North Coast Solar Stocks

December 29, 2008

Hoku, U.S. Bank, and United Fund Advisors Announce Financing for Solar Power Projects at Hawaii Airports

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:20 pm

Monday December 29, 4:20 pm ET

HONOLULU, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Dec 29, 2008 — Hoku Solar, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) and United Fund Advisors (UFA) today announced the establishment and capitalization of an investment company intended to provide financing for photovoltaic (PV) power systems to be installed and operated in the State of Hawaii by Hoku Solar.

Hoku had previously announced its selection by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) to design, engineer and install PV power systems at airports across the state. Under the terms of its agreement with UFA, Hoku will assign its power purchase agreements to the special purpose entity, Hoku Solar Power I, LLC, that has been created to own and operate each system, and that will sell the electricity generated by the PV power systems to DOT at a predetermined rate over a contract period of 20 years.

Hoku and UFA confirmed that the financing is expected to be sufficient for Hoku to complete all seven planned PV installations at DOT facilities on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island, a total of nearly 1 megawatt of clean solar power. These projects are the first major PV installations on Hawaii government-owned facilities, and among the largest third-party financed PV projects in the state.

UFA reported that it planned to invest in Hoku Solar Power I, LLC through its renewable energy fund, UFA Renewable Energy Fund which is being financed by U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. Sennet Capital, a Hawaii-based merchant bank, arranged the financing and played a key role in structuring the deal.

“Hoku is pleased to have established this partnership with UFA,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Power purchase agreements offer a way to bring the benefits of clean solar energy to governments, municipalities and businesses with no upfront cost, while allowing investors to take full advantage of the associated investment tax credits. It really is a win-win for all involved. We are pleased that a Hawai’i-based firm like Sennet Capital was able to use the expertise and relationships it has created in financing solar PV transactions to help bring this relationship into existence, and look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.”

“This is an excellent example of the widespread available benefits of deploying clean technology to public users through a private partnership,” said Chris Hasle, Senior Vice President of UFA. “These types of PPA deals are increasingly common on the mainland U.S., and we believe that these projects could serve as an excellent model for many similar clean energy opportunities in Hawaii. Hoku is an important new partner for UFA and U.S. Bank and we hope this will be the first of many PPA projects we finance with them going forward.”

Hoku Solar reported it had completed the engineering, design and procurement phases for the projects, and that it commenced system installation earlier this month at two DOT project sites on the island of Kauai. Hoku expects to complete the installation of all seven systems by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009.

December 25, 2008

SunPower Gets $288 Million for Solar-Panel Plant in Malaysia

Filed under: SPWR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 9:26 pm

By Dinakar Sethuraman

Dec. 25 (Bloomberg) — SunPower Corp. (SPWR), the second-biggest U.S. solar-cell maker, said it can borrow as much as $288 million from the Malaysian government to fund a solar-panel project in the southeast Asian country.

The San Jose, California-based company plans to use the funds to build a factory in Malaysia to produce more than 1,000 megawatts a year of the panel components, the company said in a statement. The unit, the company’s third in Malaysia, may start output in 2010, the company said in a statement in May.

Record oil and coal costs until earlier this year helped propel solar power growth 40 percent a year in the past five years, a pace that may continue as panel costs decline. A global recession and a credit crunch have made it difficult for companies to raise capital from non-state lenders. One megawatt is enough to supply about 800 average U.S. homes.

U.S. President-elect Barack Obama is pushing a goal of having mandatory limits on U.S. greenhouse gases, as well as a proposal to create a $150 billion clean-energy fund to boost renewable technologies.

“The loans within the agreement are divided into two tranches, and the weighted average interest rate applicable to the two tranches is competitive with the cost of borrowing under SunPower’s existing line of credit,” the statement said.

The loans can be drawn upon through 2010 and the principal is to be repaid in six quarterly payments starting in June 2015, it said.

December 24, 2008

Japan to bring back solar power subsidy for homes

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 6:07 am

Wed Dec 24, 2008 6:07am EST

TOKYO (Reuters) – Japan plans to bring back subsidies for solar panel equipment from January, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said on Wednesday, as the world’s fifth-biggest emitter struggles to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

METI said the government would offer 9 billion yen ($99.6 million) in the first quarter of 2009 and possibly more in the fiscal year starting next April to foster use of solar panel equipment in homes.

To meet its long-term goal of cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 60-80 percent from current levels by 2050, the government aims to have more than 70 percent of newly built houses equipped with solar panels by 2020.

The government has seen domestic solar demand dry up after it pulled the plug on subsidies in March 2006, hurting solar panel makers’ ability to invest in research and expansion abroad.

Japan’s greenhouse gas emissions hit a record high in the year that ended in March, putting it at risk of missing its Kyoto Protocol target over the next four years of cutting emissions to 6 percent below 1990 levels.

METI said the government would offer a subsidy of 70,000 yen per kilowatt of equipment to be installed next year, and forecast that about 35,000 applications would be filed between January 13 and March 31.

Government budget proposals for the fiscal year starting in April also include 20 billion yen worth of solar subsidies that could be offered from April 1, METI officials said. Analysts say Tokyo’s 2006 decision to scrap solar subsidies helped Germany’s Q-Cells AG overtake Japan’s Sharp Corp as the No.1 supplier of solar cells, while China’s Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) has nudged out Kyocera Corp for third place in the market.

December 23, 2008

Canadian Solar Announces Completion of Vineyard Solar Project in Italy

Filed under: CSIQ — Tags: , , — Jason @ 12:55 pm

Tuesday December 23, 12:55 pm ET

TORONTO, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Canadian Solar Inc. (“the Company”, “CSI” or “we”) (CSIQ) today announced that one of its Italian customers, Arco Energy, has completed its first project with CSI modules. The 700 kW project is located in the Barlo Vineyard in Asti, Italy.

Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO remarked: “This is the first of a series of projects in Italy which we expect to implement with Arco Energy. It is particularly remarkable as the project was financed and completed despite the current global credit climate. It demonstrates that solar is a relatively safe investment for investors and banks.”

