North Coast Solar Stocks

January 30, 2009

California ISO Symposium Sheds New Light on Integrating Solar Power

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

FOLSOM, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The California Independent System Operator Corporation (California ISO) hosted an international symposium at its Folsom headquarters to learn more about how to reduce barriers for solar power projects hoping to compete in the ISO energy markets. The gathering of more than 175 participants, many in person and others via phone and webcast, focused on better production forecasting for large solar power plants.

“Solar power is fast becoming a viable competitor to conventional power plants,” said ISO Senior Policy Issues Representative Jim Blatchford. “We learned from the wind industry that good forecasting makes it much easier to manage the ups and downs of wind production. We want to apply that same lesson to solar generation.”

Blatchford notes, however, that forecasting the sun is different than forecasting the wind. “Some of the tools will be the same, but there will be some significant differences, too. This symposium is helping us identify and develop the right forecasting tools before several thousand megawatts of new solar production come on line.”

One participant at the solar symposium, BrightSource Energy based in Oakland California, plans to develop more than 4,000 megawatts of solar thermal generation in California and Nevada. “The Mohave Desert is one of the best places in the world for solar thermal power,” said Senior Director of Transmission Bob Stuart. “There is an immense capacity there. And we’re very pleased the ISO convened this meeting because the end result should be a better understanding for all of us how solar power can participate and compete in California.”

The California ISO is committed to helping the state meets its’ Renewables Portfolio Standard (RPS). The current goal of 20 percent will likely be increased to 33 percent. That is driving a large expansion of wind, solar and other renewable power resources. Wind and solar are intermittent resources, meaning electricity production can vary with the weather.

The California ISO is responsible for keeping the supply in constant balance with the demand for electricity. Demand constantly fluctuates with the weather, the time of day, the season and many other variables. California ISO systems read the grid every four seconds and adjust the energy supply to keep pace with demand. With more wind and solar coming on line, the supply side will also fluctuate. Accurate and timely forecasts of power production from these intermittent generators can help reduce the impact on grid operations.

“We learned a lot from this symposium,” said Grant Rosenblum, manager of renewable integration at the California ISO. “There are several distinct types of solar generation and each one has different operating and forecasting characteristics. We need to allow for those differences as we work to accommodate more solar and more renewables in general.”

The California ISO is a not-for-profit public benefit corporation charged with managing the flow of electricity along California’s open-market wholesale power grid. The mission of the California ISO is to safeguard the reliable delivery of electricity, and ensure equal access to 25,000 circuit miles of “electron highway.” As the impartial operator of the wholesale power grid in the state, the California ISO conducts a small portion of the bulk power markets. These markets are used to allocate space on the transmission lines, maintain operating reserves and match supply with demand in real time.

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Carlisle Energy Services and Energy Conversion Devices to Deliver Photovoltaic Systems for Commercial Roofs

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , — Jason @ 12:00 pm

Friday January 30, 12:00 pm ET

CARLISLE, Pa., Jan. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Carlisle Energy Services, a newly formed division of Carlisle Construction Materials and a leading manufacturer of energy-efficient single-ply roofing systems, and Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ENER), a manufacturer of proprietary, thin-film amorphous silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) laminates announced that they have reached a multi-year agreement for ECD to supply its UNI-SOLAR® laminates to Carlisle Energy Services.

According to John Altmeyer, CEO of Carlisle Construction Materials, “UNI-SOLAR® products are a natural fit for both our EPDM and TPO single-ply roof systems and our extensive network of certified installers, as they can be readily adhered to the rooftop without the need for special equipment. Furthermore, these products contain no glass, operate in low-light situations and offer excellent performance in high temperatures, allowing Carlisle to offer an ideal solution for regions where traditional rooftop PV systems have been prohibited or excluded due to inclement climatic conditions.”

“As an expert in rooftops and roofing, Carlisle is an excellent new partner for Uni-Solar in the United States. We believe the United States marketplace has excellent growth potential, and we look forward to growing our U.S. business with Carlisle as we continue to grow our position as the leader in rooftop and building integrated PV products,” said Mark Morelli, president and CEO of Energy Conversion Devices.

At less than one pound per square foot, UNI-SOLAR® laminates are lightweight and non-intrusive and require no rooftop penetrations or mounting systems, eliminating the negative impact on roof life and performance that is associated with penetrating PV systems. Additionally, these thin-film PV laminates provide a solid return on investment through a low installed cost and low cost-per-kilowatt-hour of energy produced when compared to traditional rigid glass panel PV alternatives.

Carlisle Energy Services will offer a number of services in conjunction with the sales and distribution of its PV products, including: complete system design and monitoring, 20-year single-source warranty on all system components and comprehensive service options throughout the life of the system.

About Carlisle Energy Services

Carlisle Energy Services is a newly formed division of Carlisle Construction Materials. Headquartered in Carlisle, PA, Carlisle Construction Materials has been manufacturing single-ply membrane roofing systems for more than 45 years. To date, Carlisle has produced more than 15 billion square feet of roofing membrane. Carlisle is a business segment of Carlisle Companies Incorporated (CSL) and has twenty-six manufacturing facilities in the United States. For more information, visit http://www.carlisle-syntec.com.

Solar Power, Inc. Receives Follow-on Order from German Solar Integrator

Filed under: SOPW — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 10:49 am

Friday January 30, 10:49 am ET

Trial Order of Solar Power, Inc.s Solar Modules in 2008 Leads to $1.7 Million Order for Delivery in First Quarter.

ROSEVILLE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solar Power, Inc. (“SPI”) (SOPW), a vertically integrated designer, manufacturer, and installer of photovoltaic (“PV”) energy systems announced today that it has received an additional order from a German solar integrator for the company’s 200-watt solar modules. On January 6th, SPI announced that an initial supply of the modules was shipped to the integrator during December, 2008. The initial product supply was well received from a quality and performance perspective, forming the basis for the order now in place.

“This order is significant as SPI continues to aggressively develop inroads into the European market,” said Bradley Ferrell, President of SPI’s Commercial Sales Division. “Our customer was obviously very happy with the performance and quality of our products in their initial trials, and has elected to engage with us on an ongoing basis. We believe our recent IEC certification and this order provide validation for our global sales, marketing and product development strategies. As a leading manufacturer and supplier in the world market for PV energy systems, we also believe our product quality and innovations, uniquely position us to continue to build global market share,” Mr. Ferrell concluded.

