North Coast Solar Stocks

February 26, 2009

FPL to Power Sunshine State with Clean Energy from Nation’s Largest Solar Photovoltaic Site in DeSoto County

Filed under: FPL, SPWR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:00 pm

ARCADIA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) today announced the groundbreaking for FPL’s DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which will bring commercial-scale solar photovoltaic power to Florida for the very first time.

At 25 megawatts, the plant will be the largest photovoltaic solar facility in the nation when it is complete at the end of 2009. The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use 90,000 photovoltaic panels on 180 acres of land and provide enough electricity to power more than 3,000 homes, which is nearly 20 percent of the population in DeSoto County.

“We’re proud to be the company that is bringing commercial-scale solar power to the Sunshine State. Solar power will help promote a new clean-energy economy in Florida, reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, and address global climate change through the production of emissions-free energy,” said FPL Group President and Chief Operating Officer Jim Robo.

Common on rooftops, solar photovoltaic is the technology most people envision when they think of solar energy. Photovoltaic panels convert sunlight directly into electricity, which can be fed onto the electrical grid without the need of a turbine generator. Technological advances are now making photovoltaic panels practical on a large scale.

The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will use highly efficient SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) panels and proven SunPower® Tracker technology. The Tracker automatically follows the sun’s movement throughout the day, increasing sunlight capture by up to 25 percent over fixed systems.

The facility will provide significant economic benefits to DeSoto County, creating more than 200 jobs during peak construction and providing more than $2 million in annual tax revenues by the end of 2010 to help boost the local economy.

Solar photovoltaic power also provides significant environmental benefits. It is carbon-free, uses no water, and produces no waste. Over the life of the facility, the DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center will avoid the release of more than 575,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, which is equivalent to taking more than 4,500 cars off the road every year, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. In addition, the electricity generated by this facility will reduce the use of fossil fuels in Florida by more than 277,000 barrels of oil and seven billion cubic feet of natural gas.

The DeSoto Next Generation Solar Energy Center is one of three new solar facilities FPL is building in Florida, which will total 110 megawatts of clean, renewable solar energy capacity. FPL broke ground in December 2008 on the Martin Next Generation Solar Energy Center, which will be the world’s first hybrid solar energy plant and the second largest solar thermal plant in the nation.

It will generate 75 megawatts of solar energy once it is fully operational in 2010. FPL will build a third facility at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center, which will add 10 megawatts to the state’s photovoltaic solar capacity.

(more…)

Akeena Solar quarterly loss widens; shares slump

Filed under: AKNS, CSUN, FSLR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 1:51 pm

Thu Feb 26, 2009 1:51pm EST
By Adveith Nair

* Q4 loss widens

* Falling prices hurt margins

* Sees slow Q1

* Sees 10-20 pct rev growth in ’09 * Shares sink 30 pct to life-time low

BANGALORE, Feb 26 (Reuters) – Akeena Solar Inc (AKNS) posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, hurt by lower prices for its solar panels, and as commercial installations fell, and the solar power systems maker forecast a seasonally slow first quarter, slamming its shares down 30 percent to a life-time low.

Shares of the company fell below $1 to a low of 94 cents Thursday morning on Nasdaq. They were down 19 percent at $1.08 in afternoon trade. Excluding today’s fall, the stock is down 85 percent from its 52-week high of $8.90.

For the latest fourth quarter, the company posted a loss of 32 cents a share, wider than both the 18 cents share loss it reported a year earlier, and analysts average consensus view of a loss of 17 cents a share.

Gross profit for the fourth quarter 2008 was 10.7 percent of sales, compared with 18.2 percent of sales, last year.

Margins were hurt by higher subcontractor labor costs on its less profitable commercial projects and a sharp decline in worldwide panel prices.

A pullback in government solar subsidies in Germany and Spain, and a strengthening U.S. dollar against the euro has caused prices on solar panels to fall faster than expected, crimping profit margins for many manufacturers.

Earlier in the day, Solar-cell maker China Sunergy Co Ltd (CSUN) said it expects gross profit margin to be in negative high single-digits for 2008, hurt by further declines in average selling prices.

However, Kaufman Brothers analyst Theodore O’Neill said he does not see prices coming down any further.

(more…)

UBS Upgrades Sunpower; Downgrades Evergreen

Filed under: ESLR, FSLR, SPWR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:42 am

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

UBS Solar analyst Stephen Chin today wrote a fat report on the solar sector in which he reduced his expectations for solar module pricing, but boosted his forecast for demand. In the process, he shuffled ratings on a number of stocks.

Chin now sees 2009 global solar module pricing at an average $2.50/watt, down from his previous estimate of $3.01/watt, as the industry feels the effects of what he estimates to be about 2GW of excess supply. His estimate represents a 29% drop from an estimated average price of $3.53 a watt in 2008. But with the lower prices, he thinks demand will pick up in the U.S., Germany and Italy. He now sees 2009 demand of 6.4GW, up form 5GW previously; for 2010, he now sees demand of 9.5GW, up from 7 GW.

Here’s a brief look at Chin’s rating changes:

* SunPower (SWPRA, SPWRB): Chin upped his long-term rating on the stock to Neutral, from Sell, while increasing his target to $35, from $25; he also set a short-term Buy rating on the shares. “Our checks suggest SunPower is further along in finalizing solar module sales to U.S. utilities and [will] likely announce 1-2 more wins” in the 2009 first half, which he thinks will be a positive catalyst for the stock. He also thinks the U.S. solar market will recover earlier than the rest of the sector since it was hurt the most by a lack of tax equity financing. He upped his 2009 EPS estimate to $1.75, from $1.65 (still below the Street at $2.43) and raised 2010 to $2.50, from $2 (again, below the Street at $3.40.)
* Motech: Chin upped his rating on the Taiwan-based company to Buy from Neutral, although he reduced his target to 99 Taiwan dollars, from 172.
* Evergreen Solar (ESLR): Chin cut his rating to Sell from Neutral, reducing his target to $1, from $2.25. “With polysilicon spot market prices normalizing to around $125/kg, down 50% year over year, we believe a focus on Evergreen’s non-polysilicon costs will become more important givne the low-cost advantage of Chinese solar companies such as Yingli,” he writes. “Given our new industry view of a 2GW oversupply of solar modules in 2009, we expect Evergreen may have difficulty extending its solar customers longer payments terms as it has $153 million in cash but has $135 million in capex and outsourcing commitments.” He says a lack of cash will limit Evergreen’s ability to invest in customer projects, as First Solar and SunPower are now doing.
* Oerlikon: Chin cut his rating on the Swiss company to Sell from Neutral, reducing his target to 12 Swiss francs, from 125. (Wow.) He sees price and margin presure on the company’s equipment for the thin-film solar sector.
* Sino American Silicon: He cuts his rating on the stock to Neutral, from Buy, with a new target of 70 Taiwan dollars, from 178. Chin writes that the company’s non-polysilicon production costs are “much higher” than those of of its Chinese competitors.

