North Coast Solar Stocks

June 30, 2009

Toledo Tries to Overcome Rust-Belt Image, Become Green Jobs Metropolis

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:48 pm

By: Brooke Sopelsa, Writer/Producer | 30 Jun 2009 | 02:48 PM ET |

The glass is half full again in Toledo. The Ohio city once known as the glass-making capital of America is trying to forge a new identity as a solar energy, green jobs metropolis of the future.

“This is a very important growth sector for us,” says Rep. Marcy Kaptur, a Democrat, whose district includes Toledo. “We’re carving out a well-deserved reputation as a leading region for alternative energy research and manufacturing.”

While job growth in Ohio is down, green job growth in the state is up, according to a new study from Pew Charitable Trusts. According to the study, Ohio’s clean energy sector grew by 7.3 percent between 1998 and 2007, while the state’s overall job base fell by 2.2 percent during the same time.

“The idle manufacturing capacity that is spread across Rust Belt states really presents enormous opportunity to locate the manufacturing of these new clean energy goods, many of which are very similar in nature to things that were being built there previously,” says Benjamin Goldstein, a policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.

Toledo, which has an unemployment rate of 12 percent, more than a point higher than the state average and nearly three points higher than the national average, is hoping to become not just Ohio’s clean energy capital, but the country’s. The city, the state, the University of Toledo and local entrepreneurs are working together to make this a reality.

“We have about 6,000 people at the moment employed in 15 research and manufacturing institutions that are focused entirely upon solar energy,” says Toledo Mayor Marty Finkbeiner. “We would like to see over a decade that number grow from 6,000 to 20,000.”

The University of Toledo is one of the driving forces behind the city’s green makeover. In 2000, the university started looking at ways to support regional development, eventually deciding the best way was to develop a clean energy program, with a focus on solar energy.

“We wanted to establish one premiere area where we could be as good as anybody in the world,” says Dr. Frank Calzonetti, vice president of research development at the University of Toledo. “We picked one area where we wanted to build a very strong core of research that would lend itself to invention and also support technology development in our area.”

The University of Toledo has a long history with solar energy. In the 1980s, a glass expert and Ohio native by the name of Harold McMaster used his knowledge to create solar cells. He started a business at the university called Solar Cells, which more than a decade later became First Solar (FSLR), now the largest manufacturer of thin-film solar cells in the world. Although the company is now headquartered in Tempe, Ariz., it has a manufacturing plant just outside Toledo that employees more than 700 people.


Trina, Yingli Seen Taking Shr From U.S., EU Solar Players

Filed under: TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 10:36 am

Posted by Eric Savitz

Both Trina Solar (TSL) and Yingli Green Energy (YGE) shares are trading higher today following upgrades by Morgan Stanley analyst Sunil Gupta. He thinks both companies are going to take market share in the solar sector from U.S.-based and European rivals. Here are the details:

* Trina: Rating to Overweight from Underweight. Target to $37 from $7.30. (Wow, that’s quite a change of heart there.) The reasons for the more bullish stance: an expected industry inflection next year, Trina’s position as a low-cost producer, “and hence its potential to gain market share at the expense of high cost EU and U.S. producers.” He sees TSL driven by “high volume growth, low-to-moderate margins and relatively good working capital management.”
* Yingli: Rating to Equal Weight from Underweight, Target to $16.30 from $3.10. (Wow, again.) Gupta writes that is new stance on the stock is based on “easier domestic credit and capital market conditions, which have eliminated financial survival risk, opening up of the domestic China market and prospects of a gain in global market share.” He thinks Yingli, like Trina, will take share from the U.S. and European players due to cost advantages. That said, he thinks the stock’s valuation is “reasonable, but not compelling.”

TSL today is up $1.42, or 5.9%, to $25.41. YGE is up 27 cents, or 2.1%, to $13.43.

Suntech Signs $50 Million Convertible Loan Agreement with IFC

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 9:24 am

Tuesday June 30, 2009, 9:24 am EDT

SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., and WUXI, China, June 30 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s largest manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, announced today that it has signed a US$50 million convertible loan agreement with IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, to support Suntech’s transition to the high efficiency Pluto technology and debt refinancing requirements. Suntech is permitted to draw the loan upon satisfaction of various conditions precedent, which Suntech believes it will satisfy within 30 days.

The convertible loan has a fixed rate coupon of 5.0% per annum payable on June 15 and December 15 in each year. If not converted, the loan will be repayable in full 7 years after the date of drawdown. The conversion price of the loan is US$18.00 per American depositary share (ADS), which was set at a premium over the average trading price over 20 trading days immediately prior to notice that IFC’s board had approved the convertible loan.

“We are pleased that IFC, a world class investment institution that supports sustainable development, has agreed to provide Suntech with a convertible loan of $50 million,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO. “These additional funds will strengthen Suntech’s financial position and support our transition to the high efficiency Pluto technology as we progress towards our goal of providing grid parity solar solutions.”

“IFC is pleased to support Suntech, one of the leaders in the solar PV industry,” said Randall Riopelle, Manager, Global Manufacturing & Services Department. “We are pleased to be partnering with a company focused on developing best in class technology and which has demonstrated a firm commitment to the highest corporate responsibility standards. We look forward to working with Suntech as solar energy becomes an increasingly important source of renewable energy for China and for the world.”