Marco Pulitano, CEO of Arco commented: “We are pleased to have Canadian Solar as a supplier that we can depend on for stability and quality in the months and years to come. In addition, we like the fact that Canadian Solar has a strong balance sheet and cash position in order to fulfill its long-term commitments to customers. This finished project is an important milestone in the relationship, which we hope will bring many more projects as time goes by.”

China Sunergy Signs Sales Agreement With Ajit Solar

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

Tuesday December 23, 8:00 am ET

Signifying the Company’s first move into the Indian solar market

NANJING, China, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, today announced that it has entered into a one-year agreement with Ajit Solar Pvt Ltd (“Ajit Solar”), a privately-owned module manufacturer based in Jaipur, India.

Under the terms of the agreement, China Sunergy will supply and deliver a total volume of 12MW of multi-crystalline solar cells. It is expected that China Sunergy will deliver 5MW to Ajit Solar in the first half of the year, and the remaining 7MW in the latter half.

Commenting on the agreement, CEO of China Sunergy, Dr. Allen Wang, said: “Our partnership with Ajit Solar marks a significant step for China Sunergy as we venture into the growing Indian solar market. Despite the challenging market conditions, we continue to receive orders for our solar cells. We look forward to working closely with Ajit Solar and to further penetrating the Asian markets.”

Located in Jaipur, India, Ajit Solar is a privately owned company of the Gehlot Group which manufactures world class photovoltaic modules.

Yingli Green Energy Subsidiary Signs Eight-Year US$70 Million Loan Agreement with China Development Bank to Support Expansion Plan; Company Also Announces New VP of Technology

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 5:58 am

Tuesday December 23, 5:58 am ET

BAODING, China, Dec. 23 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — 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 its wholly-owned subsidiary, Yingli Energy (China) Co., Ltd. (“Yingli China”), has entered into an eight-year loan agreement with China Development Bank (“CDB”). The Company also announced the appointment of a new Vice President of Technology, Mr. Jingfeng Xiong, replacing Dr. Nabih Cherradi who has resigned to pursue other interests.

Eight-Year US$70 million Loan Agreement with China Development Bank

Yingli Green Energy’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Yingli China, has entered into an eight-year loan agreement with CDB, a government policy bank solely owned by China’s central government. CDB provides mid to long term financing support for the development of key government projects and for construction in the infrastructure sector, basic industries, pillar industries and high-technology industry. Under the agreement, CDB has agreed to provide to Yingli China, subject to certain conditions, an aggregate of US$70 million to support Yingli China’s construction of PV cell manufacturing lines with 100 MW annual production capacity.

“We are pleased to receive financing support from CDB,” commented Mr. Zongwei Li, Chief Financial Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “As one of the world’s leading vertically integrated PV product manufacturers, we are dedicated to providing the means to produce clean energy. CDB has always been a strong supporter of the State’s policies of promoting sustainable development with a market oriented approach. The same mission we share is the solid base for our cooperation. This loan provides us additional support for expanding our annual production capacity to 600 MW in the third quarter of 2009.”

New Vice President of Technology

Effective December 23, 2008, Mr. Jingfeng Xiong has been appointed as Vice President of Technology of Yingli Green Energy, replacing Dr. Nabih Cherradi who has resigned from this position to pursue other interests. Mr. Xiong joined the Company in 2000. In his eight years at the Company, he has served in a variety of roles, including as the Manager for Wafer, Cell, and Module Workshops, respectively, Quality Manager, Technical Department Manager, System Application Department Manager, and Chief Engineer, gaining extensive experience that will be highly valuable in his new role. Mr. Xiong has an especially solid understanding of each step of our manufacturing process and of all the related equipment. And he has initiated and led research and development projects for optimizing operation and automating our vertically integrated production lines resulting in improved yield rates, cost savings and increased cell convention efficiencies. He received a bachelor’s degree in electronics from Hebei University.

Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy commented, “As our company has always been focused on improvement in product quality and cost control as our key strategies, we are pleased to appoint Mr. Xiong to this significant position in our company. He is a highly respected executive and engineer with a wealth of theoretical knowledge and practical experience in research and development and manufacturing at Yingli. Led by Mr. Xiong, Yingli’s technical team achieved significant progress in the field of quality improvement and cost savings through streamlining or reengineering the existing production process and improving the level of automation in our facility. We believe his more than eight years of experience in Yingli’s operations and his successful track record will be invaluable in his new role.”

Mr. Miao concluded, “We greatly appreciate the contributions Dr. Cherradi made during his tenure here and wish him and his family the very best with his future endeavors.”

December 22, 2008

First Solar Completes 10MW Thin Film Solar Power Plant for Sempra Generation

Filed under: FSLR, SRE — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:20 pm

Monday December 22, 4:20 pm ET

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today announced the completion of its first 10 megawatt (MW) ground-mounted photovoltaic power plant for Sempra Generation (SRE) near Boulder City, Nevada. This project is the largest thin film solar power plant in North America. First Solar served as the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor for this PV power plant and will provide monitoring and maintenance services for the plant over its lifetime. This project was constructed in less than six months.

The project was developed by Sempra Generation, which will own and operate the PV power plant. First Solar constructed the 10 MW PV power plant adjacent to Sempra’s existing 480 MW El Dorado Energy power plant about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas. The solar modules deployed in this ground-mount project were produced at First Solar’s manufacturing facility in Perrysburg, Ohio.

First Solar is the world’s leading supplier of thin film PV modules, stemming largely from the superior product design and unique semiconductor technology that makes First Solar modules the most cost-effective on the market. Underlying First Solar’s success is a commitment to product life cycle management, as illustrated by the solar industry’s first comprehensive module collection and recycling program. From raw material sourcing through end-of-life collection and recycling, First Solar is focused on creating cost-effective renewable energy solutions that protect and enhance the environment.

“The build out of this 10MW solar power plant from start to finish in less than six months marks the successful completion of our first utility scale EPC project,” said John Carrington, First Solar executive vice president marketing and business development. “We applaud Sempra’s commitment to expand their renewable energy portfolio—investing in clean energy infrastructure while creating green jobs and addressing climate change and energy independence.”