Chin lists his favorite solar stocks as First Solar (FSLR), SolarWorld, Wacker Chemie and DC Chemical, all Buy rated. His least favorites are Evergreen Solar, Q-Cells and Solon, all sell rated, as well as REC, rated Neutral long-term, Sell short-term.

China Sunergy sees negative gross margin for FY08

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

Thu Feb 26, 2009 9:30am EST

* Sees margins to be in negative high single-digits

* Sees derivative losses in Q4

Feb 26 (Reuters) – Solar-cell maker China Sunergy Co Ltd (CSUN) said it expects gross profit margin to be in negative high single-digits for 2008, hurt by further declines in average selling prices.

“Due to the rapid decline of average selling prices and raw material prices, the company estimates an increase in inventory provision of about $10 million,” it added.

The company also said its fourth-quarter solar cell production was at the top of the outlook range of 15 to 20 mega watt.

China Sunergy also expects currency exchange and derivative losses in the fourth quarter due to Euro depreciation and fair market value change of embedded derivatives. It said, however, that its cash flow is expected to remain positive on an operational level.

A stronger U.S. dollar and decline in government incentives for solar power in top markets like Germany and Spain have driven prices on solar panels down, hampering solar manufacturers’ profitability.

Shares of China Sunergy closed at $1.78 Wednesday on Nasdaq.

Akeena Solar Announces Fourth Quarter and Year-End 2008 Results

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 8:51 am

Thursday February 26, 8:51 am ET

LOS GATOS, Calif., Feb. 26, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS), a leading designer and installer of solar power systems, today announced results for the fourth quarter and year ended December 31, 2008.

“Fourth quarter revenue grew to $10.9 million, led by strong residential installation revenue which increased 23% over last year to $8.4 million, driven in part by an immediate reaction to the passage of the solar ITC midway through the quarter. However, commercial installations slowed to $2.4 million under the weight of extremely tight credit conditions compounded by the timing of the ITC,” said Barry Cinnamon, president and chief executive officer of Akeena Solar. “By quarter’s end, the economic slowdown, lack of available credit, and falling home values were weighing heavily on our customers.”

Cinnamon continued, “Operationally, we achieved several important objectives during 2008. We began selling Andalay solar panels in January of 2008, and by the end of the year Andalay panels were in the #4 residential market share position in California, behind only SunPower, Sharp and Kyocera. We reduced the incremental costs of Andalay technology from $0.85/watt at the beginning of 2008 to $0.45/watt by the end of the year, improving our margin potential for Andalay systems. And we demonstrated that residential customers value Andalay’s aesthetics, reliability and performance, giving us confidence that we will be able to sustain our approximately 5% price premium.

“Taking the next step in our strategy to reduce total non-module installation costs by leveraging our Andalay installation technology, we recently announced the mid-2009 release of Andalay AC solar panels. We expect the benefits of Andalay AC panels to not only keep Akeena at the forefront of the solar industry, but also to open up a direct-to-dealer distribution component to our business model, potentially diversifying our revenue and extending our geographic reach in a more scalable way. In developing our distribution strategy, we re-assessed our installation office footprint and decided to close our East coast operations, a decision that will reduce headcount and operating costs.

“As we continue to install Andalay DC systems early in 2009 and transition to Andalay AC systems in the latter half of the year, we expect to reduce direct and indirect labor costs substantially. We also expect to benefit from the lower incremental costs of Andalay technology and lower panel prices in 2009, having taken a $2.6 million inventory revaluation charge in the fourth quarter to reflect the sharp decline in world-wide panel prices,” Cinnamon concluded. “In addition, since the fourth quarter we have removed approximately $2 million in quarterly cash operating expenses through a combination of headcount reductions, a 10% salary reduction and other cost savings, and expect to realize the full savings from these actions by the second quarter. The combination of improved gross margins, a more streamlined cost structure, tight expense control and continued premium pricing should allow us to achieve cash flow breakeven at a $15 million quarterly revenue level.”

(more…)

China Sunergy Provides Update on Selected Estimated Financial Results for the 2008 Fourth Quarter

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

Thursday February 26, 8:00 am ET

NANJING, China, Feb. 26 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), (”China Sunergy” or the ”Company”), a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, today provided an update regarding selected estimated financial results for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2008.

China Sunergy’s fourth quarter solar cell production was at the top of the guidance range of 15MW-20MW. However, the company’s gross profit margin — excluding inventory write down — is expected to be in the negative high single digits, mainly caused by the further decrease in Average Selling Price (”ASP”) during December 2008. In addition, due to the rapid decline of ASP and raw material prices, the Company estimates an increase in inventory provision of approximately $10 million.

China Sunergy also expects to report currency exchange and derivative losses in the fourth quarter primarily due to Euro depreciation and fair market value change of embedded derivatives. As the majority of the losses were not cash related, the Company’s cash flow in the fourth quarter should remain positive at the operational level.

As these selected estimated results are subject to finalization of the Company’s financial closing procedures, the Company’s actual results may differ from its current estimates.

China Sunergy will report full financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended December 31, 2008 on March 19, 2009 prior to the opening of the U.S. market. The company will then host an earnings conference call at 5:00am (Pacific Time) / 8:00am (Eastern Time) / 8:00pm (Beijing/Hong Kong) on March 19, 2009.

February 25, 2009

The Once-Hot Solar Industry Has Cooled Off, But For How Long?

Filed under: FSLR, JASO, LDK, SOLR, SPWR, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 6:40 pm

Wednesday February 25, 6:40 pm ET
Donna Howell
Investor’s Business Daily

Now approaching: solar energy’s apparent nadir.

