysilicon solar cell wafers and wafer quality, Wang said. The company expects wafer costs to start declining toward the end of 2008 and into next year.

In morning trading, the company’s shares rose $1.02, or 10.3 percent, to $10.95. The stock has ranged from $4.83 to $19.23 over the past year.

Yingli Green Energy Announces Plans to Construct a Solar Power Plant in Beijing, China

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 6:55 am

Friday August 22, 6:55 am ET

BAODING, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE) (“Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced that it has entered into a framework agreement with the local government of a county in Beijing regarding the proposed construction of a 10 MW solar power plant.

Under the framework agreement, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Yingli Green Energy and an entity controlled by the county government would establish a new company to construct the plant. Subject to further negotiations, the construction of the project would be expected to begin in the second half of 2009. In addition to further negotiations, governmental approvals relating to, among other things, project planning, connection to the electricity transmission grid and the feed-in tariff are expected to be required and therefore no assurance can be given that the project will proceed as currently contemplated or at all.

“We are excited about this opportunity to construct an on-grid solar power plant in Beijing, which would be the first solar power plant we construct and operate,” commented Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “We believe our participation in this project is in line with our strategy of expanding into downstream applications of PV technology and will further strengthen our vertical integration business model.”

China Sunergy Announces Financial Results for the Second Quarter 2008

Filed under: CSUN — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 6:30 am

Friday August 22, 6:30 am ET

Second Quarter Revenues of US$111.6 million, up 44.9% from the Previous Quarter; Shipments Amounting to 35.0MW; Net income US$3.1million; Net Operating Cash Inflow of US$27.4 million

NANJING, China, Aug. 22 /Xinhua-PRNewswire/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), (“China Sunergy” or the “Company”) a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, announced today its financial results for the second quarter of 2008.

Second Quarter Financial Results
— Revenues were US$111.6 million, representing a 98.6% and 44.9% increase compared to the second quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, respectively; revenues generated from solar cell sales were US$104.4 million, representing a 160.2% and 39.3% increase compared to the second quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, respectively.

— Gross profit was US$11.6 million compared to US$2.8 million and US$7.1 million during the second quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, respectively. Gross margin was 10.4%, compared to 4.9% and 9.2% during the second quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, respectively.

— Quarterly net income was US$3.1 million, compared to net loss of US$3.5 million and a net income of US$0.5 million in the second quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, respectively.

— Basic and diluted net earnings attributable to holders of ordinary shares were US$0.08 per ADS compared to a net loss of US$0.14 and a net income of US$0.01 per ADS in the second quarter of 2007 and the first quarter of 2008, respectively.

Commenting on the financial results, Dr. Allen Wang, CEO of China Sunergy, said: “I am pleased to report another quarter during which we have grown revenues, improved margins and strengthened our balance sheet. The important steps we have taken over the past year to improve operational efficiency and develop market leading products are beginning to show genuine improvements to our bottom line and this gives me confidence that we are better positioned than ever for future growth.”

(more…)

August 21, 2008

Solar ETFs Warm Up As Oil Prices Recover

Filed under: GEX, KWT, LDK, PBW, PUW, QCLN, SPWR, STP, TAN — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 6:28 pm

Thursday August 21, 6:28 pm ET
Trang Ho

Solar energy ETFs heated up this week as companies beat Wall Street earnings estimates, and oil prices climbed higher.

So far this week, Claymore/MAC Global Solar Index (TAN) rose 6.7% to 25.73. But it hangs 16% below its high.

Market Vectors Solar Energy (KWT) rose 7.3% to 39.31 and trades 13% below its high. They both cleared their 10-week averages for the first time in two months. They debuted in April with similar holdings and since have formed similar chart patterns. The former owns a slightly higher Relative Strength Rating of 60 vs. 54 for the latter.

Market Vectors-Global Alternative Energy (GEX) has the highest RS Rating among alternative energy ETFs. It rose 6.1% this week to 52.01 and cleared both its 50-day and 200-day moving averages.

First Trust Nasdaq Clean Edge U.S. (QCLN), PowerShares WilderHill Progressive Energy (PUW) and PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy (PBW) are trading far below their long-term averages and so their charts still look bearish. They’ve trended in a sideways range since the beginning of July.