About IFC

IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, creates opportunity for people to escape poverty and improve their lives. We foster sustainable economic growth in developing countries by supporting private sector development, mobilizing private capital, and providing advisory and risk mitigation services to businesses and governments. Our new investments totaled $16.2 billion in fiscal 2008, a 34 percent increase over the previous year. For more information, please visit

Trina Solar’s Glass Supplier to Invest in Changzhou Trina PV Industrial Park

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

Tuesday June 30, 2009, 8:00 am EDT

CHANGZHOU, China, June 30 /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 one of the Company’s key solar module glass suppliers, Beijing Hua Mei Dazheng Technology Co. Ltd (“Beijing Hua Mei”), has signed an investment agreement to establish a production facility in the Changzhou Trina Photovoltaic Industrial Park. The agreement was signed with the Changzhou National High Tech District to build a production facility adjacent to Trina Solar’s manufacturing campus. Construction of the facility is planned to start in the second half of 2009, with production expected to begin in the first half of 2010.

Beijing Hua Mei is one of the first PV glass companies to be established in China and has supplied Trina Solar since 2007. Trina Solar has entered into a long term agreement to purchase solar module glass produced by the new Changzhou production facility.

“We are excited by the ongoing developments of the Changzhou Trina PV Industrial Park and the opportunity to continue forming a strong partnership with Beijing Hua Mei,” said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar’s Chairman and CEO.

“Adding this key component supplier to the PV Park will support our goals to realize procurement and logistical advantages to accelerate our near term cost reduction initiatives. We are pleased that this important supplier has chosen to locate adjacent to the Trina Solar campus, and we believe this shows that Changzhou is fast becoming a hub for China’s solar PV industry.”

Yingli Green Energy Announces Exercise of Over-Allotment Option

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

Tuesday June 30, 2009, 6:00 am EDT

BAODING, China, June 30 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE; “Yingli Green Energy”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced that it closed the sale of an additional 2,790,000 American Depositary Shares (“ADSs”), each representing one ordinary share of Yingli Green Energy, at the public offering price of US$13.00 per share, pursuant to the over-allotment option exercised in full by the underwriters of its recent follow-on offering, which priced on June 16, 2008. The exercise of the over-allotment option brings the total number of ADSs sold by Yingli Green Energy in the follow-on offering to 18,390,000 and the aggregate net proceeds received by Yingli Green Energy to approximately US$227.4 million, after deducting underwriting discounts and commissions and estimated offering expenses payable by the Company.

This press release does not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any security and shall not constitute an offer, solicitation or sale in any jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful.

June 29, 2009

Fed works to speed solar development in Southwest

Filed under: none — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 5:30 pm


LAS VEGAS (AP) — The federal government’s top land steward said Monday that the United States will fast-track efforts to build solar power generating facilities on public space in six Western states.

Interior Secretary Ken Salazar said he has signed an order setting aside more than 1,000 square miles of public land for two years of study and environmental reviews to determine where solar power stations should be built.

“We are putting a bull’s-eye on the development of solar energy on our public lands,” Salazar said during an announcement with U.S. Sen. Harry Reid of Nevada, in a courtyard shaded by a solar power array at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas.

Salazar and Reid, the Democratic Senate majority leader, invoked President Barack Obama’s call for rapid development of renewable energy.

“We hear a lot about doing something about the environment,” Reid said. “That’s what this is all about. We want to not be dependent on foreign oil. This will make America a more secure nation.”

Salazar vowed to have 13 “commercial-scale” solar projects under construction by the end of 2010. He set a goal of producing a total of 100,000 megawatts of solar electricity.

Salazar said the federal Bureau of Land Management plans to spend $22 million conducting studies of 24 tracts in the 670,000 acres of property he set aside in Nevada, Arizona, California, Colorado, Utah and New Mexico. Posters displayed Monday showed some of the sites in southern Nevada, Southern California east of San Diego, an area west of Phoenix, and tracts north of Cedar City in Utah, southwest of Pueblo, Colo., and around Las Cruces, N.M.

Bureau officials said the goal will be to identify lands of at least three square miles with solar exposure, suitable slopes and proximity to existing or designated roads and transmission lines. Wilderness, high-conservation-value lands and lands with conflicting uses were excluded. Setting aside the sites, called Solar Energy Study Areas, would prevent new mining claims and other third-party use during the studies.

An industry official hailed Salazar’s promise to clear a logjam in utility-scale solar developments. The BLM said it has 158 active applications for solar power plants pending.


SunPower, Wells Fargo Team to Finance $100 Million in Solar Projects

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

Monday June 29, 2009, 4:05 pm EDT

First Projects with University of California, Merced and Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority

SAN FRANCISCO and SAN JOSE, Calif., June 29 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Wells Fargo (WFC) and SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB) today announced a new collaborative effort to fund up to $100 million in SunPower commercial-scale solar systems.

Under the financing program, SunPower will enter into power purchase agreements with qualified customers and Wells Fargo will finance the solar power systems that SunPower will design, build, operate, and maintain. Customers hosting the systems will buy the electricity from SunPower at prices that are competitive with retail rates, providing them with a long-term hedge against rising power prices and the ability to take advantage of the environmental and financial benefits of solar power with no initial capital investment.

“We see increasing opportunities over the next several years to support renewable energy markets,” said Barry Neal, director of Wells Fargo’s Environmental Finance. “By teaming up with SunPower, we intend to support growth in the solar energy market by making it easier and more affordable for businesses and public entities to benefit from solar electricity today.”

The first projects financed under the program include a 1.1-megawatt system for University of California, Merced, and a 1-megawatt system for the Western Riverside County Regional Wastewater Authority. Scheduled for completion by year end, both will be ground-mounted systems using the patented SunPower® T20 Tracker technology, which follows the sun throughout the day and delivers up to 30 percent more energy than fixed-tilt ground systems.