Product innovations and a growing body of well known commercial clientele continue to distinguish SPI. In 2007, SPI introduced its minimal or non-penetrating SkyMountTM commercial racking system for commercial roof-mounted arrays. SkyMount was most recently used at The STAPLES Center and the Nokia Theatre Live in Los Angeles, enabling the installation of more than 2,500 solar modules in just one week. SPI’s Peaq´TM elevated solar array systems, introduced earlier this month, now provides commercial enterprises with a means to significantly extend the footprint available to them for PV solar arrays in order to meet both financial and energy generation goals, while providing customers protection from heat and inclement weather.

January 29, 2009

SunPower Reports Record Fourth-Quarter and Fiscal Year 2008 Results

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

Thursday January 29, 4:05 pm ET

– Generated fourth quarter 2008 revenue of $401 million, up 79% year-on-year
– Recorded fiscal year 2008 revenue of $1.43 billion, up 85% year-on-year
– Achieved fourth quarter 2008 GAAP net income per share of $0.35, $0.70 non-GAAP
– Announced two multi-year agreements with European integrators totaling 230 megawatts
– Added more than 350 residential and small-commercial dealers worldwide in 2008
– Appointed Dennis Arriola as the company’s new chief financial officer
– Maintained strong liquidity with over $436 million in cash and investments
– Expects fiscal year 2009 revenue of $1.6 billion to $2.0 billion

SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — SunPower Corporation (SPWRA, SPWRB) today announced record financial results for its 2008 fourth quarter and fiscal year, which ended Dec. 28, 2008. Revenue for the 2008 fourth quarter was $401 million and compares to $378 million in the third-quarter of 2008 and $224 million in the fourth-quarter of last year. The Components and Systems segments accounted for 56% and 44% of fourth-quarter revenue, respectively.

“Our fourth-quarter performance reflects the continued strength of our vertically integrated business model, broad channel reach and geographic diversification,” said Tom Werner, SunPower’s CEO. “Our flexible model enables us to rapidly deploy our solutions across multiple geographies, especially in our worldwide dealer network where we continue to see strong demand both in the United States and Europe. Our Systems business also executed well in the fourth quarter as we commissioned dozens of large scale solar projects globally.”

On a GAAP basis for the 2008 fourth quarter, SunPower reported gross margin of 27.9%, total operating income of $55 million and net income per diluted share of $0.35.

On a non-GAAP basis, adjusted to exclude non-cash charges for amortization of intangible assets of $4.2 million and stock-based compensation of $18.2 million, SunPower reported total gross margin of 29.9%, operating income of $77.5 million and net income per diluted share of $0.70. This compares with prior-quarter non-GAAP gross margin of 29.2%, total operating income of $73 million and $0.58 net income per diluted share. For the 2008 fourth quarter, Components segment gross margin was 35.6% and Systems segment gross margin was 22.7%. The company’s GAAP and Non-GAAP fourth-quarter results include a $6.3 million, or $0.07 net income per diluted share, foreign currency gain related to its Korean joint venture.

“Long-term solar market fundamentals remain in place and we are encouraged by the commitment to renewable energy by President Obama and Congressional leadership,” continued Werner. “Given these factors, we are well positioned to take advantage of growing global demand for solar this year and in the future, despite uncertainty in today’s economic and credit environment.”

2009 Guidance

The company expects the following fiscal year 2009 non-GAAP results: total revenue of $1.6 billion to $2.0 billion, net income per diluted share of $2.20 to $2.80(1) and production capacity of more than 450 megawatts.

“The long-term solar industry fundamentals remain very positive and the company’s 2009 sales pipeline is made up of identifiable customers and projects,” said Dennis Arriola, SunPower’s chief financial officer. “Given the continuing weak credit environment, our ability to meet the high-end of the revenue and earnings-per-share ranges will be dependent on improved access to the project financing markets. We expect our first-half of 2009 performance to be materially affected by seasonal factors and the continuing impact of the credit crisis.”

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Trina Solar Signs Sales Agreement With GA Solar

Filed under: TSL — Tags: , , — Jason @ 9:30 am

Thursday January 29, 9:30 am ET

CHANGZHOU, China, Jan. 29 /PRNewswire-Asia-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, today announced that its subsidiary, Changzhou Trina Solar Energy Co., Ltd., entered into a sales agreement with Spanish customer Gestamp Asetym Solar, S.L. (“GA Solar”). The agreement was signed during the recent World Future Energy Summit 2009 in Abu Dhabi, held on January 19-21.

Under the terms of this agreement, Trina Solar will supply GA Solar between 20 to 36 MW of PV modules for one year at pre-determined prices. Shipments under this agreement have recently been initiated.

“We are excited to have entered into this sales agreement which affirms our successful long-term supply partnership with GA Solar in the past,” stated Mr. Arturo Herrero, Vice-President of Sales & Marketing of Trina Solar. “GA Solar’s plan to implement new solar projects in markets such as Italy, Greece, the United States and the Middle East will be supported by their parent company’s presence in over twenty countries, and we believe that our experience in working with PV system integrators can play an important part in GA’s expansion plan.”

“This agreement reinforces and confirms the strategic alliance between both companies,” declared Mr. Jose Maria Rodriguez Paraja, Strategic Development Director of GA Solar. “This association assures a high quality technical solution that will enable us to successfully approach diverse PV markets worldwide, thereby assuring our needed requirements are fulfilled in terms of reliability, competitiveness and excellence proven by Trina Solar in our recent years of partnership.”

About GA Solar

A subsidiary of Corporacion Gestamp, GA Solar is a developer of large solar energy projects, from planning to execution of the projects with more than 150 MW achieved. The company also specializes in the design, manufacture and installation of both fixed and adjustable solar structures. GA Solar has offices in Madrid and Murcia, Spain, as well as in Rome, Italy and the United States. For further information please visit http://www.ga-solar.com.

January 28, 2009

EPRI to evaluate solar energy for power plants

Filed under: none — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 5:28 pm

1/28/2009 8:28:09 PM GMT

PALO ALTO, CALIF.:The Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) will lead two projects to help electric power companies add solar energy to fossil-fueled electric power plants, reducing fuel costs and plant emissions.

Dynegy Inc. (DYN) and NV Energy (NVE) will host case studies at their natural gas combined cycle facilities with project participants including Salt River Project, Southern Company (SO) and Progress Energy (PGN).

Both projects involve adding steam generated by a solar thermal field to a conventional fossil fuel-powered steam cycle, either to offset some of the coal or natural gas required to generate electric power or to boost overall plant power output. The projects will be conducted in parallel, with one focused on natural gas plant technologies and the other on coal plant technologies.

As part of the natural gas project, case studies will be conducted at Dynegy’s Griffith Energy Facility in Kingman, Ariz., and at NV Energy’s Chuck Lenzie Generating Station near Las Vegas.