Even as President Obama talked up hopes for solar energy in a speech Tuesday night, a few hours earlier one of the largest and best-positioned solar companies saw its shares plummet in after-hours trade.

Investors fretted over First Solar’s (FSLR) warning, on its late Tuesday earnings conference call, that the short-term industry outlook has never looked more difficult. In regular trading Wednesday, First Solar shares fell 21.8% to 107.65, a more than three-month low, though its profit and sales in the fourth quarter both more than doubled from the year-earlier period.

Other solar firms also tumbled. SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) sank 8%, GT Solar (SOLR) 7.4%, JA Solar (JASO) 6.3% and Suntech Power (STP) 5.7%.

One question now is how the sector will make it through the recession to a promised land of big-scale solar deployments, bolstered by government subsidies and possibly mandates. Some see a shakeout on the way, as firms do whatever they can to move products.

“Prices are falling dramatically, they’re starting to find that market bottom,” said Lux Research analyst Ted Sullivan. “Certain players weakened by that will fall out.”

He says global solar market revenue could dive 19% this year to $29 billion from $36 billion in 2008. He expects failures of “me-too players” with little to offer but capacity.

Price Cuts Considered

First Solar has an edge as the low-cost leader, selling a thin-film solar module it can now make for under a dollar a watt and sell for $2 a watt. Even with its lower cost, though, the company says it’s going to give customers more time to pay, invest in some of their projects and consider cutting prices on volume deals.

Meanwhile, rivals who use polysilicon and charge on average roughly $3.25 per watt could be pressured to slash prices 18% or more this year, says Jefferies & Co. analyst Paul Clegg.

(more…)

First Solar shares tumble on weak profit outlook

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:00 pm

Wednesday February 25, 1:00 pm ET

First Solar shares drop on weak 2009 profit outlook, analysts positive on long-term prospects

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of First Solar Inc. (FSLR) tumbled on Wednesday as investors responded to the company’s news that the solar panel maker expects demand to fall, competition to increase and mounting challenges for the industry in the near future.

First Solar shares dropped $26.72, or 19.4 percent, to $111 in midday trading. The stock has ranged from $85.28 to $317 over the past year.

After the market closed on Tuesday, First Solar said its fourth-quarter profit doubled, but also predicted an increase in challenges industrywide in the near future.

The Tempe, Ariz., company lowered its 2009 revenue projection due to its decision to form partnerships with power companies and invest in projects that are already under development.

This decision, which will reduce revenue for the year by about $200 million, prompted a number of analysts to lower their 2009 earnings estimates for the company.

Craig Irwin, an analyst at Merriman Curhan Ford, lowered his 2009 profit prediction for the company to $8.67 per share, compared with an earlier estimate of $9.39 per share. Irwin said the company’s stock was at a fair value and estimated a price target between $175 and $190.

Raymond James analyst Pavel Molchanov estimated a price target of $190 and recommended buying the stock based on its strong fourth-quarter performance. One point of concern for Molchanov was news from the company that 10 percent to 15 percent of its 2009 shipments could be at risk of potential customer defaults. This could hurt the company’s near-term earnings, he said, but First Solar is not alone as this is an industrywide risk.

First Solar also said it plans to extend payment terms with some customers to 45 days and could decrease prices for customers in exchange for higher volumes.

The company originally had payment terms of 10 days, an industry low, but their extension raises a “red flag,” said PiperJaffray analyst Jesse Pinchel. Pinchel said the 45-day terms are an industry norm. He lowered his 2009 profit outlook for the company but kept a “Buy” rating.

First Solar dims as sell ratings stack up

Filed under: FSLR, LDK, SPWR, STP — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 12:27 pm

By Steve Gelsi, MarketWatch
Last update: 12:27 p.m. EST Feb. 25, 2009

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) — At least three analysts assigned sell ratings to First Solar Inc. (FSLR) on Wednesday after the company issued a cautious outlook for 2009 and signaled that some of its customers need more time to raise cash to pay for its thin-film solar products.

Shares of First Solar fell 18% to $112.30 on Wednesday, but remained above their 52-week low of $85.28, which was set Nov. 21.
Other solar firms also retreated. SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB) fell 9% to $30.08, while LDK Solar (LDK) dipped 5% to $5.62 and Suntech Power (STP) dropped 10% to $6.68.

Research firms ThinkEquity Partners and Kaufman Brothers both cut their ratings on First Solar to sell. Hapoalim Securities reiterated its sell rating after first lowering it to that level in October.

“Despite an industry-leading cost structure, it appears that First Solar is not immune from absolute demand destruction that is materializing in the wake of the global economic malaise,” ThinkEquity analyst Jonathan Hoopes said in a note to clients. “Until we see evidence of an improvement in global financial markets, we are assigning higher probability to a bear case scenario.”

Wall Street mostly looked past First Solar’s fourth-quarter results, which were released after the market closed Tuesday. The company’s profit doubled to $132.8 million, or $1.61 a share, well ahead of the consensus estimate of $1.36 a share, according to FactSet Research. Revenue jumped to $433.7 million from $200.8 million.

First Solar Chief Executive Officer Mike Ahearn told analysts that the short-term view for the solar sector has never looked more difficult. The Tempe, Ariz., company reduced its 2009 revenue outlook by up to $300 million, to a range of $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion.
First Solar deferred $200 million in revenue as part of a move to co-invest in a large solar farm in Germany.

“It appears that First Solar is leveraging its cash to make sure projects get done,” said Jeff Osborne, analyst at Thomas Weisel Partners.

(more…)

House Care to be Authorized Distributor of Suntech Products in Japan

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:32 am

Wednesday February 25, 8:32 am ET

Agreement to Distribute 30MW of Suntech Products in 2009

TOKYO and WUXI, China, Feb. 25 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s leading manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) modules, today announced that it has established an agreement with House Care Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of West Holdings Group, under which House Care will become an authorized distributor of Suntech in Japan and distribute 30MW of Suntech solar products in 2009.

”House Care is one of Japan’s leading providers of innovative roofing systems and we are delighted to establish a fruitful partnership with them to distribute Suntech modules in Japan,” said Dr. Tadao Kasahara, President of MSK Corporation, a Suntech subsidiary. ”With targets to reach 4.8 gigawatts of installed solar capacity in 2010 and renewed support from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, we are confident that the local solar market will grow strongly in 2009 and beyond. We intend to form long-term, mutually beneficial relationships with Japanese solar distributors and encourage the further adoption of solar technology in Japan.”