“SunPower offers high performance solar technology and financing expertise that helps customers maximize savings on their electricity expenditures. Our relationship with Wells Fargo strengthens our project finance efforts, streamlining the implementation of clean, renewable solar power for SunPower’s large commercial and public customers throughout the U.S.,” said Mac Irvin, managing director of SunPower’s structured finance group.

SunPower has more than 500 large public and commercial solar power systems installed or under contract, representing more than 400 megawatts. The company pioneered the use of solar power purchase agreements in 2000.

Wells Fargo has provided more than $1.75 billion in financing for renewable energy projects since 2006. That includes funding for 27 wind projects, more than 150 commercial-scale solar projects and 1 utility-scale solar thermal project.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company is a diversified financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets, providing banking, insurance, investments, mortgage and consumer finance through more than 10,400 stores, over 12,000 ATMs and the internet ( across North America and internationally. The Company promotes economic growth and self-sufficiency, education, social services, the arts and the environment in thousands of communities across North America. In 2008, the Company gave $226 million in grants to 14,000 nonprofits. Team members contributed 1.4 million volunteer hours and served on 16,000 nonprofit boards. The merger of Wells Fargo and Wachovia makes our presence stronger in the communities we serve. For more about Wells Fargo’s achievements in Social Responsibility:

Canadian Solar Announces 120MW of Recent Sales Orders

Filed under: CSIQ — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 8:05 am

Monday June 29, 2009, 8:05 am EDT

Canadian Solar Inc. (“the Company”, “Canadian Solar” or “we”) (CSIQ) today announced it has received a purchase order from Systaic AG (SYSCF) for 30 MW of solar modules to be delivered to Spain. This is a specific purchase order under the 60 MW annual supply agreement that the two companies announced in October of 2008. Delivery under the agreement has already started.

Including this new 30MW purchase order, the Company has recently signed or reconfirmed sales contracts, contract extensions or received purchase orders for delivery of about 120MW of solar module products to 24 customers in Europe, North America and Asia. Most of these deliveries are expected to take place from June to October.

Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO remarked, “We have insisted on quality products and services, long-term partnerships and prudent financial management. We are pleased that our efforts have paid off. The recent ‘flight to product quality and financial strength’ by customers, coupled with very competitive pricing have resulted in strong demand for our solar modules. The relationship between Canadian Solar and Systaic is a good example. The two companies have developed a solid partnership since early 2008, and Systaic has been one of our Top 10 customers in 2008. We have supported each other in recent quarters, leveraging Canadian Solar’s compelling product portfolio and financial strengths with Systaic’s strong system integration capability and large footprint in Europe, especially in the key markets of Germany, Spain and Italy. We are looking forward to our ongoing collaboration given both companies commitment to quality workmanship, innovation and service.”

Michael Pack, CEO of Systaic said: “We decided to start executing the annual agreement as the financing environment is improving, reconfirming our intention to reach the 60 MW annual target. The combination of Systaic’s system technology and Canadian Solar’s high performance modules has delivered high energy yields in the Spanish projects our companies have executed. As a result, Systaic recently completed a transaction to sell one of our solar farms, built with Canadian Solar’s modules, to a well-known off-take fund. The transaction has successfully received a refinancing from a leading German bank, underscoring the high financial attractiveness and bankability of our projects.”

About Systaic AG (SYSCF)

Due to the consequent implementation of its strategy, Systaic AG belongs to the fastest growing companies in the sector of renewable energies in Europe. The SYSTAIC group produces and markets Europe-wide a new generation of solar systems that differs significantly from the systems currently available on the market. The product portfolio is enhanced by the offer of comprehensive services. The patent-pending integrated system solutions for buildings are highly flexible regarding their design and are offered together with a yield guarantee for over 24 years. Systaic’s subsidiary Enerparc is currently implementing the world’s largest building-integrated photovoltaic power plant.

June 26, 2009

Applied Materials Applauds House for Rapidly Moving Forward on Climate Change, Urges Fast Action to Enact Legislation

Filed under: AMAT — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:41 pm

Friday June 26, 2009, 7:41 pm EDT

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) today expressed strong support for the U.S. House of Representatives’ passage of the American Climate and Energy Security Act (ACES).

“Like the decision to fund a space program and put a man on the moon in the 60s, this bill could be heralded as a true inflection point: the moment when the U.S. got serious about clean energy. It will certainly be one of the most important bills considered by Congress, given its far reaching impact on the economy and the environment,” said Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials, the largest solar equipment manufacturer in the world. “The U.S. is stating unequivocally to the world that we want to be leaders when it comes to saving our climate.”

“Speaker Pelosi and Chairmen Henry Waxman and Ed Markey have shown tremendous leadership with their tireless work and leadership to bring this ‘Clean Deal’ legislation to fruition in the House. They have helped to set the United States on a course of transformation to a low carbon economy, which we believe will create enormous economic opportunity in clean energy, including thousands of jobs, and drive an energy innovation revolution potentially bigger than the information and computing age,” Splinter added.

“While the cap and trade component of this bill is critical, the importance of the national standard for renewable energy generation should not be overlooked. It will take years to fully regulate carbon dioxide. In the meantime, this bill provides financing mechanisms that will increase the use of renewable energy immediately, curbing climate change emissions and spurring significant investment in the green economy now. We are greatly encouraged by the House’s vote today and look forward to similar action by the Senate, with a goal to seeing legislation enacted this year.”