“These projects will demonstrate a near-term and cost-effective way to use large amounts of solar energy at commercial scale to provide clean electric power,” said Bryan Hannegan, vice president of Environment and Generation at EPRI.

“These ‘hybrid power plants’ will combine the low-cost reliability of existing fossil power plants with the environmental benefit of renewables, and help companies meet federal and state mandates to reduce their emissions of air pollutants and greenhouse gases with renewable energy.”

Currently, 27 states in the U.S. have enacted renewable portfolio standard policies. Some include specific mandates that a percentage of the requirement be met with solar energy. However, most current solar applications are not cost-competitive with other power generating options. Using solar to augment coal or natural gas potentially is the lowest-cost option for adding solar power to the generation fleet, as it utilizes existing plant assets.

And because the highest-intensity solar energy typically is within a few hours of peak summer loads, it makes solar augmented steam cycles a particularly attractive renewable energy option.

These projects will provide a conceptual design study and two detailed case studies. Design options to retrofit existing plants will be analyzed and new plant design options will be identified. EPRI will rely on its expertise in solar technologies, steam cycles, and plant operation, as well as past solar and fossil plant studies. EPRI holds two patents in solar steam cycle optimization.

Hoku Scientific, Inc. Reports Third Quarter Fiscal Year 2009 Results

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 4:10 pm

Wednesday January 28, 4:10 pm ET

HONOLULU, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Jan 28, 2009 — Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), a materials science company focused on clean energy technologies, today announced its financial results for the third quarter ended December 31, 2008 and provided a general update on its business.

Financial Results

Revenue for the quarters ended December 31, 2008 and 2007 was $767,000 and $1.3 million, respectively, derived primarily from photovoltaic, or PV, system installation contracts. As of December 31, 2008 and March 31, 2008, deferred revenue of $12,000 and $36,000, respectively, was attributable to PV system installation projects and related service contracts.

Net loss, computed in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the quarter ended December 31, 2008 was $863,000, or $0.04 per diluted share, compared to $538,000, or $0.03 per diluted share, for the same period in fiscal 2008.

Non-GAAP net loss for the quarter ended December 31, 2008 was $646,000, or $0.03 per diluted share, compared to $274,000, or $0.01 per diluted share, for the same period in fiscal 2008. Non-GAAP net loss for the quarters ended December 31, 2008 and 2007 excludes non-cash stock-based compensation of $217,000 and $264,000, respectively. The accompanying schedules provide a reconciliation of net loss per share computed on a GAAP basis to net loss per share computed on a non-GAAP basis.

Dustin Shindo, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific, said, “Broader economic conditions had some effect on our PV system installation business during the third quarter of fiscal 2009 and are expected to continue to affect our sales in the quarter to come. However, in terms of aggregate capacity, we expect to install more than 1.4 megawatts of PV systems in fiscal 2009, compared to approximately 0.2 megawatts in fiscal 2008.”

Mr. Shindo continued, “Regarding the financing for our power purchase agreements with the State of Hawaii Department of Transportation, we had previously expected to sell our turnkey PV systems directly to a third-party investor, who would have also assumed ownership of the associated power purchase agreements. Instead, we elected to enter into a joint venture with UFA Renewable Fund I, LLC to finance the design and installation of these PV systems. This approach remains consistent with our cash management strategy for the construction of our polysilicon production facility, and allows us to participate in the cash flows from the sale of power to DOT over the twenty-year duration of the PPAs. However, it does not allow us to recognize revenue from the sale of these PV systems. As a result, we now expect to recognize approximately $5 million in revenues in fiscal 2009.”

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Ascent Solar Receives Governors Excellence in Renewable Energy Award

Filed under: ASTI — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 12:15 pm

Wednesday January 28, 12:15 pm ET

LITTLETON, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (ASTI), a developer of state of the art flexible thin-film solar modules, announced today the company has received the 2008 Governor’s Excellence in Renewable Energy (GERE) Award for the Large Business category.

The second annual “Governor’s Excellence in Renewable Energy Awards” recognizes individuals, businesses, institutions and nonprofits that are advancing renewable energy in outstanding ways in Colorado, announced The Governor’s Energy Office (GEO).

The awards were created to honor outstanding contributions that provide clean power through the promotion, usage, implementation and technology development of renewable energy in Colorado.

“Congratulations to Ascent Solar for their tremendous progress and innovation in advancing solar technologies,” said Gov. Ritter. “Colorado’s New Energy Economy is recognized as a leader thanks to Ascent Solar, which is helping to grow clean energy solutions and good jobs for our state and country.”

“Ascent Solar is extremely proud and honored to receive this prestigious award from Governor Ritter. Our team has worked very hard and faced many challenges over the years developing and expanding our business to create innovative solar products. Our goal is to bring our thin film solar products to the market as we commercialize our 1.5 MW line in Littleton and our 30 MW line under construction in Thornton,” stated Dr. Mohan Misra, Chairman and CEO of Ascent Solar

Applied Materials Urges Quick Action on President Obamas Reinvestment Plan

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

Wednesday January 28, 11:00 am ET

WASHINGTON–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials (AMAT), the world’s leading nanomanufacturing technology solutions provider, announced that its president and CEO Mike Splinter met with President Obama and CEOs of several of America’s largest companies at the White House today to discuss the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In the discussion, Mr. Splinter focused his remarks on key aspects of the clean technology agenda, including incentives for solar energy adoption as a way to create new jobs as the new administration and both houses of Congress look to reinvigorate and stimulate the United States economy.

“Structured and implemented in the right way, the recovery package can be much more than just an interim financial rescue plan,” said Splinter. “Wise investment today can lead to a much brighter future for America by putting in place the foundation on which to build a stronger and more competitive economy.”

Splinter specifically pointed to three actions related to solar energy that are now under consideration as part of the recovery package that could rapidly help to create hundreds of thousands of jobs in the United States.

1. Provide for short-term refundability of the federal solar investment tax credit as well as new tax incentives to locate solar manufacturing facilities in the U.S., and encourage expansion of the renewable technology manufacturing base in this country.
2. Require the adoption of renewable and solar energy sources for federal properties which would have an almost immediate impact since the Federal government spends almost $6 billion annually on electricity. Congress should make $10 billion available immediately to the Federal Energy Management Program to invest in the construction and operation of solar installations in order to power federal buildings and lands. In addition, increase the Energy Department’s annual Solar Technologies Program R&D budget to $300 million and increase overall R&D spending. This combined investment has the potential not only to lower electricity bills, but also to reduce carbon emissions, and put thousands of people to work.
3. Enhance the innovative renewable technology loan guarantee program with the ultimate goal of creating a clean energy bank that would provide low- or no-cost financing for solar and other renewable projects and accelerate commercial deployment of renewable energy projects.