President of West Holdings Group, Mr. Takashi Kikkawa, said, ”Suntech’s esteemed project history and reputation for producing the highest quality solar products was a key factor influencing our decision to choose Suntech. Through integrating solar systems and other environmentally friendly building products into Japanese buildings, we are committed to improving energy efficiency and sustainable living in Japan. Solar will play an important role in achieving this goal.”

Japan was one of the first countries to stimulate the growth of the solar industry through the introduction of solar subsidies in 1994. Since then it has incubated some of the world’s most advanced solar technology and become home to the second largest amount of installed solar systems. Japan targets to more than double cumulative solar installations to reach 4.8 gigawatts of solar capacity in 2010.

About House Care

House Care Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of West Holdings Group, is a leading provider of innovative roofing solutions and environmentally friendly house renovation products such as solar systems, home insulation and energy efficient products in Japan.

February 24, 2009

First Solar’s Big Q4 Gives Way To Fears Of A Challenging Q1

Filed under: FSLR, PCG — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 6:27 pm

Tuesday February 24, 6:27 pm ET
Donna Howell
Investor’s Business Daily

After learning late Tuesday that First Solar’s (FSLR) fourth-quarter profit and sales more than doubled, investors learned something else: The outlook this quarter is lousy.

The solar company’s shares were down about 15% after hours, despite proving last quarter to be a ray of sunshine amid the gloom. Results far exceeded analyst views, despite fears that the credit crisis might be sucking the light out of the solar industry.

But company CEO Mike Ahearn warned on a conference call that while “over the midterm the outlook for solar power has never been better,” the short term “has never looked more difficult.”

He warned that first-quarter revenue could be flat to slightly down compared with last quarter, partly on price decreases for its solar modules. Amid slow bank lending, the company has extended 10-day financing to 45 days and is starting to co-invest with customers in large projects. That could lead to revenue deferral, it said.

Still, the company said it earned $1.61 per share last quarter, vs. views of $1.30, and up from 77 cents in the year-earlier quarter. Revenue jumped to $433.7 million from $200.8 million. Analysts were expecting $410.4 million.

The stock rallied in advance of the earnings announcement, rising more than 10% in regular trading.

Several analysts say First Solar, with its already low-cost modules, is the best-situated in a sector under stress. On one hand, government perks for solar are leading to big utility projects, and U.S. regulators could clamp down on carbon emissions. On the other, solar wafer prices are getting slammed as economies slump and locked-up credit markets deter projects.

“Out of all the solar companies out there, they are the most protected from this,” said Lux Research analyst Ted Sullivan. “It’s not to say they won’t be damaged, but they’re not going to have to take as sharp price declines as everyone else.”

(more…)

First Solar profit, revenue tops expectations

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:50 pm

Tue Feb 24, 2009 4:50pm EST

*First Solar profit more than doubles to $1.61 a share

*Revenue more than doubles to $433.7 million

*Both earnings and revenue top Wall Street estimates

*Stock up slightly in extended trade

LOS ANGELES, Feb 24 (Reuters) – First Solar Inc (FSLR) on Tuesday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that more than doubled, blowing past Wall Street estimates as demand for its low-cost solar panels grew despite a weak global economy.

Fourth-quarter net income more than doubled to $132.8 million, or $1.61 per share, handily topping analysts’ estimates of $1.30 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

In the same period a year ago, First Solar earned $62.9 million, or 77 cents per share.

Revenue also more than doubled to $433.7 million from $200.8 million a year ago. Analysts were expecting revenue of $408.9 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar has been a favorite among investors in alternative energy since it went public in 2006. Its thin-film, photovoltaic solar cells are cheaper to produce than the silicon-based cells that dominate the market.

Nevertheless, First Solar shares have lost 27 percent of their value since the beginning of October, when the global credit crisis worsened and began hampering funding for even high-flying renewable energy projects.

Wedbush Morgan analyst Al Kaschalk said investors’ main focus was on how First Solar would weather the next two quarters and whether it would be able to meet Wall Street’s profit expectations for the year.

The company is in an enviable position in the industry, Kaschalk added, because of its more than $700 million in cash.

“That’s a lot of firepower sitting there,” he said.

First Solar shares rose slightly to $138 after closing at $137.68 on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom and Braden Reddall, editing by Leslie Gevirtz, Bernard Orr)

PG&E chief: We’ll be solar’s ‘green knight’

Filed under: EIX, FSLR, PCG, SPWR, SRE, STP — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 4:50 pm

by Todd Woody
Green Wombat

SAN FRANCISCO — With the financial crisis dimming solar’s prospects to become a significant source of renewable energy, utility giant PG&E on Tuesday said it will spend $1.4 billion to install 250 megawatts’ worth of photovoltaic panels in California while contracting with private developers for another 250 megawatts. PG&E chief executive Peter Darbee said the utility is also prepared to be a “green knight,” rescuing distressed big centralized solar power plant projects by providing financing so they can get built.

“We have contracted for 24% of our energy to be renewable and we’re concerned whether our [developers] will have access to capital,” Darbee said at PG&E’s San Francisco headquarters during a press conference. “We think financing for these projects may be in jeopardy. PG&E is well-positioned with its $35 billion balance sheet to step up and help.”

PG&E’s (PCG) move to take a direct role in obtaining the renewable energy it needs to comply with California’s global warming laws could be big business for solar module panel makers and installers like SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB), Suntech (STP) and First Solar (FSLR). The action was prompted in part by a change in the tax laws that lets utilities claim a 30% investment tax credit for solar projects.

Fong Wan, PG&E’s vice president for energy procurement, said most of the 500 megawatts of solar panels will be installed on the ground in arrays of between one and 20 megawatts at utility substations or on other PG&E-owned property. (The utility is one of California’s largest landowners.) A small portion may be installed on rooftops, he said.

PG&E said the solar initiative will generate enough electricity to power 150,000 homes and will provide 1.3% of the utility’s electricity supply.

“There’s no or little need for new transmission and these projects can plug directly into the grid,” said Darbee. “Given our size and our credit ratings, we can move forward where smaller developers may not be able to do so.”