Applied Materials is focused on powering future economic growth through solar photovoltaic technology that is viable today. Applied is making solar more affordable and scalable through products used to manufacture wafer-based crystalline silicon solar panels, as well as the company’s revolutionary SunFab™ Thin film line, which produces the largest solar panels in the world. Applied was recently honored with the Wall Street Journal’s 2008 Technology Innovation Award for its SunFab production line. Applied Materials brings 40 years of innovation and manufacturing experience in the semiconductor and flat panel display industries to the energy and environment sector.

China Sunergy Files Annual Report on Form 20-F

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

Friday June 26, 2009, 11:00 am EDT

NANJING, China, June 26 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, today announced that its Annual Report on Form 20-F for the year ended December 31, 2008, has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its 2008 audited financial statements. The Annual Report on Form 20-F can be accessed via the investor relations section on the Company’s website at: .

The Company will provide a hard copy of its 20-F annual report, including audited financial statements, free of charge to its shareholders and ADS holders upon request. Requests should be directed to or Investor Relations, China Sunergy Co., Ltd, No. 123, West Focheng Road, Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, People’s Republic of China, 211100.

An electronic copy of the 20-F annual report can also be found in the website of the Securities and Exchange Commission.

June 25, 2009

Spire Secures Expanded $8 Million Revolving Credit Facility with Silicon Valley Bank

Filed under: SPIR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 2:30 pm

Thursday June 25, 2009, 2:30 pm EDT

BEDFORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Spire Corporation (SPIR), a global solar company providing turnkey solar factories and capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules and solar systems worldwide, today announced that it has amended its current Revolving Credit Facility. In addition to the amended $3 million facility, the Company has added an additional $5 million revolver under an Export-Import Credit Facility which is backed by a guarantee from the Export-Import Bank of the United States (the “Ex-Im Bank”). The existing Equipment Credit Facility will be retained with no additional funds available under that line. In the aggregate, the Company will have availability of up to $8 million over the next year.

Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire Corporation, commented, “We are pleased to receive these credit facilities, which improve our liquidity to support our growth. Silicon Valley Bank has been a good financial partner. Even with the tough banking environment, we were also able to increase the loan availability with the assistance of the guarantee offered by Ex-Im Bank.”

“Spire is well positioned in the growing PV solar renewable market,” said Jay T. Tracy of Silicon Valley Bank’s Boston office. “We are glad we are able to renew our commitment to the Company and help it meet its growth objectives, particularly in such a challenging economy.”

About Silicon Valley Bank

Silicon Valley Bank is the premier commercial bank for companies in the technology, life science, venture capital and premium wine industries. SVB provides a comprehensive suite of financing solutions, treasury management, corporate investment and international banking services to its clients worldwide. Through its focus on specialized markets and extensive knowledge of the people and business issues driving them, Silicon Valley Bank provides a level of service and partnership that measurably impacts its clients’ success. Founded in 1983 and headquartered in Santa Clara, California, the company serves clients around the world through 27 U.S. offices and international operations in China, India, Israel and the United Kingdom. Silicon Valley Bank is a member of global financial services firm SVB Financial Group (Nasdaq: SIVB – News), with SVB Analytics, SVB Capital, SVB Global and SVB Private Client Services. More information on the company can be found at

First Solar Reaching Fair Value

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 2:09 pm

Canaccord Adams downgraded the stock to Hold citing a lack of catalysts.

By Canaccord Adams ($171.19, June 25, 2009)

WHILE WE LIKE First Solar (FSLR) as a long-term leader in the solar energy space, we are downgrading the shares to Hold from Buy as near-term pressures and a lack of positive catalysts cause us to conclude that the shares are near their fair value. We maintain our $180 price target, which is based off of a 25 times multiple of our 2009 earnings-per-share estimate.

First Solar hosted a highly anticipated analyst day — its first in well over a year. The company laid out ambitious targets with respect to module efficiency and throughput, but alluded to little else in the way of some of the positive announcements we were looking for.

First Solar remains the leading solar company, in our opinion; however, the company issued fairly ambitious targets with respect to the project pipeline and technology advances, and a lack of visibility into further positive catalysts remains. Additionally, the company’s business model and financial model are changing fairly significantly.

As we suspected, the company’s new focus will lower gross margins but likely increase income in absolute terms. While the company has finally properly set expectations, we believe that the decreasing margin profile may turn some investors off until the higher income and cash flows actually materialize.

It will continue to recognize module sales as revenue on shipment, turnkey systems as a percentage of completion, and development projects as an asset sale with the gain/loss as an operating expense. The company will strive to focus on return on net assets (RONA) and economic value add (EVA), as the company (rightfully so) believes these are strong metrics for measuring the generation of shareholder value.

Further, empirical evidence has shown a strong correlation with share performance and these metrics. While it would prefer not to define its business in terms of its margin profile, it did lay out a roadmap to 35%-40% gross margins as part of its strategy to diversify downstream, but noted that income in absolute terms and RONA targets should remain.

First Solar is targeting all three possible utility entry points: through regulated/public utilities directly, through the utility affiliate independent power producers, and through unaffiliated power producers. The OptiSolar acquisition in early 2009 gave First Solar 1,400 megawatts of U.S. utility-scale projects, in various stages of negotiation. It also acquired 136,000 acres of strategic land rights and 8,600 megawatts of interconnection positions. The company believes that these items, as well as its existing projects, make up the country’s largest utility-scale pipeline.