“This is a significant step in the development and deployment of renewable solar power,” said Michael W. Allman, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. “It reflects the commitment by Sempra Generation and western U.S. utilities to meet the challenges posed by climate change with reliable, renewable energy. The size and scope of this new solar generation facility clearly demonstrates that we can build projects on a scale that helps utilities meet their renewable energy goals.”

Sempra Generation Completes North America’s Largest ‘Thin-Film’ Solar Power Installation

Filed under: FSLR, PCG, SRE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:06 pm

Monday December 22, 4:06 pm ET

PG&E Purchases New Project’s Output

SAN DIEGO, CA–(MARKET WIRE)–Dec 22, 2008 — Sempra Generation, a subsidiary of Sempra Energy (SRE), today announced the completion of the company’s first solar energy project, a 10-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic power-generation facility adjacent to the company’s existing 480-megawatt El Dorado Energy power plant near Boulder City, Nev., about 40 miles southeast of Las Vegas.

The El Dorado Energy Solar project is the largest operational thin-film, solar-power project in North America. Construction began in July 2008, and involved the installation of more than 167,000 solar modules on 80 acres of desert property designated as a renewable energy zone and leased from Boulder City.

Sempra Generation also announced it has entered into a 20-year power purchase agreement for the new project’s entire output with Pacific Gas and Electric (PCG), the utility serving northern and central California. The contract is subject to approval by the California Public Utilities Commission.

At peak production El Dorado Energy Solar will generate enough electricity to power approximately 6,400 homes.

“This is a significant step in the development and deployment of renewable solar power,” said Michael W. Allman, president and chief executive officer of Sempra Generation. “It reflects the commitment by Sempra Generation and western U.S. utilities to meet the challenges posed by climate change with reliable, renewable energy. The size and scope of this new solar generation facility clearly demonstrates that we can build projects on a scale that helps utilities meet their renewable energy goals.”

The project’s solar modules employ an advanced thin-film semiconductor technology to convert sunlight into electricity without air emissions or water use. These modules will generally produce more electricity under real-world conditions than conventional solar modules with similar power ratings.

“The El Dorado Energy Solar facility will be the first of our contracted solar projects to come online,” said Jack Keenan, chief operating officer for PG&E. “We are pleased to partner with Sempra Generation as we add renewable resources to our power mix and continue to provide some of the cleanest energy in the nation.”

Additional expansion phases of the project are under consideration.

Unlike some solar power projects, El Dorado Energy’s solar power plant will not use water or other liquids in the power-generation process. This water conservation feature makes the project especially suitable to the arid U.S. Southwest. As with other solar projects, the new Sempra Generation facility will generate electricity during the day when customer demand peaks.

Arizona-based First Solar (FSLR) was the engineering, procurement and construction contractor for the project and is charged with monitoring and maintaining the plant.

Sempra Generation operates and maintains a fleet of power plants serving the U.S. market and is in the process of developing a solar and wind power projects in the Pacific Southwest. Sempra Energy, based in San Diego, is a Fortune 500 energy services holding company with 2007 revenues of more than $11 billion. The Sempra Energy companies’ 13,500 employees serve more than 29 million consumers worldwide.

XsunX Provides Overview on Positive Developments for the Renewable Energy Industry

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

Monday December 22, 6:30 am ET

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — XsunX, Inc. (XSNX), a solar technology Company engaged in the build-out of its multi-megawatt amorphous thin film photovoltaic (TFPV) solar manufacturing facilities in Oregon, provides a look into 2008’s initiatives, legislation, and events set to positively impact the Renewable Energy Industry and reduce dependence on carbon based fuels.

— In October, the 30-percent Federal Investment Tax Credit (ITC) was extended for 8 years. Important to this extension was the removal of the low monetary caps for residential installations. Also, for the first time, publicly regulated utilities, an XsunX target market, can now monetize the ITC making direct investment by utilities into solar project assets less costly.

— In November, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) appeal’s panel rejected a permit for a new coal-fired power plant in Utah. Similarly, in 2007 the Kansas Department of Health and Environment denied permits for two large coal-fired units. Each of these decisions relates to curbing greenhouse gas pollution, putting in question the future of new coal plants throughout the country that do not curb CO2 emissions. This raises an issue of national scope, as coal fired plants account for over one half of domestic electrical power production while emitting over 1/3 of CO2 emissions.

— In December, California announced its goal requiring that new residential developments achieve net-zero-energy status by 2020 with new commercial developments requiring net-zero-energy status by 2030. Governor Schwarzenegger also issues an Executive Order requiring that California utilities reach 33% electrical energy production from renewables by 2020.

— The Obama administration’s Renewable Energy Plan includes calls for ensuring 10% of USA electrical production coming from renewable sources by 2012, 25% by 2025, and creating 5 million new jobs by strategically investing $150 billion over the next 10 years in efforts to build a new energy economy and clean energy future.

“As the costs for pollution emitting sources of electrical production continue to rise for utilities, and consumers alike, solar energy continues to become a significant part of America’s energy future, attracting investment, expanding manufacturing capacities, and lowering the cost of solar produced electrical energy to consumers,” stated Tom Djokovich, CEO for XsunX. “The trend toward building a new energy economy and clean energy future is clearly building momentum. At XsunX we remain focused on working to complete the assembly of our initial manufacturing facilities in Portland, Oregon USA and to begin filling the orders we have received for our solar modules in 2009 and 2010,” he concluded.

BioSolar Named a Leader for Its Use of Biomass-based Material Components in Solar Modules

Filed under: BSRC — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 6:05 am

Monday December 22, 6:05 am ET

Company Poised to Address a Market Opportunity for Its Innovative BioBacksheetTM Product

SANTA CLARITA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BioSolar, Inc. (BSRC) “is ushering in the inherent benefits of biomass by leading a pioneering effort to reduce the costs of solar modules by replacing petroleum-based solar panel components with durable biomass-based materials,” according to a web exclusive article posted December 10, 2008 on the website of BioMass Magazine.

The article features BioSolar’s BioBacksheetTM, a protective covering for photovoltaic solar cells made from renewable plant sources, rather than the expensive petroleum-based film currently in use. This protective covering is needed in virtually all solar panels.