Strong Global Demand

Suntech Power (STP), a major holding in all of these except the WilderHill ETF, blasted 19% in two days to 44.70 in heavy volume. The Chinese solar cell maker increased earnings 41% from the year-ago period to 41 cents a share, 28% above estimates. Sales jumped 51% to $480 million. Earnings popped 48% to 75% the three prior quarters. Sales leaped 76% to 137% over those periods.

(more…)

Honda Considers Exporting Home-Use Solar Panels

Filed under: none — Tags: , , — Jason @ 5:25 pm

JAPAN: August 21, 2008

TOKYO – Honda Motor Co Japan’s second-biggest auto maker, said on Wednesday it is considering exporting solar cells as it plans to expand the annual capacity of a solar cell factory to 27.5 mega watts by the year-end.

Production of solar panels is part of the company’s drive towards a home-use energy business. Honda has not yet decided export details, spokesman Hideto Maehara said.

Unlike conventional solar cells made from silicon, Honda uses copper, indium, gallium and selenium, and the production process requires less energy and emits less carbon dioxide, he said.

While testing fuel cell-powered vehicles, Honda is also aiming to use solar cells as an energy source in a test project in the United States for next-generation gas stations for hydrogen made from water to power such vehicles, he said.

Honda Soltec Co, a wholly owned subsidiary based in Kumamoto prefecture, southern Japan, started producing solar panels in October 2007 and has so far sold panels for some 100 domestic households for slightly less than 2 million yen (US$18,200), each with capacity of about 3 kilo watts.

Suntech shares jump for second straight day

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:32 pm

Thursday August 21, 12:32 pm ET
By Dirk Lammers, AP Business Writer

Shares of Chinese solar cell maker Suntech jump for 2nd straight day on strong global demand

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Shares of solar cell maker Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. jumped for the second straight day Thursday, fueled by the Chinese company’s plans to expand solar photovoltaic capacity amid strong global demand.

Suntech shares rose $1.81, or 4.3 percent, to $43.56 in midday trading after gaining $2.50, or 6.4 percent, the previous day.

Merriman Curhan Ford analyst Brion D. Tanous reiterated his “Buy” rating and raised his 2008 revenue estimate to $2.15 billion from $2.02 billion and his per-share profit estimate by 12 cents to $1.76. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect, on average, a profit of $1.58 per share on $2.06 billion in sales.

Tanous said in a client note that Suntech has positioned itself into all of the major solar photovoltaic markets, and he anticipates Italy and France to be strong regions in 2009.

“We believe Suntech, with its expansion, should become the largest solar photovoltaic module producer in the world,” Tanous said in the note.

Suntech, which is based in Wuxi, China, on Wednesday reported a 58 percent jump in second-quarter earnings and raised its 2008 revenue forecast to a range of $2.05 billion to $2.15 billion.

Suntech said it expects to ship solar modules totaling about 550 megawatts of power this year. Its production capacity increased to 660 megawatts during the quarter — up 120 megawatts over the last three months — and the company plans to reach 1 gigawatt in capacity by the end of the year.

Jefferies & Co. analyst Paul Clegg reiterated his “Buy” rating on Suntech and raised his target price by $3 to $70.

“In our view, STP is poised to grow EPS rapidly and to sustain margins against potential rapid declines in module prices in 2009+, due to high leverage to silicon price reductions and the introduction of a new high-efficiency cell technology,” Clegg wrote in a note.

Clegg raised his 2008 revenue estimates by about 7 percent to $2.1 billion and his per-share profit estimate by 8 cents to $1.73. Clegg expects better volumes in 2009 to result in earnings of $2.81 per share on revenue of $3.6 billion.

August 20, 2008

Suntech lifts 2008 revenue outlook; shares jump

Filed under: AMAT, SOL, STP — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 3:07 pm

Wed Aug 20, 2008 3:07pm EDT

By Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) reported a higher-than-expected 58 percent rise in quarterly earnings and lifted its 2008 revenue target on strong demand for solar energy, sending its shares up nearly 16 percent.

The company also said on Wednesday that demand from Italy, Germany and other markets would offset a drop in sales to Spain next year as that nation pares back generous government subsidies for solar power.

“We have far more demand in the pipeline than we intend to supply,” Chief Executive Zhengrong Shi said on a conference call with analysts.