While First Solar is certainly well positioned in the U.S., we believe the above figures should be discounted given the early stages of some of the negotiations and uncertainties in legislation, permitting, etc. First Solar estimates it currently takes almost 18 months to four years to site a large project from inception to the beginning of physical construction in the U.S.

For comparison, its installer customers in Germany can site a large project from inception in under a year. Part of the [difference] is related to different permitting and other procedural differences, but First Solar has indicated that there are areas that it can improve upon, and is focusing on these areas as it grows into its EPC [engineering, procurement and construction] business. The company has gained valuable experience with the El Dorado plant, and is fine-tuning the system design, construction methods, materials, etc. The company is confident that it can climb the learning curve on project development but stressed that it will likely take some time to do so.

For the first time essentially since the IPO [initial public offering], the company has updated its technology roadmap. First Solar has outpaced the efficiency gains of crystalline silicon, having increased from an average of approximately 5% in 2001 to the 10.9% currently, compared to silicon which has only improved by around 200 basis points in the same time frame. The company claims strong visibility to 12.5% cells in the near- to midterm (2012), and it believes that 16%-18% is a practical production potential toward 2014.

Almost all areas can still be improved upon including: optical engineering, contact engineering, grain-boundary engineering, band engineering and dopant engineering. The company maintains its projection of $1.00 per watt for the balance of systems by 2012 and has extended its forecast to 91 cents-98 cents per watt by 2014. Similarly, it is maintaining its module-manufacturing-cost projection will reach 65 cents-70 cents by 2012 and extended it to 52 cents-63 cents per watt by 2014. This cost decrease is driven largely by the efficiency improvements mentioned above as well increased throughput. First Solar projects that its average nameplate capacity will rise to 80 megawatts from a current 49 megawatts by 2014.

— Jonathan Dorsheimer
— Josh Baribeau

First Solar: More Trouble As Phoenix Solar Issues Warning

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:06 pm

Posted by Eric Savitz

There’s fresh evidence of continued weakness in the solar sector.

Phoenix Solar, a German solar module company that ranks among the largest customers for First Solar (FSLR), today advised investors not to rely on its previous 2009 guidance for EBIT, earnings before interest and taxes, of 31 million Euros.

“The reason for this assessment is the continuing decline in prices, particularly for solar modules, resulting in downward pressure on margins, buying resistance on the part of customers, and an increased devaluation requirement for current inventories,” Phoenix Solar said in a statement. “Until now, based on various signals, the Board of Directors had expected that price declines had reached their lowest point and that earning situation would recover. These expectations were not confirmed.”

The company said it still expects positive EBIT for the year, but that it will only issue detailed guidance when prices have stabilized. The company is keeping its revenue guidance of 520 million Euros.

Hapoalim Securities analyst Gordon Johnson asserts in a research note that Phoenix is actually First Solar’s single largest customer. “We strongly recommend our readers Sell,” he writes.

In German trading, Phoenix Solar shares fell 5.75 Euros, or 14.3%, to 34.45.

FSLR is down$11.57, or 6.8%, to $159.62.

Commerce Secretary: Energy entrepreneurs will lift U.S.

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:23 pm

6/25/2009 1:23:50 PM

DETROIT: High energy prices in Europe are causing 80% of the solar panels built in Michigan by United Solar Ovonics to be shipped overseas.

But company officials were buoyed today after a visit from U.S. Commerce Secretary Gary Locke, who said that the Obama administration’s commitment to renewable energy will help transform the state.

“Hopeful is how I feel about the future of Michigan and America. I know Washington, D.C., can only do so much. So it will take the spirit of American entrepreneurs to dig us out,” Locke said during a town hall meeting at one of United Solar Ovonics plants in Auburn Hills.

“American workers are designing and building components that are changing the way people are using energy. And that’s the way to go until economy is humming again,” Locke said. “But I know we’re going to get there because of companies like United Solar Ovonics.”

He listed a number of renewable energy proposals that will help companies like Uni-Solar, including a 30% tax credit for people and businesses who install solar roofs on their home or business; an $11-billion investment on the electrical grid, a $120-million research and development investment for solar; and $6 billion in investments toward renewable power generation.

In addition, Locke told about 100 people at the plant that the Commerce Department will open a one stop shop this year in Detroit to help businesses connect with customers across the world.

“We will have Commerce department employees who will line up potential customers for you at embassies or consulates across the world,” Locke said. “They have a proven record for success.”

Mark Morelli, CEO of Uni-Solar’s parent company Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), said the company is very excited about the potential in the U.S. market.

“This is a new industry that is growing. We have 2,000 employees and we’re very proud of having a Michigan based workforce,” Morelli said. “We’re really excited that we’ll have a real opportunity to sell our product in the United States.”

Uni-Solar opened its first manufacturing plant in Auburn Hills in 2003 and has since doubled its capacity there and opened two more plants in Greenville. The company also broke ground in November on a fifth plant in Battle Creek.

Sales of solar products for United Solar Ovonics’ parent company — Energy Conversion Devices — for the first nine months of this fiscal year grew to $246 million compared to $154 million for the same period in the 2007-08 fiscal year.

But one employee noted that sales in the United States have been lagging.

“With the president’s proposal on tax credits … The future is very, very bright for alternative energy and solar energy,” Locke said.

PG&E Teams With NRG Energy and eSolar for 92 Megawatts of Solar Thermal Power

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

Thursday June 25, 2009, 1:00 pm EDT

Project Features Unique Modular Technology to Speed Delivery of Clean Energy to Utility Customers

SAN FRANCISCO, June 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Alpine SunTower, LLC, a subsidiary of NRG Energy Inc. (NRG), for 92 megawatts (MW) of renewable, solar thermal power.