“Along with bridges and roads, President Obama has made it clear that he believes strongly in the value of building a 21st Century technological infrastructure that includes items like building out a new “smart-grid” for transmitting electricity and broadband digital networks for high speed communications,” said Splinter.

“President Obama is showing great leadership in energy and we are excited to see that his vision for a new America includes real change in the way we generate energy,” added Splinter. “The President’s objective to reduce reliance on fossil fuels by harnessing the power of the sun can be realized through solar technology and products that we are innovating and manufacturing here in this country. This could create thousands of new jobs and ultimately change the global energy equation.”

German renewable sector aims to triple market share

Filed under: none — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 5:10 am

Wed Jan 28, 2009 5:10am EST

FRANKFURT, Jan 28 (Reuters) – Germany’s renewable energy sector aims to triple its share of power generation to 47 percent by 2020, the BEE industry association said on Wednesday.

Its share stood at 15.1 percent in 2008, largely because of state subsidies.

Energy industry associations are jostling for position ahead of general elections in September. The composition of the next government will shape future support for the industry.

BEE President Dietmar Schuetz said that provided the right political decisions were made, his sector could provide a reliable 278 terawatt hours (TWh) of electricity in 2020 compared with 93 TWh in 2008.

“Energy from wind, biomass, hydro, solar and geothermal sources will be the overriding element of our power supply,” he said in a statement issued ahead of a Berlin news conference.

“We will be turning power production upside down. Conventional power plants will complement the supply only on request. Fuel imports and carbon dioxide emissions will be cut.”

The sector’s optimism is in contrast to fears of thermal power station lobbies.

The latter have warned of power supply gaps if coal-fired and nuclear generation plants run into conflict with costly political demands to cut CO2 emissions or as in the case of nuclear plants to shut them permanently.

They have also highlighted the need to cut Germany’s dependency on imported gas.

The BEE said reliable green power supply was already possible as the plants were flexible enough.

BEE board member Ralf Bischof said there were already 10 Gigawatt (GW) of pumped storage plants on standby as well as 9 GW of biogas and wood-based plants.

These could, at times of unexpected supply cuts and peak demand, already provide emergency power at the touch of a button, he said.

Analysts say all this hinges on the continuation of subsidies, which have been securing high prices and mandatory usage of renewables and therefore spurred the sector’s growth.

The BEE strategy also depends on the development of novel load management facilities and power storage as well as a wider sharing of hydroelectricity across Europe, which would involve bigger grids to move power volumes around.

January 27, 2009

Entech Solar Announces New Ticker Symbol

Filed under: ENSL — Tags: , — Jason @ 3:11 pm

Tuesday January 27, 3:11 pm ET

FORT WORTH, Texas–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Entech Solar (WWAT.OB), a leader in concentrating solar energy systems, today announced that the Company’s ticker symbol will change to ENSL.OB from WWAT.OB, effective January 28, 2009. This follows the Company’s recent name change, reflecting its commitment to commercializing Entech’s proprietary ThermaVolt™ system. Entech Solar will continue to trade on the over-the-counter (OTC) Bulletin Board under the new ticker.

Suntech and Standard Solar Reach 5 Megawatt Solar Panel Supply Agreement

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

Tuesday January 27, 8:00 am ET

Agreement strengthens both companies’ ability to respond to President Obama’s call to ‘harness the sun’

SAN FRANCISCO and GAITHERSBURG, Md., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s leading manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules, and Standard Solar, Inc. are looking forward to powering cleaner energy solutions throughout the Mid-Atlantic U.S. under a new agreement by which Suntech will supply up to 5 megawatts of photovoltaic solar panels to the Maryland-based solar developer and installer during 2009.

“Partnering with Suntech, a top-tier manufacturer offering a broad assortment of high-quality solar panels, better equips Standard Solar to fulfill its rapidly growing customer requirements from New Jersey and Pennsylvania to North Carolina and Virginia,” said Scott Wiater, Vice President of Procurement at Standard Solar.

“Suntech looks forward to partnering with Standard Solar in supplying cleaner, cost-effective solutions to businesses, government agencies and homeowners. In addition to reducing the dependence on highly polluting fossil fuels, we believe that the solar industry can also help to generate new domestic, green jobs,” said Roger Efird, President, Suntech America, Inc.

In his address after taking the oath of office and becoming the nation’s 44th President, Barack Obama called for Americans to “harness the sun . . . to meet the demands of a new age.”

“This agreement,” said Standard Solar President and Chief Executive Officer Anthony Clifford, “strengthens our ability to respond to this challenge. We cannot agree more with our new President when he added from the West front of the U.S. Capitol: “All this we can do. And all this we will do.”

Standard Solar looks forward to deploying Suntech’s high-quality panels in solar solutions that deliver cost-effective power. Recently, Standard Solar helped Kelly & Sons Electrical Construction source its electricity supply through a power purchase agreement with Washington Gas Energy Services. Find more information about this power purchase agreement at http://www.standardsolar.com/News-and-Events/Press-Releases.aspx .

Suntech recently achieved 1 gigawatt of global solar panel production capacity. In doing so, it completed an 18,000 square meter, 1 megawatt solar facade — the world’s largest to date — at its new world headquarters in Wuxi, China. You can find a photo of this precedent-setting application on Suntech’s website at http://www.suntech-power.com under Press: Press Assets.

About Standard Solar

Standard Solar is a full-service, turnkey solar system developer and integrator specializing in residential and commercial solar power installations in Maryland and the surrounding states. With hundreds of installations to date, Standard Solar is well-positioned to meet the growing demand for clean technologies and renewable sources of energy. The company has added more than 50 green collar jobs in the past year. For more information, please visit: http://www.StandardSolar.com.

ReneSola Signs RMB800 Million Project Loan Agreement with China Construction Bank for Sichuan Polysilicon Production Facility

Filed under: SOL — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 7:43 am

Tuesday January 27, 7:43 am ET

JIASHAN, China, Jan. 27 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — ReneSola Ltd (SOL), a leading Chinese manufacturer of solar wafers, today announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Sichuan ReneSola Material Co. Ltd. signed a RMB800 million (approximately US$117 million) five-year project loan agreement with China Construction Bank, Sichuan Branch to support the construction of ReneSola’s polysilicon production facility in Meishan, Sichuan province.