The California Public Utilities Commission must approve PG&E’s solar initiative, which Wan estimated would add about 32 cents to the average monthly utility bill. An $875 million program unveiled by Southern California Edison (EIX) last year to install 250 megawatts of utility-owned rooftop solar panels has run into opposition from solar companies that argue it is anti-competitive and from consumer advocates who contend the price is too high. The state’s third big utility, San Diego Gas & Electric (SRE), has also proposed a rooftop solar program.

Wan acknowledged that objections to Edison led PG&E to design its program so that private developers would have a 50% stake in the initiative. PG&E will sign 20-year power purchase agreements for privately owned solar installations.

PG&E will also need regulators’ approval to inject equity financing into companies developing big solar power plants. The utility has signed power purchase agreements for up to 2,400 megawatts of electricity to be produced by solar thermal and photovoltaic power plants to be built by companies like Ausra, BrightSource Energy, OptiSolar and SunPower.

“We are looking at the least risky and most developed opportunities to see where we can be the most helpful,” Darbee said.

First Solar Passes $1 Per Watt Industry Milestone

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:47 pm

Tuesday February 24, 4:47 pm ET

Company Cuts Manufacturing Cost to 98 Cents Per Watt in Fourth Quarter

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today announced it reduced its manufacturing cost for solar modules in the fourth quarter to 98 cents per watt, breaking the $1 per watt price barrier.

“This achievement marks a milestone in the solar industry’s evolution toward providing truly sustainable energy solutions,” said Mike Ahearn, First Solar chief executive officer. “First Solar is proud to be leading the way toward clean, affordable solar electricity as a viable alternative to fossil fuels.”

First Solar began full commercial operation of its initial manufacturing line in late 2004. From 2004 through today, manufacturing capacity has grown 2,500 percent to more than 500 megawatts in 2008. First Solar’s annual production capacity will double in 2009 to more than 1 gigawatt, the equivalent of an average-sized nuclear power plant. These escalating volumes have been accompanied by a rapid reduction in manufacturing costs. From 2004 through today, First Solar’s manufacturing costs have declined two-thirds from over $3 per watt to less than $1 per watt. First Solar is confident that further significant cost reductions are possible based on the yet untapped potential of its technology and manufacturing process.

First Solar is not only committed to making solar power affordable but also to making it environmentally sustainable. The Company takes responsibility for its products throughout their life cycle, ensuring that First Solar modules have the smallest carbon footprint of any current photovoltaic (PV) technology. First Solar is proud to have the industry’s first and only comprehensive pre-funded, end-of-life module collection and recycling program, recycling more than 90 percent of each collected module into new products.

Ahearn expressed thanks to governments in Germany and other countries for making today’s milestone possible. “Without forward-looking government programs supporting solar electricity, we would not have been able to invest in the capacity expansion which gives us the scale to bring costs down,” he said. “First Solar’s ongoing focus on cost reduction enables continued growth even as subsidies decline. In the meantime, those initial investments are paying off in a cleaner environment and in the creation of thousands of jobs with a clear future.”

“This represents a major milestone for the solar industry,” said Ken Zweibel, an industry veteran currently serving as Director of the Institute for the Analysis of Solar Energy at The George Washington University and former Program Leader for the Thin Film Partnership Program at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in Golden, Colo. “In order to address climate change in a meaningful way, we need energy technologies that are affordable, scalable and have a low environmental impact on a life-cycle basis. With this announcement, First Solar continues to demonstrate the ability of thin film PV technology to provide an alternative to traditional fossil fuels and for solar power to provide a meaningful contribution in addressing climate change.”

First Solar, Inc. Announces 2008 Fourth Quarter and Year-end Financial Results

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

Tuesday February 24, 4:05 pm ET

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today announced its financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year ended, December 27, 2008. Quarterly revenues were $433.7 million, up from $348.7 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2008 and up from $200.8 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007. Revenues for the fiscal year ended December 27, 2008 were $1,246.3 million, up from $504.0 million in fiscal year 2007.

Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 was $132.8 million or $1.61 per share on a fully diluted basis, compared to net income of $99.3 million or $1.20 per share on a fully diluted basis for the third quarter of fiscal 2008. Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2007 was $62.9 million or $0.77 per share on a fully diluted basis.

Net income for fiscal 2008 was $348.3 million or $4.24 per share on a fully diluted basis compared to net income of $158.4 million for fiscal 2007 or $2.03 per share on a fully diluted basis.

First Solar will discuss these results and expected results for fiscal 2009 in a conference call scheduled for today at 2:30 p.m. MST (4:30 p.m. EDT). Investors may access a live audio web cast of this conference call in the Investors section of the company’s website at http://www.firstsolar.com. An audio replay of the conference call will also be available approximately two hours after the conclusion of the call. The audio replay will remain available until Friday, February 26, 2009 at 9:59 p.m. MST (11:59 p.m. EDT) and can be accessed by dialing 888-266-2081 if you are calling from within the United States or 703-925-2533 if you are calling from outside the United States and entering access ID number 1325337. A replay of the web cast will be available for 90 calendar days, approximately two hours after the conclusion of this call.

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Hoku Announces Amendment to Polysilicon Plant Engineering Contract with Stone & Webster

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

Tuesday February 24, 4:05 pm ET

POCATELLO, Idaho, Feb. 24, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, today announced that it entered into a change order agreement under its engineering, procurement and construction management services contract with Stone & Webster, Inc., to clarify the scope of on-going work for Hoku’s planned 4,000 metric tons per year polysilicon production plant. Stone & Webster is a subsidiary of The Shaw Group Inc.

The change order confirms Hoku’s intent to delay the detailed engineering and construction of a portion of the polysilicon plant, the trichlorosilane (TCS) production plant area, until April 2009 and reassign construction management services to JH Kelly, LLC, Hoku’s general construction contractor. JH Kelly has been primarily responsible for construction management over the past several months because they have controlled the critical path schedule on-site in Pocatello. The revised Stone & Webster scope of work includes the engineering and procurement that is required for Hoku to commercially operate the plant using third party TCS, and the scope to transition operations from third party TCS to on-site TCS production in a closed-loop production process.