The Alpine SunTower project features eSolar’s modular, scalable solar thermal technology and is scheduled for completion in 2012. The project will be located near Lancaster, Calif. and will produce approximately 192 gigawatt-hours of electricity each year. This is equal to the annual consumption of nearly 30,000 average homes.

“PG&E is collaborating with NRG and eSolar to serve our customers’ future energy needs and respond to their demand for renewable resources,” said Fong Wan, senior vice president of energy procurement for PG&E. “The combination of NRG’s proven development skills and eSolar’s innovative technology can provide our customers with clean, affordable energy.”

The project announced today is part of eSolar and NRG’s recently announced plans to develop up to 500 MW of solar thermal power in California and across the Southwestern United States.

“NRG is very pleased to be working hand-in-hand with PG&E, a utility at the forefront of bringing green solutions to the electricity sector, to deploy at scale eSolar’s exciting new solar technology,” said David Crane, NRG’s president and chief executive officer. “As we enter the hot summer months, we are reminded that solar power has a key role to play in helping meet peak demands in California.”

Solar thermal power generates electricity by converting solar energy to heat, which boils water to create steam that turns a turbine. The spinning turbine then generates electricity like a traditional steam plant but without burning fuel or causing emissions, such as greenhouse gases. eSolar’s concentrating solar power projects feature a proprietary combination of optics and software in a pre-fabricated form factor for cost-effective scalability. Its scalable plants will be built in 46 MW unit solutions, each of which requires one quarter square mile of land.

“With the only operating solar power tower technology in the U.S., this new agreement with world-class utility PG&E points to the success of NRG and eSolar to develop solar thermal generation,” said Bill Gross, CEO of eSolar. “eSolar’s power towers can be designed in variable configurations and are easily scalable to meet the growing and evolving needs of forward-looking power providers like PG&E.”

Since 2002, PG&E has entered into contracts for more than 20 percent of its future electric power deliveries from renewable sources. On average, half of the electricity PG&E delivers to its customers comes from carbon-free generating sources, making the company’s energy some of the cleanest consumed by any electric utility customers in the nation.

About Pacific Gas and Electric Company

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

About eSolar

eSolar is an Idealab company founded in 2007 to develop, construct and deploy modular, scalable solar thermal power plants. eSolar’s approach marries a low-impact, pre-fabricated form factor with advanced optics and computer software engineering to meet the demands of utilities of any size for clean, renewable and cost-competitive solar energy. By focusing on the key business obstacles that have characterized large solar installations – price, scalability, speed of deployment and grid impact – eSolar has developed a proprietary solution to make a dramatic reduction in the cost of solar thermal technology. eSolar is based in Pasadena, California. For more information please visit

About NRG

NRG Energy, Inc., a Fortune 500 company, owns and operates one of the country’s largest and most diverse power generation portfolios. Headquartered in Princeton, NJ, the Company’s power plants provide more than 24,000 megawatts of generation capacity, enough to supply more than 20 million homes. NRG’s retail business, Reliant Energy, serves more than 1.7 million residential, business, commercial and industrial customers in Texas. A past recipient of the energy industry’s highest honors–Platts Industry Leadership and Energy Company of the Year awards, NRG is a member of the U.S. Climate Action Partnership (USCAP), a group of business and environmental organizations calling for mandatory legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. More information is available at

First Solar shares fall following analyst day

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:41 pm

Shares of First Solar decline as analysts mixed following meeting with company in Las Vegas

Thursday June 25, 2009, 12:41 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of First Solar (FSLR) fell on Thursday, a day after the company hosted its first analyst day in more than a year.

At the Las Vegas meeting, the company predicted costs to decrease to between 52 cents and 63 cents per watt by 2014, compared with earlier estimates of between 65 cents and 70 cents per watt by 2012. First Solar said its capital spending per watt, which is now at 80 cents per watt, is expected to fall to a target of 50 cents per watt by 2014.

Analysts had mixed reactions to the company’s outlook.

Pacific Crest analyst Mark Bachman said the company’s update was “solid, but that was expected,” citing First Solar’s assurance of controlled manufacturing costs, manageable pricing and “outperforming” financial model. “The stock remains attractive,” Bachman said, rating it “Outperform,” with a $231 price target.

Canaccord Adams analyst Jonathan Dorsheimer said the impact of the solar company’s meeting was “modestly negative,” but that didn’t bump it from its seat as “the leading solar company” in his view. Dorsheimer downgraded the company to “Hold” from “Buy,” citing a lack of positive catalysts and a change in the company’s focus that will lower gross margins but increase income in absolute terms.

“We believe that the decreasing margin profile may turn some investors off until the higher income and cash flows actually materialize,” Dorsheimer said. His price target remains at $180.

Deutsche Bank analyst Steve O’Rourke maintained a “Hold” rating, raising his price target to $170 from $167.

“We believe First Solar is uniquely positioned as one of a select few companies that can effectively drive solar photovoltaic beyond heavily subsidized markets in the coming few years,” said O’Rourke. “We expect this to solidify the company’s market leadership position and substantially grow market share.”

The nation’s largest solar panel maker saw its stock tumble $6.05, or 3.6 percent, to $164.86 in Thursday morning trading.