Expected to cost less than traditional petroleum-based backsheets, BioSolar’s CEO Dr. David Lee explained to BioMass readers, “Target pricing and the cost reduction was based on the old pricing of petroleum…Even if the petroleum price goes down further I think our cost will be substantially less than what it would be for the cost of petroleum-based components.”

In addition, BioSolar’s technology will reduce the final cost per watt of solar electricity by allowing manufacturers to lower the cost of their finished product without being impacted by the unstable cost of petroleum.

“The use of petroleum materials in the manufacturing process of green energy presents a fundamental contradiction,” said Dr. Lee. “BioSolar is poised for a period of unprecedented growth. We expect interest in solar power, and our proprietary processes, to continue to increase.”

Even with a challenging global economy, industry experts agree that PV technology will remain strong as the industry prepares to meet consumer and commercial demand for alternative-energy technologies. Market-research firm Gartner Inc. reports growth from 17 PW (petawatt) hours in 2005 to a forecast 21 PW hours in 2010 and as many as 33 PW hours in 2030. Deutsche Bank is predicting a growth rate of 20 percent for the global solar industry in 2009.

December 19, 2008

Suntech to Deliver 3MW of Integrated Solar Systems to World Expo Shanghai 2010

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

Friday December 19, 8:00 am ET

China and Theme Pavilions Solar Projects Slated to Be Largest BIPV Installations in China

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, today announced that it has won a bid to supply, design and install building integrated photovoltaic systems (BIPV) with a total capacity of 3MW on the China and Theme Pavilions at the World Expo Shanghai 2010 (“the Expo”). The projects, which will be the largest BIPV installations in China, are scheduled to be completed by September 2009.

Centered on the theme “Better City, Better Life”, the Expo will explore global initiatives that enable sustainable urban development. The China and Theme Pavilions which will be developed by Shenergy Group, one of Shanghai’s leading energy companies, will emphasize the importance of urban harmony with the natural environment, including the sustainable use of natural resources such as water and sunlight. The 3MW building integrated rooftop solar systems will be designed, developed and installed by Suntech’s in-house system integration team. World Expo Shanghai 2010 will be held from May 1 – October 31, 2010 in Shanghai, China.

“Building integrated solar systems, which turn common building materials such as rooftops and facades into power generators, are a logical step for the evolution of the urban environment. Our selection underscores Suntech’s position as a global brand and world leader in the solar industry as well as our leading system integration capability in China. We are honored to display China’s technological expertise in renewable energy to the world at the Expo,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO.

The sustainable theme of the Expo echoes China’s broader commitment to renewable energy solutions. As part of its Renewable Energy Law in 2005, China established a target to generate 15% of its total electricity from renewable energy sources by 2020. China plans to invest $180 billion in renewable energy over a 15-year period, fostering the emergence of renewable energy and sustainable development, including solar, wind, hydropower and biomass.

“Showcasing two of the world’s largest building integrated solar systems at the World Expo Shanghai 2010 indicates China’s growing recognition of solar’s ability to play a key role in renewable energy generation and sustainable urban development. With China’s clear commitment to increasing adoption of renewable energy solutions, we are confident that the Chinese solar market will experience rapid growth in the next few years,” Dr. Shi continued.

Suntech’s system integration team is one of the most experienced and capable in China. They have completed a range of technically complex building integrated solar systems including the 120kW Beijing Jingya Hotel curtain wall, an 800kW Light Thru system on the Wuxi Airport, and the 1MW BIPV fa?ade at Suntech’s new headquarters in Wuxi.

About Shenergy Group

Shenergy Group develops and invests in electricity, petroleum and natural gas assets and has investments in Shanghai Waigaoqiao Electric Power Generating Company Limited and the Wujing Thermal Power Plant. Shenergy also undertakes energy saving and environmental protection initiatives. In 1993, Shenergy became the first Chinese energy company to be listed on the Shanghai Stock Exchange. For more information please visit: http://www.shenergy.com.cn/english/gf/jj.htm

Yingli Green Energy Signs Sales Agreements with Two Leading German PV System Integrators

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , — Jason @ 5:58 am

Friday December 19, 5:58 am ET

BAODING, China, Dec. 19 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — 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 sales agreements with two leading German PV system integrators, City Solar Kraftwerke AG (“City Solar”) and Wirsol Deutschland GmbH (“Wirsol”).

20 MW PV Module Sales Agreement with City Solar

Under the sales agreement with City Solar, one of the leading German developers and turnkey providers of large-scale PV power plants, Yingli Green Energy is expected to supply 20 MW of PV modules to City Solar in 2009. In addition, City Solar has an option to purchase an additional 30 MW of PV modules from Yingli Green Energy in 2009.

“We are delighted to initiate our business relationship with Yingli Green Energy,” commented Mr. Steffen Kammler, President and Chief Executive Officer of City Solar. “We believe we can provide more profitable solar power plants to our customers by using Yingli Green Energy’s PV modules with their reliable quality and stable output performance, which are vital for the successful and profitable operation of solar power plants throughout their lifetime.”

15 MW PV Module Sales Agreement with Wirsol

Under the sales agreement with Wirsol, one of the leading German PV system specialists delivering solar-based solutions to both residential and commercial customers, Yingli Green Energy is expected to supply 15 MW of PV modules to Wirsol from December 2008 through October 2009. In addition, Wirsol has an option to purchase an additional 20 MW of PV modules from Yingli Green Energy in 2009.

“We are please to sign this contract with Yingli Green Energy,” commented Mr. Markus Wirth, managing director of Wirsol. “As a German solar specialist with the quality seal of RAL certification, we work under strictly controlled quality standards: All work processes are documented and transparent, from the first consultation to installation and beyond. We have gained sufficient confidence in Yingli Green Energy’s capability to provide high-quality and reliable products through testing its products under real conditions in our own solar park and from our visits to its facilities which impressed us with its advanced automation level and rigorous quality program.”