“We are pleased to announce that we’ve secured additional financing for our Sichuan polysilicon manufacturing facility,” said Charles Bai, ReneSola’s chief financial officer. “The agreement, combined with previously acquired financing, provides ReneSola with approximately 90% of the capital necessary to fund the project to completion. Our ability to secure capital in a tight credit environment demonstrates confidence in the development and operation of our polysilicon facility and faith in our management team’s track record of delivering positive results.”

The Company noted that pilot production for phase one of its Sichuan polysilicon manufacturing facility is expected to commence late in the second quarter of 2009 and phase two pilot production is expected to commence late in the third quarter of 2009. Each phase will consist of 1,500 metric tones (“MT”) of polysilicon production. As part of the Company’s long-term strategy, the 3,000 MT Sichuan facility will provide ReneSola with a stable and low-cost source of polysilicon feedstock, enhancing its position as a leading wafer producer within the industry.”

Solar Power, Inc. Announces Peaq´ Solar Shade Structure

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

Tuesday January 27, 6:00 am ET

Modular Elevated Shade Structure Generates Solar Power, Shades Vehicles in Parking Lots, Costs Same as Rooftop System

ROSEVILLE, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Solar Power, Inc. (“SPI”) (SOPW), a vertically integrated designer, manufacturer, and installer of photovoltaic (“PV”) energy systems, today announced the introduction of its latest product, a modular elevated solar shade structure system called Peaq´™. The new product offers a striking design, innovative kit-build installation, and a price tag comparable to rooftop installations. Peaq´ elevated solar array systems provide commercial enterprises with a means to significantly extend the footprint available to them for PV solar arrays in order to meet both financial and energy generation goals.

Solar Power, Inc.’s Peaq´ has been designed to transform parking lots into appealing areas that not only generate clean solar energy, but also provide a variety of other benefits. Peaq´’s unique design delivers shaded parking for vehicles, increased comfort for visitors, and facilitates infrastructure for electric vehicle charging. The Peaq´ system also includes highly efficient, under-canopy LED lighting. This feature provides exceptional night time security by delivering light at three times the normal parking lot lighting levels without creating “light pollution” in the night sky. By virtue of its shading feature, Peaq´ also helps to reduce the negative heat-islanding effect open areas of asphalt have on the environment. The Peaq´ system is sealed to provide a dry under-canopy area during inclement weather.

The price point for solar carports and shade structures has historically been much higher than that of rooftop systems. Solar Power, Inc.’s Peaq´ system, with its unique design attributes, is available for most applications at a price point approaching that of rooftop systems and at parity with electrical utility costs in many market areas. SPI will manufacture Peaq´ system components and pre-assemble subsystems at its factory in order to achieve the best possible price.

“Product innovation is a central part of our company’s mission,” said Steve Kircher, CEO for Solar Power, Inc. “Peaq´ is not only innovative; it is also an example of how we deliver adaptable products and services that increase global accessibility to clean energy from the sun. The Peaq´ product is consistent with that mission because it creates opportunities for greater use of parking lots to generate clean electricity.”

January 26, 2009

BioSolar Prepared for Industry Growth Following Obama Inauguration Highlighting Dramatic ‘Green Energy’ Agenda

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

Monday January 26, 6:05 am ET

SANTA CLARITA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–BioSolar, Inc. (BSRC), developer of a breakthrough technology to produce bio-based materials from renewable plant sources that reduce the cost of photovoltaic solar cells, continues to sustain media attention for its cost-saving and environmentally-friendly BioBacksheet™ solar module component.

BioSolar “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 and the January 9 edition of Energy Weekly News.

“With the new administration ready to push for legislation requiring the use of more alternative energy, solar energy companies, finishing a year of record growth in 2008, are expected to gain even more momentum,” said Dr. David Lee, CEO of BioSolar. “Companies like BioSolar are uniquely poised for growth in this climate.”

With growth and investment in the solar industry, manufacturers are constantly looking for ways to reduce solar module costs and increase efficiencies. Currently being readied for production, the BioBacksheet is expected to cost less than its petroleum-based counterpart used in solar panels. In addition, BioSolar recently developed a new material configuration and manufacturing technique to produce another patent-pending version of BioBacksheet that can potentially deliver a dramatic reduction in cost in the future.

Yingli Green Energy Enters Into Credit Agreement for a Three-Year Loan Facility With ADM Capital

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:00 am

Monday January 26, 4:00 am ET

BAODING, China, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire-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 one of its wholly-owned subsidiaries has entered into a credit agreement for a three-year loan facility with a fund managed by Asia Debt Management Hong Kong Limited (“ADM Capital”) to secure additional financing for its business expansion.

Pursuant to a credit agreement entered into between Yingli Energy (China) Company Limited (“Yingli China”), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Company located in Baoding, China, as the borrower, and ADM Capital, as the lender, ADM Capital has agreed to provide a three-year loan facility of up to US$80.0 million to Yingli China for its production capacity expansion and general corporate use. The loan will accrue interest of 12% per annum (payable semi-annually) and is expected to be available for drawdown in one lump sum at any time up to 85 days from the date of the agreement (or such later date as agreed by ADM Capital), subject to the obtaining of certain governmental approvals and satisfaction of other customary closing conditions. Under the terms of the agreement, the lenders may also require Yingli China to prepay the loan in part or in full if Yingli Green Energy fails to meet certain agreed consolidated operating and financial targets.

“This loan facility will provide us with valuable support in these times of continued turmoil in the global financial markets and is expected to further strengthen our ability to complete our expansion plan as scheduled,” commented Mr. Zongwei Li, Chief Financial Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “We believe this new financing demonstrates ADM Capital’s confidence in our leading position in the industry and the growth potential of our fully integrated business model.”

“ADM Capital has a long track record of investing in China and the Asian region,” stated Grace Tan, a member of ADM Capital’s investment committee. “We are very excited at the prospects of our partnership with Yingli Green Energy and the outlook for its solar energy business.”

Yingli China’s repayment obligations under the agreement will be guaranteed by the Company, Baoding Tianwei Yingli New Energy Resources Co., Ltd (the Company’s principal operating subsidiary in China) and Ms. Qing Miao, Director of Investor Relations of the Company and daughter of Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the Company, and will be secured by certain collateral provided by affiliates of Yingli Green Energy. The collateral includes, among others, a pledge by Yingli Power Holding Company Ltd., a company controlled by Mr. Liansheng Miao and the controlling shareholder of the Company, of a fixed number of ordinary shares of the Company it holds (with no obligation to deliver additional shares of collateral nor any default tied to the trading price of the American depositary shares of Yingli Green Energy) and a pledge by Cyber Power Group Limited (“Cyber Power”), a recently acquired, wholly-owned subsidiary of the Company, of all its equity interest in its Hong Kong subsidiary through which Cyber Power wholly owns Fine Silicon Co., Ltd., a development stage enterprise located in Baoding, China which plans to begin production of solar-grade polysilicon in the second half of 2009.