ReneSola Receives High Technology Status and Qualification for Reduced Income Tax Rate

Filed under: SOL — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:54 am

Thursday June 25, 2009, 10:54 am EDT

JIASHAN, China, June 25 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — ReneSola Ltd (“ReneSola” or the “Company”) (SOL), a leading global manufacturer of solar wafers, today announced that its operating subsidiary, Zhejiang Yuhui Solar Energy Source Co., Ltd., (“Zhejiang Yuhui”), has qualified as a high technology enterprise in China. The classification allows the Company to enjoy a reduced income tax rate of 15% for three years, starting on January 1, 2009. The 15% tax rate applicable to Zhejiang Yuhui replaces the 25% statutory tax rate that the Company will be subject to once the current tax concession expires.

Classification as a high technology enterprise is awarded to companies which meet specific requirements as determined by the central government, including the number of patents and proprietary technologies the enterprise has in addition to the size and expenditure of its R&D facilities.

“We are delighted to be recognized as a high technology enterprise and become one of the select solar companies in China to receive such a qualification,” commented Mr. Xianshou Li, ReneSola’s chief executive officer. “From China’s central to provincial governments, we are seeing an increased focus and commitment on creating incentives for the development of clean, renewable energy such as solar power. As one of China’s leading low-cost, fully-integrated solar companies, we are confident that we are well positioned to play a leading role in helping China achieve its goal of a greener future.”

First Solar: Canaccord Downgrades Post-Analyst Meeting

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 9:53 am

Posted by Eric Savitz

First Solar (FSLR) shares are losing ground this morning on investor disappointment over the company’s meeting with analysts yesterday.

Canaccord Adams analyst Jonathan Dorsheimer this morning cut his rating on the stock to Hold from Buy, while keeping his $180 price target. The stock closed yesterday at $171.19.

“The company laid out ambitious targets with respect to module efficiency and throughput, but alluded to little else in the way of some of the positive announcements we were looking for,” he writes in a research note.

“First Solar remains the leading solar company, in our opinion; however, the company issued fairly ambitious targets with respect to the project pipeline and technology advances, and a lack of visibility into further positive catalysts remains,” Dorsheimer writes. He notes that First Solar’s business model and financial model are changing fairly significantly, with the company focused on lower gross margins likely higher absolute income. “While the company has finally properly set expectations, we believe that the decreasing margin profile may turn some investors off until the higher income and cash flows actually materialize.”

FSLR today is down $7.98, or 4.7%, to $163.21.

Trina Solar Secures $57 Million Credit Facilities

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

Thursday June 25, 2009, 8:00 am EDT

CHANGZHOU, China, June 25 /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 it has secured from Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited new credit facilities totaling approximately $57 million, consisting of trade financing and defensive hedging products. The facilities are aimed to provide financial support to Trina Solar’s raw material procurement and product sales while helping Trina Solar to mitigate foreign exchange risks associated with market volatilities.

“The credit facilities offer us greater flexibility to strengthen our cash flow position to further enhance our capital resources”, said Terry Wang, Trina Solar’s Chief Financial Officer. “We are very pleased to work with Standard Chartered, a well-known international bank with extensive experience and presence in China. Our strategic collaboration with Standard Chartered confirms Trina Solar’s financial strength and ability to secure funding in a challenging economic environment.”

The Company’s total credit facilities stand currently at approximately $520 million, up from $460 million as previously announced. The new credit facilities are part of the Company’s on-going strategy to optimize its long- term capital structure.

About Standard Chartered

Standard Chartered PLC, listed on both London and Hong Kong stock exchanges, ranks among the top 25 companies in the FTSE-100 by market capitalisation. The London-headquartered Group has operated for over 150 years in some of the world’s most dynamic markets, leading the way in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Its income and profits have more than doubled over the last five years primarily as a result of organic growth and supplemented by acquisitions.

Standard Chartered aspires to be the best international bank for its customers across its markets. The Bank derives more than 90 per cent of its operating income and profits from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, generated from its Wholesale and Consumer Banking businesses. The Group has around 1,600 branches and outlets located in over 70 countries. The extraordinary growth of its markets and businesses creates exciting and challenging international career opportunities.

Leading by example to be the right partner for its stakeholders, the Group is committed to building a sustainable business over the long term and is trusted worldwide for upholding high standards of corporate governance, social responsibility, environmental protection and employee diversity. It employs 70,000 people, nearly half of whom are women. The Group’s employees are of 125 nationalities, of which 70 are represented among senior management.

In China, the Bank set up its first branch in Shanghai in 1858 and has remained in operation throughout the past 150 years. Standard Chartered Bank (China) Limited is one of the first foreign banks to locally incorporate in China in April 2007. This demonstrates the Bank’s commitment to the China market, and its leading position as a foreign bank in the banking industry.

Standard Chartered has one of the largest foreign bank networks — with 15 branches, 37 sub-branches, 1 representative office and a Village Bank in China. In 2008, Standard Chartered China clinched the Asian Banker’s Best Foreign Retail Bank in China Award, and the “Outstanding Corporate Award of 2008 Corporate Social Responsibility Ranking in China” by China Business Network.

For more information on Standard Chartered, please log on

June 24, 2009

First Solar Held 2009 Analyst and Investor Meeting

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 9:39 pm

Wednesday June 24, 2009, 9:39 pm EDT

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Executives from First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) today gave a series of presentations to approximately 175 analysts and investors during a meeting in Las Vegas.

First Solar’s executive team highlighted the following items:

* First Solar’s module manufacturing cost roadmap
* A new balance of system cost target
* The Company’s plans for growth
* The importance of opening sustainable markets to photovoltaic technology
* The Company’s project development pipeline
* An updated financial model that includes First Solar’s systems business

A replay of today’s investor and analyst meeting is available on the First Solar’s investor relations Web site at Those seeking additional information can also download today’s executive presentations.