“The revised scope of work is consistent with our plan to start-up the plant and commence shipments to our customers in the second half of 2009, which may be before our TCS plant is operational,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and CEO of Hoku Scientific. “Because the engineering of our TCS plant has been substantially completed by Dynamic Engineering, Inc., Stone & Webster is well positioned to resume the detailed engineering work for our TCS plant when our cash flow supports this investment. Our earlier ordering of long lead-time items, such as fluidized bed reactors and distillation columns, allows us to suspend this work for a few months without disproportionately impacting the final completion schedule.”

The change order also realigns the schedule guarantees in the contract around the revised scope of work, and Stone & Webster’s engineering and procurement deliverable dates.

“As we head into the home stretch, our company remains fully committed to fulfilling Hoku’s engineering and procurement requirements to ensure the successful operation of this polysilicon plant,” said Lou Pucher, president of Shaw’s Energy & Chemical Group.

Suntech sees Q1 profit after Q4 loss: president

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 1:07 pm

Tue Feb 24, 2009 1:07pm
By Martin Roberts

BARCELONA (Reuters) – Suntech Power’s (STP) fourth quarter loss was largely due to one-time items and it expects to return to profit by the first quarter, the president of the Chinese solar company’s European unit said on Tuesday.

Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd, one of the world’s largest makers of panels which turn the sun’s rays into electricity, last week posted a loss of $65.9 million for the fourth quarter.

“There were some stock write-downs and other factors which had a fairly major impact,” Jerry Stokes, President of Sunpower International, told Reuters in an interview.

“Going into Q1 then, I think we’re expecting there will be some more color in the numbers we will release then. We’re expecting that situation will be reversed,” he added on the sidelines of the Solar Power Generation conference in Barcelona.

As demand slowed in the fourth quarter, Suntech laid off 10 percent of its 8,000-strong workforce and suspended a plan to expand capacity to 1,400 MW in 2009, from a current 1,000 MW.

Stokes said the credit crunch meant many ongoing solar generation projects were having trouble obtaining finance for equity, construction and debt.

But he confirmed guidance that Suntech expected to ship panels capable of generating 700-800 megawatts in total in 2009, up from about 500 MW last year, due to long-term government subsidies and his company’s market presence.

EUROPE STILL STRONG

“In this investment market situation, the government support programs across Europe and globally are remaining strong,” he said. “Many hundreds of megawatts in the field means that we’re very bankable.”

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PG&E Launches 500 Megawatt Solar Power Initiative Utility-Owned and Independent Projects Would Speed Customer Access to Cleaner Energy

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

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif. – Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) today announced plans for a five-year program to develop up to 500 megawatts (MW) of clean solar photovoltaic (PV) power in its northern and central California service area, one of the largest undertakings of its kind in the country.

The proposed program consists of up to 250 MW of utility-owned PV generation—PG&E’s first direct investment in renewable generation in over a decade—and an additional 250 MW to be built and owned by independent developers under a streamlined regulatory process. PG&E is submitting its plan today to the California Public Utilities Commission for approval, which could come later this year.

If all projects are up and running by 2015, they are expected to deliver more than 1,000 gigawatt hours of power each year, equal to the annual consumption of about 150,000 average homes. In all, this program would meet over 1.3 percent of PG&E’s electric demand.

“I applaud PG&E for its commitment to making a direct investment in clean, renewable solar energy generation that will eventually power tens of thousands of California homes,” said Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. “By bringing renewables online as quickly as possible and advancing the development of green technologies, this effort will advance California’s aggressive push to meet our long-term energy and climate change goals while keeping California on the leading edge of this booming industry.”

“This program represents an unprecedented commitment of our capital and expertise to speed the delivery of clean, renewable energy to our customers,” said PG&E CEO and President Peter Darbee. “With many renewable-energy projects delayed, we can’t afford business as usual when it comes to protecting the environment and meeting our customers’ expectations.”

PG&E’s solar program targets mid-sized projects, typically one MW to 20 MW, mounted on the ground or rooftops, within its service area. Where feasible, projects developed and owned by PG&E would be built on land already owned by the utility or near its substations to minimize the cost and delays of interconnecting them to the power grid.

Projects developed by independent parties would be offered a standard contract and pricing derived from the utility’s own costs to streamline review of their applications.

Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 20 percent of its future electric power deliveries from renewable sources. On average, more than 50 percent of the electricity PG&E delivers to its customers comes from generating sources that emit no carbon dioxide, making the company’s energy among the cleanest in the nation.

Pacific Gas and Electric Company, a subsidiary of PG&E Corporation (PCG), is one of the largest combined natural gas and electric utilities in the United States. Based in San Francisco, with 20,000 employees, the company delivers some of the nation’s cleanest energy to 15 million people in northern and central California. For more information, visit http://www.pge.com/about/.

Support for PG&E’s Solar PV Program

Sue Kateley, Executive Director, California Solar Energy Industries Association:
“We’re pleased that PG&E is providing significant additional resources to promote the development of solar power in California. Its commitment to solar energy, and its thoughtful balance of utility and privately owned projects under this program, will help ensure continued growth of this market in California, benefitting suppliers, workers and the environment. We look forward to working side-by-side with PG&E to make solar a leading renewable energy resource in the Golden State.”

Julia Hamm, Executive Director, Solar Electric Power Association:
“PG&E has long stood out in front of its utility peers as a leader in solar electricity. The new 500 MW initiative is just the latest example of the company’s commitment to diversifying its electricity portfolio in an intelligent way.”

Sheryl Carter, Energy Program Co-Director, Natural Resources Defense Council:
“We must maximize clean energy solutions like energy efficiency and renewable energy development of all sizes to meet our economic and environmental challenges. PG&E’s intent for development of these projects – on already developed land close to transmission and distribution – is exactly where it needs to be to reduce environmental impacts and speed development.”

ICP Solar Provides Preliminary Fourth Quarter Results

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

Tuesday February 24, 8:00 am ET

Sales Exceed Expectations – Climb 45% Over Prior Year Period

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ICP Solar Technologies Inc. (ICPR.OB), a developer, manufacturer and marketer of proprietary solar panels and products, today announced preliminary financial results for the fiscal fourth quarter ended January 31, 2009.