(more…)

First Solar Applauds International Renewable Energy Initiative

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

Monday January 26, 3:00 am ET

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today applauded the creation of the new International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) as an important step in promoting investments in renewable energies worldwide.

IRENA is an international organization created to promote renewable energy options on a global scale. This ambitious initiative will offer both industrialized and developing nations advice and support when seeking renewable energy solutions.

“The creation of IRENA sends a clear signal to markets worldwide that renewable energy will be a public policy priority for many years to come and shows that policy makers are serious about fighting global warming,” said Mike Ahearn, CEO of First Solar. “We encourage the United States and all other nations that have not yet committed to join IRENA and to actively support its vision of a more sustainable environment for future generations.”

It is IRENA’s goal to become the main driving force in promoting widespread sustainability. The agency plans to aid nations in accessing relevant information and reliable data on the renewable energy industry. IRENA will also help countries improve their regulatory frameworks and build their renewable energy capacity.

“The level of international support for IRENA shows that the need to invest in alternatives to fossil fuels is as important for developing countries as it is for developed countries,” Ahearn said. “We expect IRENA to become a powerful force in identifying and promoting best practices and thereby help governments and private investors optimize their investments in renewable energies.”

The agency plans to cooperate with other organizations that are already active in the renewable energy field in order to complement their initiatives. The Founding Conference for IRENA, where the Treaty will be signed, will be held today in Bonn, Germany.

January 23, 2009

A Silver Lining At Suntech

Filed under: HOKU, STP — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 9:00 pm

Carl Gutierrez, 01.23.09, 09:00 PM EST

Solar module maker has better-than-expected sales in Q4

These are hard times for Suntech Power Holdings (STP), the Wuxi, China-based maker of solar modules, but the fourth quarter was a little less rough than the company had thought.

On Friday the Chinese solar module maker said its fourth-quarter sales would range from $405.0 million tp $420.0 million when it reports its results on Feb. 18. The outlook is above its previous range of $345.0 million and $360.0 million, and tops Wall Street’s prediction of $357.7 million.

The better-than-expected sales won’t make the company terribly profitable, however. Stung by overexuberant purchases of polysilcon, the raw material for the modules it makes for solar power systems, Suntech Power Holdings now finds itself with supplies worth $46.0 million to $58.0 million less than what it paid ahead of a price collapse. At best, it will have a piddly gross profit margin of 2.0% and it might have a margin of negative 1.0%, depending on the final size of the charge.

It also has some overvalued holdings in polysilicon supplies that will require an adjustment to its books. The company will have to take a charge of $49.0 million to $52.0 million from its investments in Ntiol Solar and Hoku Materials (HOKU), reflecting the diminished values of the polysilicon suppliers. Suntech bought a $100.0 million stake in Nitol, a Russian company, starting about a year ago. It has 11.0%, or 2.3 million shares, of Hoku, which it purchased in February for $20.0 million and which is now worth $11.0 million.

A silver lining in the recent distaste for solar companies: Suntech was able to buy in $93.8 million worth of convertible notes for $61.0 million. It ended the fourth quarter with cash and equivalents of about $508.0 million. As the company is modestly profitable on an operating basis, it should be able to ride out the current economic turmoil.

Friday’s announcement also comes a week after Suntech said it was cutting about 800 jobs and suspending the hiring of a further 2,000 new staff due to the difficult economic environment. It also suspended a plan to expand capacity by 40.0% in 2009 due to weak demand.

The falling price of silicon is old news, apparently the better-than-expected sales were new. Investors bid the stock’s value up 1.4%, or 12 cents, to a close of $8.90. Still, over the past year Suntech stock has lost 83.4% of its value. Solar stocks are notorious for dramatic swings, having reached hysterical heights when the market was hot, and then crashing when thing went bad.

Suntech’s founder and chief executive, Zhengrong Shi, owned 56.9 million shares of the company. When Suntech’s stock traded at its peak of around $85.00 in late-2007, Shi’s stake was worth $4.8 billion. As of Friday’s closing price, the value has fallen 89.5% to $506.4 million.

Utilities turn to thin-film solar for big power

Filed under: EIX, FSLR, PCG, SPWR, SRE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:48 pm

By Todd Woody
Green Wombat

With Big Solar thermal power plants bogged down in bureaucracy and facing environmental and financial hurdles, utilities are turning to smaller-scale thin-film solar stations that can be built in a matter of months.

In late December, PG&E (PCG), for instance, signed a 20-year contract for electricity generated from a 10-megawatt thin-film solar power plant in Nevada owned by energy giant Sempra (SRE) that was officially dedicated on Thursday. The solar farm was built by First Solar (FSLR) in a scant six months. Meanwhile, the utility’s nearly two gigawatts worth of deals with solar thermal power companies won’t start producing power for another two years at the earliest. (Southern California Edison (EIX) and San Diego Gas & Electric signed agreements with solar dish developer Stirling Energy Systems for 1.75 gigawatts in 2005 and those projects are just now beginning to move through the regulatory approval process.) And the financial crisis has made it more difficult for solar thermal developers to obtain the billions of dollars needed to finance the construction of a massive megawatt power plant.

Solar thermal power plants typically use miles of mirrors to heat a fluid to create steam which drives an electricity-generating turbine. Photovoltaic (or PV) solar farms essentially take solar panels similar to those found on residential rooftops and mount them on the ground in huge arrays. (Thin-film solar panels are made by depositing layers of photovoltaic materials on glass or flexible materials.)

“In terms of construction, photovoltaic tends to have a much faster development and construction track,” Roy Kuga, PG&E’s vice president for energy supply, told Green Wombat. “There is a segment of mid-sized projects – in the two to 20 megawatt size – where PV shows a distinct advantage in that market. There’s a huge potential for the PV market to expand.”

That’s good news for companies like First Solar – the Tempe, Ariz.-based company backed by the Walton family that is often called the Google of solar for its stock price and market prowess – and SunPower (SPWRA), the Silicon Valley solar cell maker that’s moved into the power plant-building business.

The speed at which the Sempra-First Solar project went online owes much to the fact that it was built on the site of an existing fossil fuel power plant. “It was already permitted for power generation, transmission existed and it did not have to go through the laborious California permitting process,” says Reese Tisdale, a solar analyst with Emerging Energy Research. “As such, First Solar was able to essentially plug and play.”