“We are pleased to announce our sales contract with City Solar and Wirsol,” commented Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “We have established a solid position as a reliable PV module supplier for large-scale PV power plants and other solar power solutions worldwide, thanks to our successful track record and long history in cooperating with utilities and PV system installers in Europe. We expect to continue to capture market share in a more competitive environment with our high quality products, brand recognition and competitive PV module pricing. In addition, we believe the recent dramatic decrease in polysilicon prices and our excellent performance in maintaining low non-polysilicon costs will further help us along the way towards achieving grid parity.”

December 18, 2008

Solar stocks in for another stormy year in ’09

Filed under: AKNS, ENER, FSLR, JASO, SPWR, STP, WFR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:56 pm

Thu Dec 18, 2008 1:56pm EST

By Nichola Groom – Analysis

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – As dismal as 2008 has been for solar stocks, next year doesn’t look any brighter.

Funding for solar projects and factory expansions remains scarce, prices on panels are falling faster than expected as supplies jump, and a dramatic drop in oil prices has tempered investor appetite for renewable energy stocks.

There is palpable optimism, however, that the new U.S. presidential administration will move rapidly on legislation to boost demand for alternative energy sources. Still, it remains to be seen how quickly that would get done and what form it will take.

“It will be a tumultuous year for most solar companies,” said Karina Funk, an analyst with Winslow Green Funds in Boston.

The WilderHill Clean Energy index, whose components include SunPower Corp (SPWR), First Solar Inc (FSLR), Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) and other solar companies, is down about 70 percent so far this year. That far surpasses the nearly 40 percent decline in the Standard & Poor’s 500 index in 2008.

The gloom over solar stocks followed a sharp run-up in 2007 as investors banked on increased concerns about climate change and rising oil prices to spur demand for clean energy sources.

Those trends still make solar a good long-term bet, say analysts, who also expect the weakened global economy to shake out an industry that has scrambled to ramp up new production lines and factories in recent years.

(more…)

Has First Solar achieved grid parity? Report claims the numbers add up

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 12:00 pm

18 December 2008 | By Síle Mc Mahon

According to Greentech Media’s report, it seems that First Solar (FSLR) has managed to achieve grid parity with its 12.6MW system in the Nevada desert, installed for Sempra Generation. Mark Bachman, a senior research analyst with Pacific Crest and a specialist in cleantech energy, has aggregated the numbers in the Greentech Media report.

Mr. Bachman claims that the Nevada desert system costs $0.075 per kilowatt-hour to install without any subsidies, compared to costs incurred by ‘conventional’ power of $0.09 per kilowatt-hour. Looking solely at these figures, it would seem that this is an achievement that should have the solar energy industry rubbing its hands together in joy.

However, naysayers will always challenge such claims. Bachman’s cost calculations are based on one particular location and one particular panel type; different results may have resulted from use of the same panels in a different location, or using different technology in conditions similar to those found in the Nevada desert.

“In our view, the industry leaders will be those companies that can deliver electricity at or below grid parity pricing without the aid of subsidies while also delivering superior return to shareholders,” said Mr. Bachman. “Currently, only First Solar can claim these achievements, in our view.”

First Solar has managed to produce large numbers of panels at a low cost for the past few years, claiming recently that it had lowered the cost-per-watt of production of its modules to $1.08 per watt. According to Greentech Media, this figure is an amalgamated average of the individual costs of production in each of the company’s manufacturing facilities, although First Solar has reached a low cost of 75 cents per watt in its Malaysia-based plants.

Bachman noted that while the installation for Sempra cost around $3.17 per watt, this price incorporated the cost of frames and installation as well as the cost of the modules themselves. He also pointed out that the solar industry spends too much time focusing on the cost of production and installation of panels, and not enough time looking at the overall cost of the entire project in terms of kilowatt-hours.

“By focusing on the cost/kWh calculation, we can compare competing business models on a defined metric that is independent of technologies,” he said.

This report also highlighted the potential competitors First Solar may encounter in the next few years in the race for grid parity. Cypress Semiconductor’s CEO T.J. Rodgers was reported as saying that power produced by crystalline silicon solar panels will be cheaper than that produced by coal by 2012.

SunPower (SPWR) is another potential runner: the company’s 14.2MW system at the Nellis Air Force base in Nevada features crystalline silicon panels that cost $7.04 per watt to install. In terms of kilowatt-hour cost, Bachman figured that it worked out at $0.164 per kilowatt-hour. For SunPower to rival First Solar’s kilowatt-hour rate of electricity generation, however, Bachman reckons that SunPower’s panels, despite the fact that they boast a much higher conversion efficiency rate, would have to be sold at 52% less, or $3.4 per watt.

So whether or not First Solar has achieved the much-coveted grid parity is unclear, but the numbers do add up.

China Sunergy initiates commercial production of four solar cell manufacturing lines

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

18 December 2008 | By Síle Mc Mahon

China SunergyNanjing-based China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN) has brought four high-efficiency SE solar cell manufacturing lines into commercial production at a ceremony held to celebrate the commencement of China Sunergy’s 3rd stage production. The door of the 3rd stage production lines was opened to visitors on the day, with attendees including China Sunergy executives Tingxiu Lu, Chairman, Dr. Allen Wang, CEO, and Dr. Jianhua Zhao, CTO.

These additional four lines bring the company’s manufacturing line total to ten, five of which are for high-efficiency SE solar cells, four for HP solar cells, and one line that manufactures common P-type multicrystalline solar cells. The company now has an overall production capacity of close to 320MW.

The company also stated that it “has got enough cash for production and development in this year and next year” in its Q3 quarterly report. More than 50% of the company’s orders for 2009 have at this point been finalised, including the recent deal with Solarwatt AG that will see Sunergy deliver over 22MW of solar cells over the course of next year.

Liberty Media’s QVC Unveils One of North Carolina’s Largest Solar Projects

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

Thursday December 18, 8:00 am ET

– QVC Facility Brought Online for 1-Megawatt Solar Output; Community to Benefit from 3.1 Million Pound Reduction in Carbon Emissions –

ROCKY MOUNT, N.C., Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Liberty Media’s QVC, working with SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB), today unveiled the installation of a 1-megawatt solar electric power farm at the QVC Rocky Mount, Inc. distribution center based in Rocky Mount, NC. The project stands as one of the state’s largest renewable energy initiatives to date and furthers Liberty and QVC’s commitment to conservation and projects with lower environmental impact. The ground installation of the solar panels completed at the 1,300-employee QVC Rocky Mount campus spans nearly 5 acres. The amount of energy produced by the system annually will result in a significant 3.1 million pound reduction in carbon emissions or the equivalent of removing 259 cars from the road each year. Liberty and QVC are expecting to offset 20% of the facility’s annual energy costs.