About 40 percent of Suntech’s second-quarter sales came from Spain, and concerns about a pullback in demand from that market have weighed on the company’s stock in recent months.

After more than doubling in 2007, Suntech shares had fallen more than 50 percent this year at Tuesday’s close. On Wednesday, however, they rose as much as 15.7 percent to $42.96, their highest level since June.

In a positive sign for investors, Suntech forecast a 20 percent decline in polysilicon costs in 2009 and said contracted selling prices on its products for next year so far were better than expected.

“If they do get those types of silicon price reductions … then they could be in a very good position to keep or raise gross margins next year,” said Jefferies & Co analyst Paul Clegg, who has a “buy” rating on Suntech.

(more…)

Suntech lifts ’08 revenue view

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:30 am

Wednesday August 20, 11:30 am ET
By Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – Chinese solar cell maker Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) reported sharply higher quarterly earnings on Wednesday and lifted its 2008 revenue target on burgeoning global demand for solar energy, sending its shares up 11.5 percent in early trading.

The company also said that demand from Italy, Germany and other markets would offset a sharp fall-off in demand from Spain next year as that nation pares back generous government subsidies for solar power.

“We have far more demand in the pipeline than we intend to supply,” Suntech Chairman and Chief Executive Zhengrong Shi said on a conference call with analysts.

About 40 percent of Suntech’s second-quarter sales came from Spain, and concerns about a pullback in demand from that market have weighed on the company’s stock in recent months.

In another positive sign for investors, Suntech forecast a 20 percent decline in polysilicon costs in 2009, but said contracted selling prices on its products for next year so far were better than expected.

Polysilicon is the key raw material used to make solar cells. Tight supply has crimped expansion in the fast-growing sector, though prices are expected to fall as new production comes online later this year.

Second-quarter net income was $65.2 million, or 38 cents per American Depositary Share, compared with $41.3 million, or 25 cents per ADS, a year earlier. Excluding items, the company earned 41 cents a share.

Wall Street analysts, on average, had been expecting earnings of 32 cents per ADS, according to Reuters Estimates.

(more…)

Solar Thin Films Signs Strategic Alliance and Cross License Agreement with Amelio Solar Inc.

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

Wednesday August 20, 8:00 am ET

Will Market and Manufacture Equipment Using Copper Indium Gallium Diselenide (CIGS) Technology
Company Enters Into Stock Purchase Agreement with Kiss Family

DIX HILLS, N.Y.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solar Thin Films, Inc. (SLTN.OB), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of manufacturing equipment for the production of “thin-film” amorphous silicon photovoltaic modules, has entered into a strategic alliance and cross license agreement with Amelio Solar Inc.

Under this agreement Solar Thin Films will market and sell photovoltaic products using copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) technology developed and commercialized by Amelio Solar, and has rights to manufacture PV module manufacturing equipment using CIGS technology subject to certain terms and agreements.

Concurrent with the strategic alliance and cross license agreement, the company has signed a stock purchase agreement to arrange for the sale of an aggregate of 18.0 million shares of common stock owned by the Kiss family. The strategic alliance, cross license and stock purchase agreements are expected to close simultaneously on or about November 30, 2008 coincident with a capital markets transaction currently contemplated by the company.

“As the solar industry continues to shift toward thin film photovoltaic applications, the technology will continue to evolve,” said Peter Lewis, chief executive officer of Solar Thin Films. “Today our expertise lies in the process know-how required to produce a complete line of manufacturing equipment for the production of thin-film amorphous silicon modules. And we believe that amorphous silicon offers cost advantages over other commercially viable thin film materials available in the market. At the same time, we want to prepare for the emergence of other cost-effective thin film technologies, including CIGS and micro crystalline, by forming partnerships with companies like Amelio Solar and through our own research and development activities. Therefore, our plan is to position Solar Thin to utilize other thin film materials as the industry evolves.”

Continued Lewis, “Since 2005 we have been working closely with Amelio Solar on developing thin film CIGS technology. They are an ideal partner for Solar Thin Films as we continue to expand the company’s technology portfolio without diverting our attention from the many opportunities available to us to expand our share of the amorphous silicon market. Having access to CIGS technology is an important addition to our capability as we advance our goal of becoming a leader in supplying cost-effective thin film photovoltaic module manufacturing equipment.”

Older Posts »

Blog at WordPress.com.