Nathaniel Bullard, a solar analyst with New Energy Finance, says he expects utilities increasingly to bet on smaller-scale photovoltaic farms to help meet state mandates to obtain a growing percentage of their electricity from renewable sources. Just this week, PG&E CEO Peter Darbee said his utility plans to invest in solar power plant projects rather than just buy the power they produce.

“I think a utility could easily integrate, technically and financially, 100 megawatts of PV,” Bullard says. If something is falling behind on your big solar thermal projects, you can plug in PV. I think you’ll see more of this with California utilities and I expect to see it more in Florida and North Carolina. It’s a great runaround to issues of siting and transmission.”

That’s because in California photovoltaic power plants do not need approval from the California Energy Commission. And smaller-scale plants take up far less land and can be built close to existing transmission lines. Most large solar thermal power plants typically are planned for the Mojave Desert and require the construction of expensive power lines to connect them to the grid.

The modular nature of PV solar farms means they can begin generating electricity as each segment is completed while a solar thermal plant only goes online once the entire project is finished.

“Certainly there is a sweet spot in which the project is large enough to gain advantages of scale,” says Tisdale. “Also, these small-to-mid-size systems can be spread about a transmission network, instead of at one site.”

Suntech Power preliminary ’08 results beat Street

Filed under: HOKU, STP — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 1:55 pm

Friday January 23, 1:55 pm ET

Suntech Power Holdings lifts 4Q, 2008 revenue estimates, cuts 800 workers in 4th-qtr

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP) on Friday reported preliminary fourth-quarter and 2008 results that beat Wall Street expectations, announced it had cut 800 positions in the fourth quarter and said it has suspended the hiring of another 2,000 employees.

The China-based solar module maker said it expects 2008 revenue to range between $1.91 billion and $1.93 billion, compared with analyst estimates of $1.88 billion, on average. The company expects full-year photovoltaic product shipments of 493 to 496 megawatts.

These preliminary revenue numbers beat the company’s most recent outlook, which had been slashed in November to between $1.85 billion and $1.87 billion, from a previous estimate of $2.05 billion to $2.15 billion. Suntech cut the outlook due to concerns over the weakened euro to the U.S. dollar and tightening credit markets, which hurt sales prices and caused some customers to defer orders.

For the fourth quarter the company expects revenue to range between $405 million and $420 million, above previously issued guidance of $345 million to $360 million, and Wall Street’s forecast of $357.7 million.

The company also said it had cut 800 workers in the fourth quarter and suspended the hiring of an additional 2,000 employees, in line with the company’s decision to maintain production capacity at 1 gigawatt as a result of the difficult economic environment. The company’s headcount at the end of the year was 9,070.

Due to the rapid fourth-quarter decline in silicon prices, Suntech said it expects to make an inventory provision in the range of $46 million to $58 million, which would negatively impact gross margin by 11 percent to 14 percent.

The company also said its repurchase of 0.25 percent convertible senior notes resulted in a net gain of about $30 million.

Suntech also expects to incur an expense related to the impairment of Suntech’s investments in Nitol Solar and Hoku Materials (HOKU), due to the drop in silicon prices and tight credit markets. The total value of the investment impairment is expected to be in the range of approximately $49 million to $52 million.

Energy Conversion Devices Urges Congress to Support National Rooftop Photovoltaic Initiative

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 11:47 am

Friday January 23, 11:47 am ET

Congressional Testimony Highlights Benefits of Using Solar Photovoltaic Technology to Implement a National Distributed Generation Program

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Jan. 23 /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, announced that Senior Advisor Nancy Bacon testified yesterday before the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure at the invitation of Chairman James L. Oberstar. The topic of the hearing was Infrastructure Investment: Ensuring an Effective Economic Recovery Program.

Ms. Bacon testified about the role that rooftop solar photovoltaic (PV) installations can play in generating more of our nation’s electricity from clean, renewable sources; creating hundreds of thousands of jobs; reducing carbon dioxide production; reducing our reliance on foreign oil; and promoting distributed power generation in which power is generated where it is consumed, which relieves strain on the antiquated electrical grid.

Ms. Bacon commented, “As part of the stimulus package, we urge Congress to include a robust, national program to install solar photovoltaics on rooftops all across the country – starting with government buildings. An initiative of this magnitude will substantially benefit our economy through job creation, improve our environment and expand an important U.S. industry. We applaud the Committee and President Obama for supporting renewable energy, and look forward to working with them to transform American energy policy.”

The full text of Ms. Bacon’s written testimony can be found online at: http://transportation.house.gov/hearings/Testimony.aspx?TID=8772&NewsID=798

MEMC outlook sparks downgrades

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:41 am

Friday January 23, 8:41 am ET

MEMC lowers 1st-qtr revenue outlook 50 percent, triggers multiple analyst downgrades

NEW YORK (AP) — MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR), which supplies silicon wafers used in making chips and solar cells, said its first-quarter revenue could decline by as much as 50 percent sequentially due to global economic decline, triggering analysts to lower their estimates for the company.

PiperJaffray analyst Jesse Pichel said the company’s warning likely represents a worst-case scenario, but also is in line with the sudden semiconductor industry decline, seasonally weak first-quarter demand for solar products and the overall worsening of economic conditions.

“We believe the worst of the semiconductor inventory burn (the worst in history) is reflected in first-quarter guidance from MEMC and foundries, although the magnitude and potential timing of the semi recovery is difficult to see,” said Pichel.

Pichel lowered non-GAAP first-quarter profit estimates to 9 cents per share, from an earlier forecast of 53 cents per share, and dropped full-year 2009 estimates to 97 cents per share, from $2.83 per share. Non-GAAP profit estimates exclude certain items, which Pinchel did not specify, and does not follow standard accounting rules.

FBR Capital Market analyst Mehdi Hosseini also slashed estimates in response to the company’s first quarter outlook and expectations that solar-related customers may not survive the downturn.

“Semiconductor-related demand is at historically low levels and the solar industry is going through the painful process of determining the elasticity point,” Hosseini said.

Hosseini cut the company’s full-year 2009 estimates before items to 46 cents per share, from an earlier predication of $2.25 per share.

Citi analyst Timothy Arcuri views the company’s stock as a “golden opportunity” for long-term investment, but does not see potential for near-term outperformance due to oversupply issues and lack of transparency on solar contracts.

Arcuri slashed his 2009 per-share earnings estimate to 45 cents per share, from $1.16 and his 2010 forecast to $1.62, from $2.14.