“Leaders of industry and consumers are motivated by the potential of sustainable business practices,” said Greg Maffei, president and CEO at Liberty Media. “We believe it is our responsibility to consider investments in alternatives and solutions that will decrease the environmental impact, and ultimately be good for business. Fulfilling energy needs with renewable resources is one way to make good on that commitment.”

The 1-megawatt solar array uses SunPower® Tracker solar tracking technology. The system is able to capture up to 25 percent more energy than fixed solar systems by following the sun’s movement across the sky, and brings the added benefit of reduced land-use requirements.

“We felt that it was critical for us to pursue ways to support green business practices,” said Mike George, QVC’s president and CEO. “We see potential in many places, from solar output that supports North Carolina’s renewable energy goals, to our recyclable packaging material and consolidation of products shipped to our customers. We’re proud of this project and our investment in an energy source that is cleaner, abundant and less taxing on our environment and communities.”

According to North Carolina’s Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standard (REPS), electric cooperatives are now required to obtain up to 10 percent of their energy through renewable resources or energy efficiency measures by 2018 and are required to obtain a percentage of their total power sold to retail customers from solar energy.

Southern Energy Management, a North Carolina-based solar and energy efficiency company, served as SunPower’s primary contractor, providing engineering and project management support. The clean energy produced by this solar farm will be carried by Edgecombe-Martin County EMC, a not-for-profit electric cooperative providing electricity to the QVC Rocky Mount campus. North Carolina Electric Membership Corporation (NCEMC) is the purchaser of the electric power, and GreenCo Solutions, Inc., a green cooperative owned by North Carolina’s electric cooperatives, is the purchaser of the Renewable Energy Certificates from the facility. The QVC Rocky Mount installation was completed on budget and brought on line ahead of schedule.

Trina Solar Announces ‘MeSolar’ Brand UMG-Silicon Based Product Line

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

Thursday December 18, 7:00 am ET

CHANGZHOU, China, Dec. 18 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL), a leading integrated manufacturer of photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced the launch of the brand name “MeSolar” for its newly in-house developed line of products based on Upgraded Metallurgical Grade (“UMG”) silicon materials.

The product line is part of Trina Solar’s strategy to expand its product portfolio in order to address customers’ increasing demand for lower cost solar module systems. “We are pleased to introduce the brand name ‘MeSolar’ which represents our high quality and efficient modules using UMG silicon materials, with advantageous prices for our customers,” stated Arturo Herrero, Trina Solar’s Vice President of Sales & Marketing. “MeSolar” products undergo a stringent production process as well as rigorous quality control checks as a result of initial optimization and critical development stages during testing along the entire value chain, starting from UMG silicon materials, wafers, and cells, to modules, the final product.

Jifan Gao, Trina Solar’s Chairman and CEO, stated, “We expect that UMG feedstock technology will continue to advance in the next year, which combine with improved manufacturing efficiencies should provide significant and sustainable cost advantages forward for added value to our customers.”

Trina Solar plans to launch production of “MeSolar”, employing its existing, dedicated manufacturing lines, with sales and deliveries planned throughout 2009. The UMG-based “MeSolar” modules have a 20-year warranty.

December 17, 2008

MEMC Updates Fourth Quarter Outlook

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:36 pm

Wednesday December 17, 4:36 pm ET

ST. PETERS, Mo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (WFR) today commented on market conditions impacting its business and provided an update to its fourth quarter financial targets.

Over the last few weeks, end demand for many industries, including semiconductor and solar, has continued to decline as a result of the global economic slowdown. In addition, the solar market has been impacted by the reduced availability of credit, which has limited the purchasing ability of some solar customers. Given these factors, combined with the continuing inventory reduction efforts by semiconductor device makers, the company has revised its fourth quarter outlook.

The company now anticipates that revenue for the 2008 fourth quarter will be approximately $400 to 425 million, with gross margin of approximately 46%, plus or minus one percentage point. This compares to the company’s previously announced targets of $500 million in revenue, plus or minus $25 million, with gross margin of 48% plus or minus two percentage points. Expectations for operating expenses remain unchanged at approximately $27 million.

“The revised outlook is primarily a result of a continued deterioration in end demand for semiconductor products amid the weak macroeconomic environment,” commented Marshall Turner, MEMC’s Interim Chief Executive Officer. “In addition, we have reduced certainty that some remaining semiconductor orders that have been booked for delivery this quarter will be pulled by customers, and that some customers who have placed short-term orders for solar products will meet all of our purchase conditions, given their tight credit environment. We are revising our outlook to account for this uncertainty.”

Clouds over the Solar Power Industry

Filed under: LDK, SOLF, STP, TAN — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:13 pm

As oil prices have plunged, solar has become less cost-competitive. And the credit squeeze has made it harder to finance solar projects

By Mark Scott and Chi-Chu Tschang
December 17, 2008, 12:13PM EST

If the recent five-year boom in solar energy marked the birth of a global industry, the next half-decade should be its coming of age. But like most adolescents, solar is experiencing growing pains. The economic crisis has weakened demand for everything from polysilicon to rooftop panels, just as manufacturers have spent billions expanding production. The overcapacity has caused prices to plummet and left the industry financially exposed. A number of companies—especially startups—may not survive a shakeout that could last 18 months or longer.

The causes of the downturn are complex and interrelated. As the price of oil plunged from its peak last summer, solar and other forms of renewable energy became relatively less cost-competitive—dampening demand from industrial, commercial, and residential customers. At the same time, the credit squeeze has made it harder for customers, whether power companies or energy-conscious homeowners, to finance solar projects. Some also are holding back in anticipation that solar equipment prices will fall even further.