* Revenue rose 45% over the fiscal fourth quarter of 2008, to approximately $950,000
* Despite normal year end writedowns, the Company posted positive gross profit of approximately $76,000 in the fiscal fourth quarter versus a loss in the prior year period
* SG&A was down approximately 53% in the fourth quarter ended January 31, 2009 versus the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008

“We are very satisfied with the Company’s progress made in the fourth quarter, particularly the effects our cost reduction program has had – ahead of schedule,” said Sass Peress, CEO. “ICP Solar has taken tremendous steps towards reducing its cash burn rate and achieving profitability, and we remain well positioned for solid top line growth in calendar 2009, as indicated by our much stronger fourth quarter sales despite a challenging economic environment.

“Our order book clearly indicates strong demand for our Sunsei® brand of solar chargers, and we are encouraged by the rollout of our Sunsei® GreenMeter™ systems across North America as well as by positive tests overseas. Our innovative solar products and solutions continue to offer practical advantages to the everyday consumer versus less-versatile, lower-performing alternatives. In addition, the stimulus packages now being enacted worldwide are expected to fuel further demand for metering alternative energy applications such as ours.”

The Company plans to release full audited fiscal year results on or before May 1st, 2009

Suntech and Eagle Roofing Sign Distribution Agreement

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

Tuesday February 24, 8:00 am ET

SAN FRANCISCO and RIALTO, Calif., Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s largest photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, and Eagle Roofing Products are pleased to announce that they have entered into an exclusive distribution agreement for North America.

Eagle will distribute SolarBlend(TM) roof tiles to its extensive network of roofing, solar, and electrical contractors as part of its popular Eagle Solar Roof — a roofing system that combines the aesthetics and performance of concrete tile with the functional beauty of solar. The SolarBlend(TM) roof tiles will be approximately four feet wide, 50-watt panels, with grey, terra cotta and brown frames. Expected availability of the 50-watt panels is spring of 2009. Eagle anticipates having these water-resistant solar roof systems featuring SolarBlend(TM) on over 1,000 homes across the country and will continue to train contractors on how to sell and properly install these systems.

“Eagle is proud to offer SolarBlend(TM) from Suntech to our customers and to work with a company whose name means innovative solar,” said Jay Banister, Eagle’s national solar and marketing manager. “Suntech is recognized as the global leader in solar module production and Eagle is dedicated to bringing this clean, efficient energy resource to the roofs of residential and commercial customers throughout North America.” Suntech recently licensed technology for integrated solar modules, including SolarBlend(TM) from Applied Solar, Inc.

Eagle also offers onsite technical support, paperwork processing of state rebates, financing and full permit package submittals including electrical line diagrams and roof layouts. This full suite of wrap-around services enables many non-traditional solar contractors to participate in selling and installing solar systems, greatly increasing the potential of quality solar system installations across the country.

In addition to SolarBlend(TM), Eagle will also carry Suntech’s Black Label(TM) STP 175S – 24/Ab-1 rack-mounted modules. These 175-watt modules will be offered with the same value-added, wrap-around services that are provided with the Eagle Solar Roof.

“We are excited to team with Eagle Roofing Products to offer an integrated solar electric solution,” said Leonard May, Suntech’s managing director of BIPV products. “By combining the core strengths of both companies, we are confident that we will consistently deliver innovative products to a wide audience of contractors and their customers across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.”

Eagle concrete tile is a Class A fire rated, durable, low life-cycle cost roofing material that is protected by a Lifetime, Transferable Limited Product Warranty. As part of its Eagle Green program, Eagle also offers Cool Roof Rating Council and ENERGY STAR approved Cool Roof Tile and the Energy Saving Roof — both of which will complement and improve the performance of an Eagle Solar Roof.

For additional information on Eagle Roofing Products, the Eagle Solar Roof and the Eagle Green program, contact Melissa Pellerito, Eagle’s marketing communications manager, at (909) 355-7000 or visit http://www.eagleroofing.com .

China Sunergy Signs Solar Cell Sales Agreement With U.S. Based Manufacturer of Photovoltaic Products

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

Tuesday February 24, 8:00 am ET

China Sunergy to Ship 20MW to 25MW of Solar Cells in 2009 to Photovoltaic Firm

NANJING, China, Feb. 24 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, today announced that it has entered into a wafer purchase agreement and a solar cell sales agreement with a U.S. based photovoltaic products firm.

Pursuant to the terms of the agreements, China Sunergy will utilize the multi-silicon wafers purchased from the firm to produce multi-silicon solar cells, which will then be sold back to the firm for incorporation into its downstream solar products. Based on the forecast provided by the U.S. based manufacturer, a total of 20MW to 25MW of solar cells will be supplied by China Sunergy throughout 2009.

The agreements may be replaced by an OEM tolling agreement between China Sunergy and the manufacturer, which is expected to come into force in April 2009. The parties expect that the OEM tolling agreement would not alter the basis of the purchasing and sales terms currently outlined in the existing contracts.

Commenting on the news, Dr. Ruennsheng Allen Wang, CEO of China Sunergy, remarked:

”The securing of this year-long agreement with our U.S. partner, especially during a period of instability within the solar sector, demonstrates that China Sunergy is able to execute on our strategy of signing financially profitable, mutually beneficial agreements with a diverse set of customers. We will continue to seek out additional suitable partners for our advanced solar products across a wide spectrum of geographies and industry segments.”

February 23, 2009

First Stage of Construction on 2.8MW Solar Installation Atop Germany’s A3 Highway Tunnel Nears Completion

Filed under: ESLR — Tags: , , — Jason @ 1:17 pm

Monday February 23, 1:17 pm ET

Evergreen Solar panels used in landmark installation that will be one of Germany’s largest

MARLBORO, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Evergreen Solar, Inc. (ESLR), a manufacturer of STRING RIBBON™ solar power products with its proprietary, low-cost silicon wafer manufacturing technology, announced today that a landmark installation placing more than 16,000 solar panels on the roof of the tunnel of Germany’s A3 highway using Evergreen Solar panels is nearing completion of its first phase of construction. When finished, the 2.8 megawatt solar installation will be one of Germany’s largest and first to be located on a public highway.

The installation, located near Aschaffenburg, Germany, occupies 2.7 kilometers of the A3 tunnel roof and, upon completion, will provide enough energy to power more than 600 average houses annually. German-based solar installer Ralos is overseeing the construction and working with Goldbach-Hoesbach, a German power provider. Goldbach-Hoesbach, which purchased the land from the German government, will oversee the projects inconnectivity to the power grid. The investment in the project is €11 million, which will be paid back through cost savings over 16 years.