Suntech Reports Preliminary Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2008 Financial Results

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

Friday January 23, 8:30 am ET

Company Exceeds Fourth Quarter Revenue and Full Year PV Product Shipment Guidance; Announces Repurchase of $93.8 Million of Convertible Senior Notes

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, today announced preliminary financial results for the fourth quarter and full year 2008.

For the fourth quarter of 2008, Suntech expects total net revenues to be in the range of $405 million to $420 million, above previously issued guidance of revenues in the range of $345 million to $360 million. Full year 2008 total net revenues are expected to be in the range of $1.91 billion to $1.93 billion and full year 2008 PV product shipments are expected to be in the range of 493MW to 496MW.

As a result of the rapid decline in silicon prices in the fourth quarter, Suntech expects to make an inventory provision in the range of $46 million to $58 million, which would have a negative impact to the gross margin of 11% to 14%. Fourth quarter 2008 consolidated GAAP gross margin is expected to be in the range of -1% to 2%.

“We are pleased to have exceeded our revised revenue and shipment guidance for the fourth quarter and full year 2008,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO. “While the weakening macro-economic environment and limited availability of credit has led to rapid changes in market conditions and reduced visibility, we believe that there is relatively strong underlying demand for Suntech products. We also believe that in this challenging environment, customers recognize the value in partnering with Suntech due to our reputation for consistently delivering premium quality modules, record of very successful projects, localized customer service and commitment to solar innovation.”

Convertible Senior Notes Repurchase and Investment Impairment

During the fourth quarter of 2008, Suntech conducted open market repurchases of Suntech’s 0.25% Convertible Senior Notes due 2012. Through December 31, 2008, Suntech re-purchased $93.8 million aggregate principal amount of the Convertible Senior Notes for a total cash consideration of $61.0 million. As a result, Suntech realized a net gain of approximately $30 million. Suntech may from time to time seek to make additional repurchases of its Convertible Senior Notes. Such repurchases, if any, will depend on prevailing market conditions, our liquidity requirements and other factors.

Due to the rapid decline in silicon prices and difficult financing environment, Suntech expects to incur an expense related to the impairment of Suntech’s investments in Nitol Solar and Hoku Materials. The total value of the investment impairment is expected to be in the range of approximately $49 million to $52 million.

As of December 31, 2008, Suntech’s cash and cash equivalents balance was approximately $508 million, which is approximately $113 million higher than the cash and cash equivalents balance at the end of the third quarter of 2008. Cash and cash equivalents increased primarily due to the liquidation of some short term investments and the accelerated collection of some Value Added Tax Recoverable.

Amy Zhang, Suntech’s Chief Financial Officer, said, “The prudent restructuring of our balance sheet enabled us to simultaneously reduce our Convertible Senior Notes commitment and increase our cash balance during the fourth quarter. With our relatively strong financial status, we believe we are well positioned to weather the global economic downturn and capitalize on the long term growth potential of the solar industry.”

The Company also announced that it had reduced the workforce by approximately 800 employees as a result of ongoing performance evaluation in the fourth quarter of 2008. In addition, Suntech suspended the hiring of a further 2,000 new staff in line with the Company’s decision to maintain production capacity at 1GW as a result of the difficult economic environment. Suntech will consider further expansion and hiring when market conditions improve. Suntech’s headcount as of December 31, 2008 was 9,070.

The estimates presented in this press release are preliminary. Adjustments to the estimates and projections set forth in this press release may be identified as a result of, among other things, finalization of the company’s financial closing procedures and external audit process for the year ended December 31, 2008. As such, these estimates and our expectations set forth herein may change materially.

Suntech will hold a conference call to discuss fourth quarter and full year 2008 financial results at 8am EST on February 18, 2009. For further information and dial in details please visit http://www.suntech-power.com under Investor Center: Financial Events.

Trina Solar Announces Operational Highlights

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

Friday January 23, 8:00 am ET

CHANGZHOU, China, Jan. 23 /PRNewswire-Asia-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, today announced the following updates relating to its previously stated operational targets to be reached in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Fourth Quarter 2008 Operational Highlights:
— Achieved estimated solar module shipment target of between 55 MW and
60 MW
— Reduced solar module non-silicon manufacturing costs by approximately
$0.13 per watt

“Despite lower module selling prices and margin pressure faced amidst a challenging global economic environment, we are very pleased with our performance delivered in the fourth quarter,” said Mr. Jifan Gao, Chairman and CEO of Trina Solar, “The strategy to accelerate the reduction of our non-silicon production costs without compromising quality has been successful and will continue as a primary focus for Trina Solar beyond 2009. Our capacity utilization efficiency, coupled with our geographical diversification, ability to sell directly to large system integrators and our strong relationship with established customers in their respective market also helped us achieved our shipment target. Additionally, our new warehouse operations, which commenced in November 2008, assisted efforts to achieve our shipment target by shortening order-to-delivery time for our European customers.”

January 22, 2009

MEMC posts lower 4Q profit, sales

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 5:23 pm

Thursday January 22, 5:23 pm ET

MEMC Electronic posts lower 4th-quarter profit, sales amid semiconductor sector downturn

ST. PETERS, Mo. (AP) — MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR), which supplies silicon wafers used in making chips and solar cells, posted a sharp drop in its fourth-quarter profit Thursday as revenue declined and the year-ago results were boosted by a gain on warrants.

The company earned $73.2 million, or 33 cents per share, down from a profit of $376.4 million, or $1.62 per share, in the same period a year earlier.

Excluding items, the company’s adjusted earnings totaled 65 cents per share for the latest quarter.

Revenue dropped 21 percent to $425.7 million from $535.9 million.

Analysts, on average, were expecting a profit of 61 cents per share on sales of $408.1 million, according to a poll by Thomson Reuters. Analysts typically exclude one-time items from their estimates.

“The fourth quarter of 2008 saw deteriorating semiconductor and solar market conditions, amid the rapidly weakening global macroeconomic environment,” said Marshall Turner, interim chief executive, in a statement. The company said lower prices and reduced semiconductor product volumes hurt the quarter’s results, but they were partially offset by higher volumes of wafers for solar applications.

For the full year, the company earned $390.3 million, or $1.71 per share, down from a profit of $826.2 million, or $3.56 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue climbed to $2 billion from $1.92 billion.

The company added that its first-quarter revenue could decline by as much as 50 percent sequentially. Analysts are expecting sales of $382.8 million, a nearly 11 percent decrease.

Shares sank $1.56, or 12.7 percent, to $10.75 in after-hours trading. The stock had closed down 48 cents, or 3.8 percent at $12.31.

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