Consider the story of Peng Xiaofeng, chairman of China’s LDK Solar (LDK), a maker of solar wafers. During a recent trip to Europe, he toured major solar projects that have been, in some cases, on the drawing boards for two to three years. “They’re all delayed,” Peng says.”I don’t think they’ll be ready [even] in 2010 or 2011.”

Trimmed Subsidies

The industry impact has been swift. After increasing at roughly 50% annually every year since 2004, the overall market for new solar installations could slow to just 15% growth in 2009, according to analyst estimates. Retail prices for photovoltaic (PV) panels may fall by as much as one-third in 2009 because of a continued glut. Adding to the gloom: Spain and Germany, the world’s top two markets for PV panels, have recently trimmed the subsidies they offered to jump-start local industries. “We’re moving from a seller’s to a buyer’s market,” says Adel El Gammal, secretary general of the European Photovoltaic Industry Assn. (EPIA).

(more…)

December 16, 2008

Akeena Solar Revises 2008 Revenue Growth Rate Guidance

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 11:00 am

Tuesday December 16, 11:00 am ET

LOS GATOS, Calif., Dec. 16, 2008 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS), a leading designer and installer of solar power systems, today issued revised guidance for the fiscal year ending December 31, 2008. Due to delayed installations at a few large commercial projects, the company now anticipates 2008 annual revenue growth to be in the range of 25% – 30% over 2007. Previously, management had estimated year-over-year revenue growth in 2008 to be between 30% – 40%.

“As several large commercial projects got underway during the quarter, our customers encountered construction management issues that caused the solar installation phase to be pushed out into early 2009,” said Barry Cinnamon, president and chief executive officer. “In contrast to the lumpiness of the commercial business, residential installations generally remain on schedule, and new residential project bookings are meeting our expectations as the benefits of our Andalay technology continue to gain recognition. With the economic benefit to customers from the passage of the ITC, we still expect to see a rise in demand in 2009 for residential and commercial projects and to reach cash flow breakeven in the second half,” concluded Cinnamon.

Suntech Opens Sales and Customer Service Office in Italy

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

Tuesday December 16, 8:00 am ET

Expands Commitment to Growing the Italian Solar Market

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, Dec. 16 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, today announced the opening of a sales office in Milan, Italy to provide enhanced sales and service support to Suntech’s Italian customer base.

Jerry Stokes, Suntech’s President of Europe, said, “Our new office in Milan is another step towards the increasing globalization of Suntech’s sales and service capabilities. To complement our core sales competency, we are building a multi-faceted team across Europe that is in tune with local market conditions and can respond to customer needs promptly. We believe our customers appreciate this commitment and see Suntech as a reliable, long term solar partner.”

Mauro Sgherri, Suntech’s Director of Sales, Italy, said, “Suntech’s involvement in many of the highest profile solar projects in Europe combined with a deep dedication to quality and continuous technology improvement distinguishes Suntech’s solar offering in the Italian market. Moreover, Suntech’s industry leading scale, broad product portfolio and timely product delivery highlight our market leadership. We have established a top tier customer base of companies that have long term solar plans and have already built an order book in Italy of over 130 megawatts for 2009. We look forward to supporting the growth plans of our Italian customers through the stable supply of high quality solar modules and responsive customer service.”

The Italian market is set to grow rapidly in 2009 due to strong support from the Italian government in the form of solar subsidies that range from EUR0.36/kWh for large ground-mounted PV systems and up to EUR0.49/kWh for building integrated PV systems. The high solar irradiation provides excellent conditions for generating solar energy.

ICP Solar Announces Fiscal 2009 Third Quarter Financial Results

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

Tuesday December 16, 8:00 am ET

Company Positioned for Growth & Continues on Track to Profitability

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ICP Solar Technologies Inc. (ICPR.OB), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of proprietary solar panels and products, today announced financial results for its third quarter and nine months ended October 31, 2008.

Highlights for the Quarter

* Sales were $1.2 million for the fiscal third quarter as compared with $1.6 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2008; on an organic basis, excluding discontinued operations, revenue fell 14% year-over-year, reflecting working capital constraints that impacted the Company’s ability to ship during the quarter. Given current inventory levels and production plans, the Company is very well positioned to deliver on new programs and is in the process of securing additional capital for growth expected in 2009
* The Company reduced selling, general, and administrative expenses (SG&A) by nearly 40% versus the prior-year period
* Adjusted EBITDA was $(1.2) million for the quarter, a slight improvement over the quarter ended October 31, 2007
* The Company entered into an LOI for the acquisition of Ibersolar Energía, S.A., a leading European manufacturer and supplier of solar systems, on October 21, 2008. Effective December 15, 2008, the Company and Ibersolar mutually agreed to let the LOI expire but continue to discuss strategic options that would prove beneficial to both parties
* ICP Solar recently announced a series of new business wins, including the sale of off-grid modules in Africa; the first shipments of its proprietary GreenMeter products; an agreement for the sale of Sunsei® solar chargers in Europe through the large retailer Leroy Merlin; additional sales with both Wal-Mart and Costco; and the first sales of Sunsei® vents that will be installed directly at the factory of an RV producer

“ICP Solar took aggressive steps this quarter to position the company for rapid expansion and improved operating results in 2009,” said Sass Peress, CEO. “While sales fell slightly versus last year excluding our discontinued U.K. operations, reflecting some working capital constraints, the Company has now secured over $5 million worth of new business for next year – a record this early in the season and one that clearly indicates the accelerating traction of our core Sunsei® and Coleman® products. As recently announced, we also started shipping our innovative GreenMeters® across North America, which are now performing in the field with very promising results.

(more…)

December 15, 2008

Dow Corning Announces Multi-Billion Dollar Investments to Serve Emerging Global Solar Power Industry

Filed under: DOW, GLW — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 2:00 pm

Investment provides critical raw materials to solar cell manufacturers

HEMLOCK, Mich. and CLARKSVILLE, Tenn., Dec. 15 /PRNewswire/ — Dow Corning Corporation announced today several billion dollars of investment to provide critical materials to the fast-growing solar technology industry.