“This project is a testament to the fact that when both government and developers work together in a creative and goal-oriented way, positive results such as clean, renewable energy can be the result,” said Peter Rusch, Evergreen Solar’s director of marketing and sales for Europe, the Middle East and Asia. “Theoretically, there’s a huge amount of free space on highway bridges and tunnels. If this example is replicated throughout Germany, the country’s market share on solar energy could rise substantially.”

First Solar: Earnings Tomorrow; Collins Stewart Cuts Ests

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 11:07 am

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

First Solar (FSLR) shares are trading lower ahead of the company’s Q4 earnings report, which is due after the close tomorrow.

Collins Stewart analyst Daniel Ries this morning trimmed his forecasts for the company. For ‘09, he now sees revenue of $2.072 billion, down from $2.178 billion, with EPS of $7.62, down from $8.10. For Q1, he goes to $1.45, from $1.57, with shipments of 203 MW, down from 212 MW.

For Q4, he sees $418 million in sales and profits of $1.40 a share; the Street is forecasting $410 million and $1.30. He sees shipments of 177 MW with as ASP of $2.28/watt.

Ries repeated his Buy rating on the stock, but cut his target price to $175, from $210.

* Meanwhile, Caris Co.’s Ben Pang this morning repeated his Buy rating and $170 price target on the stock. He contends the company is likely to meet consensus estimates for Q4, and that the focus will be on 2009 revenue guidance. He thinks they will repeat their previous forecast of $2 billion to $2.1 billion. “This would provide some evidence that the solar space is stabilizing and revive hope that the stimulus package can re-accelerate growth.
* Credit Suisse’s Satya Kumar likewise maintained his Outperform rating and $150 target, advising investors to stay long heading into earnings. “The margin risk from falling poly pirces and excess inventory concerns do not worry us at these levels,” he writes. “Upside from U.S. demand is a major positive following the stimulus – large U.S. utility scale contracts are catalysts ahead.” He sees Q4 revenue of $426 million and EPS of $1.34 For ‘09, he projects $2.05 billion and $7.53 a share.

BioSolar “Could Significantly Reduce the Cost of Solar Cells” Claims TheFutureofThings.com

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

Monday February 23, 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 modules, was touted as a “novel technology” that “could significantly reduce the cost of solar cells,” according to an article posted February 18 on TheFutureOfThings.com.

As the company moves towards production, BioSolar continues to sustain media attention for its cost-saving and environmentally-friendly BioBacksheetTM solar cell technology and its role in helping solve our Nation’s energy woes. In an interview with Ken Silverstein of EnergyBiz Insider, Dr. David Lee, CEO of BioSolar is quoted as saying, “For technology developers to be successful in the next five years, they have to reduce costs and improve quality.” Dr. Lee also discussed the importance of reducing dependency on petroleum in a Partners Green article posted February 19, 2009.

“We are pleased to see the continued media interest in BioSolar and our BioBacksheetTM technology. As the production stage draws closer, we hope the increasingly positive coverage drives us to the forefront of the solar industry where manufacturers are looking for any and all ways to reduce the cost of their solar panels,” said Dr. Lee.

XsunX Highlights Key Provisions Benefiting the Solar Industry in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

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

Monday February 23, 6:00 am ET

ALISO VIEJO, Calif., Feb. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — XsunX, Inc. (XSNX), a solar technology company engaged in the build-out of its multi-megawatt thin film photovoltaic (TFPV) solar manufacturing facilities in Oregon, highlighted today key provisions of the $70 billion USD investment in renewable energy signed into law by President Barack Obama as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 which is designed to increase the use of renewable sources of energy, promote energy efficiency and transmission, improve financing options, and removes market barriers all of which are significant regulatory actions that may prove to be beneficial for XsunX and the renewable energy industry.

The bill provides $2.3 billion worth of energy related manufacturing investment tax credits (ITC) at a 30% rate to address current renewable energy credit market concerns. The bill also provides provisions in which developers can apply for grants of up to 30% of the total cost of eligible projects in lieu of the ITC. These credits and grants apply to projects creating or retooling manufacturing facilities to make components used to generate renewable energy. These are areas in which XsunX is already carrying out activities.

“Solar energy plays a significant aspect of the energy future president Barack Obama has cited in his commitment to generating millions of new green collar jobs while building a new energy economy built on clean energy manufactured and produced in America,” commented Tom Djokovich, CEO of XsunX. “Similar to how the burst of the Internet bubble in 2000 did little to prevent the continued rapid adoption of pervasive and efficient new communication technologies, I believe that today’s economic difficulties offset by the new administrations energy policies may allow for the continued rapid adoption of solar as a pervasive and efficient new energy source. At XsunX we remain focused on bringing about the completion of our initial manufacturing facilities in Portland, Oregon, so we may begin filling the orders we have received for our solar modules in 2009 and 2010,” he concluded.

The following are highlights of legislation from the bill for renewable energy growth and in particular solar energy:

* Subsidized Renewable Energy Financing means businesses and individuals can qualify for the full amount of the solar tax credit.
* The Renewable Energy Loan Guarantee Program creates a temporary loan guarantee program for renewable energy projects, renewable energy manufacturing facilities and electric power transmission projects.
* The Renewable Energy Manufacturing Investment Credit provides up to $2.3 billion to fund a 30 percent investment tax credit for manufacturing assets used to manufacture alternative energy.
* New Clean Renewable Energy Bonds provides an additional $1.6 billion for bonds to finance facilities that generate electricity from renewable energy sources including solar.
* Solar on Federal Property appropriates $5.5 billion for expenditures on federal buildings to increase energy efficiency, including installing solar energy equipment.
* The legislation provides $30 billion in energy efficiency measures including the Smart Grid Investment Program to modernize the electricity grid for added reliability and efficiency.
* Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds authorizes $2.4 billion in bonds to finance programs to reduce energy consumption by at least 20% and develop electricity from renewable energy sources.
* Green Collar Jobs appropriates $500 million to fund job training programs in energy efficiency and renewable energy.

A complete copy of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 can be found at the following link, http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h1enr.pdf .

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