“Dow Corning and our Hemlock Semiconductor joint ventures hope to create a viable solar industry that produces new, high paying jobs, clean power technologies and a revitalized economy,” said Stephanie A. Burns, Dow Corning’s chairman, president and CEO. “We’re committing our resources, know-how and technology because we are confident that solar technology represents a tremendous opportunity for both clean energy and economic growth.”

Dow Corning will begin manufacturing high purity monosilane, a key specialty gas used to manufacture thin-film solar cells and liquid crystal displays (LCDs). This investment includes construction of a new monosilane manufacturing facility in Hemlock, Michigan, adjacent to Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation’s polysilicon manufacturing site.

“This significant investment to become a leading supplier of monosilane for thin film solar technology will expand our feedstock offering and will further reinforce our position as a value-added material supplier to the solar industry,” said Eric Peeters, global executive director, of Dow Corning Solar Solutions.

The investment also includes up to $3.0 billion at Dow Corning joint ventures Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation and Hemlock Semiconductor LLC. The companies will expand Hemlock Semiconductor Corporation’s existing Michigan manufacturing facility and build a new site in Clarksville, Tennessee to increase manufacturing capacity for polycrystalline silicon (polysilicon) — the cornerstone material used to manufacture most solar cells.

Construction of both the polysilicon expansions and the new monosilane site will begin immediately.

These announcements solidify Dow Corning’s significant role in the development of the two most common types of solar cells; crystalline-based and thin-film solar cells. Crystalline-based solar cells use sliced polysilicon as its main semi-conducting material. Thin-film solar cells are made by depositing a thin film of silicon, enabled by monosilane, onto a sheet of another material such as glass.

“The opportunity and need for solar energy is so great, there will be a need for many solar technologies to flourish to meet global demand,” said Peeters. “Dow Corning intends to offer options across the entire array of solar technologies, allowing our customers to innovate freely.”

(more…)

ENER Hit By Comments From Citi, Merriman, Lazard

Filed under: ENER, FSLR, JASO, SOL, SPWR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:00 pm

Posted by Eric Savitz
Barrons.com

Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) shares are trading lower on a trio of cautious analyst comments this morning on the thin-film solar manufacturer.

* Citigroup’s Timothy Arcuri this morning cut his FY Q2 December EPS estimate to 25 cents from 36 cents, chopping his FY June 2009 estimate to $1, from $1.22. His FY 2010 estimate remains $1.06, way below the Street at $2.90. Arcuri maintains his Sell rating and $17 target. “While our checks have yet to reveal any customer successfully getting a better price from ENER, checks suggest nearly every customer is pushing hard for pricing concessions,” he says. “While larger subsidies in some European markets arguably provide some cover for pricing, we think it is a matter of time until ENER is swimming in the same shark tank as its peers who are offering much lower priced product. Pro-renewable policies from the new U.S. administration present some risk to a Sell rating, but risk/reward here remains skewed to the downside.” He says ENER “remains one of the few solars where many of our bullish Sell-Side peers continue to have their heels dug in.”

* Merriman Curhan Ford’s Brion Tanous this morning repeated his Buy rating on the stock, but cut his EPS estimate for FY 2009 to $1.55 from $1.66; for FY 2010 he goes to $3, from $3.58. Tanous said the cuts reflect tighter credit conditions. “While the company has not yet seen deterioration in its backlog, we believe the company could find some of its partners without project financing.”

* Sanjay Shrestha, an analyst with Lazard Capital, maintains his Buy rating on the stock, but this morning cut his price target to $32, from $50. He also cut his EPS estimate to $1.27 from $1.40 for FY ‘09, and to $2.10 from $2.40 for FY 2010. Citing the ongoing signs of declining prices in the sector, he also cut price targets and estimates on his other Buy rated stocks, including First Solar (FSLR), JA Solar (JASO), ReneSola (SOL) and SunPower (SPWRA). His new targets: First Solar to $140, from $210; JASO to $5, from $6; SOL to $5, from $6; and SPWRA to $40, from $65. Shrestha cautioned that “companies that are in need of cash and are highly levered will likely continue to flood the market with their product, reinforcing the downward spiral in pricing.”

Solar sector falls on price declines

Filed under: ENER, FSLR, JASO, SOL, SPWR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:44 pm

Monday December 15, 12:44 pm ET

Shares of solar companies drop as over supply and price deterioration worsens

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of solar companies slipped on Monday as prices of solar products continued their downward plunge due to a continued over supply and macroeconomic headwinds.

Shares of Energy Conservation Devices (ENER) dropped $1.15, or 5.1 percent, to $21.44 in midday trading. SunPower Corp. (SPWR) shares fell $1.31, or 4 percent, to $31.56. First Solar Inc. (FSLR) shares slid $1.29 to $115.63.

Lazard Capital Markets analyst Sanjay Shrestha cut his price targets on several solar companies citing worsening industry turbulence and accelarating price declines. He said while companies with strong liquidity will slow production until the market stabilizes, companies in need of cash will likely flood the market with their product, reinforcing the downward spiral in pricing.

Shrestha added that price declines have even reaching some high-quality cell manufacturers.

“However, we do not believe the entire solar value chain has been affected; high-quality downstream players with committed long-term contracts have likely seen modest pricing and demand declines relative to those experience by the polysilicon and cell manufacturers,” he said. Still, he added, all players in the value chain will eventually be affected in varying degrees in the future.

As fourth quarter 2008 and full-year 2009 will be hurt by these trends, Shrestha reduced his price target on “Buy” rated stocks. Shrestha lowered his price target for Energy Conversion Devices to $32 from $50 and maintained the company’s “Buy” rating, “as we believe it is one of the best turnaround solar stories.” He also cut his price target for First Solar to $140 from $210, for JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (JASO) to $5 from $6, for Renesola Ltd. (SOL) to $5 from $6 and for SunPower Corp. to $40 from $65.

Shares of JA Solar fell 3 cents to $3.01, while shares of Renesola lost 3 cents to $3.17.

Shrestha said he continues to believe that the companies that will emerge the strongest from this economic upheaval will be First Solar, Energy Conversion Devices and SunPower.

The analyst added that President-elect Barack Obama’s focus on alternative energy could brighten the solar sector and provide near-term trading opportunities for investors.

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