First Solar sees costs down by a third in 5 yrs

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 8:36 pm

Wed Jun 24, 2009 8:36pm EDT

*Manufacturing costs to fall by a third in five years

*Says 16-18 pct conversion efficiency achievable

LOS ANGELES, June 24 (Reuters) – First Solar Inc (FSLR) on Wednesday said it expected to cut manufacturing costs by a third or more over the next five years, mainly by making its solar panels more efficient at transforming sunlight into electricity.

In a presentation to analysts in Las Vegas, First Solar President Bruce Sohn said the company’s manufacturing costs would fall to between 52 cents and 63 cents per watt by 2014. In the first quarter of this year, the company’s cost per watt was 93 cents.

Reducing the cost of solar power is key to making the clean energy source competitive with electricity generated from coal and other fossil fuels.

First Solar currently produces the lowest cheapest panels in the industry. They are made from cadmium telluride rather than the higher-priced polysilicon that is the main raw material in traditional solar panels.

The drawback to First Solar’s panels, however, is that they are less efficient than silicon-based panels.

The company on Wednesday, however, said it would be able to increase its panels’ conversion efficiency to 12.5 percent from 10.9 percent in the next few years. First Solar Vice President of Technology David Eaglesham said the company had “high confidence” of achieving efficiencies well beyond that.

“We believe that 16 to 18 percent as a practical production limit is very achievable,” Eaglesham said, without giving a specific timeline.

The record for cadmium telluride cell efficiency is 16.5 percent, which was achieved in a lab by the United States’ National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

By comparison, First Solar rival SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB), which makes silicon-based panels, recently introduced a solar panel with a conversion efficiency of 19.3 percent.

Prices on silicon-based panels have dropped sharply this year due to weakened demand amid a global recession and falling prices on polysilicon.

First Solar has said it would cut its prices to remain competitive with silicon-based panels, but Chief Executive Mike Ahearn said it was still unclear whether it was a lack of access to financing, competitors’ prices or other factors that were slowing down demand.

“Broadly speaking we need to look at price as a way to drive throughput against the production plan we’ve put in place. The question becomes, is price the constraint?” Ahearn said. “Is that the issue or is volume throughput constrained by other factors like project finance or permitting approvals and so on? It’s pretty easy to get caught up in market hype … Sometimes it’s hard to see what the real data points are.”

Also on Wednesday, Ahearn said the search for a new CEO is still in an “early stage.” Ahearn said in April that he would vacate the CEO, but remain as executive chairman to focus on public policies to stimulate development of renewable energy.

(Reporting by Nichola Groom; Editing Bernard Orr)

5N Plus extends contract with First Solar, shares jump

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:08 pm

Wed Jun 24, 2009 3:08pm EDT

* 5N Plus says First Solar extends supply contract by one year

* Says contract increases minimum quantity to be ordered

* 5N Plus shares up as much as 19 pct

By R. Manikandan

BANGALORE, June 24 (Reuters) – Canadian metals producer 5N Plus Inc said it extended supply agreements with solar panel maker First Solar Inc (FSLR) by one year, sending its shares up as much as 19 percent.

The supply agreements, under which 5N Plus provides cadmium telluride and cadmium sulphide to First Solar from its facilities in Montreal and Germany, were extended till July 31, 2013. Last August, the contract was extended till July 31, 2012.

The amended contract has increased the minimum prescribed quantities of cadmium telluride to be ordered by First Solar by 50 percent, 5N Plus said in a statement.

“I wasn’t surprised to see the extension, but the magnitude of 50 percent increase, I think that is a big surprise to me,” analyst Hendi Susanto of Gabelli and Co said by phone.

Susanto, who has a “buy” rating on 5N Plus stock, said First Solar accounts for 75 to 85 percent of 5N’s cadmium telluride sales. 5N Plus is one of the world’s biggest producer of cadmium telluride that is used to make solar modules.

“Many people have worried that First Solar’s demand is going to weaken in the near future but this news confirmed that First Solar is positive about their shipment projections for this year and years after,” Susanto said.

Solar power companies have been hit hard this year by a lack of access to financing for new projects and a global oversupply of panels that has sent prices on their products into a free fall.

For the third quarter ended Feb. 28, 5N’s profit surged 125 percent to C$5.1 million, with sales climbing 129 percent to C$19.2 million.

5N produces purified metals such as selenium, cadmium and tellurium along with compound materials such as cadmium telluride and cadmium sulphide.

Shares of 5N Plus were up 13 percent, or 68 Canadian cents, at C$6.05 in the afternoon trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. They touched a high of C$6.38 earlier in the session.

(Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

MEMC Elec. shares down after JPMorgan downgrade

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 11:26 am

MEMC Electronic shares down after JPMorgan downgrade on oversupply concern

By Dirk Lammers, AP Energy Writer
Wednesday June 24, 2009, 11:26 am EDT

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) — Shares of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. (WFR), which supplies silicon wafers used in chips and solar cells, fell Wednesday after JPMorgan downgraded the stock on worries that oversupply will drive down sales prices.

Shares lost 26 cents to $17.60 in morning trading.

JPMorgan downgraded MEMC Electronic to “Underweight” from “Overweight” because of the faster-than-expected average sales price declines in all of the company’s product lines.

JPMorgan analyst Christopher Blansett said the Peters, Mo.-based company may need to revise its solar wafer contracts.

“An oversupply of polysilicon seems inevitable given the sheer volume of polysilicon that is expected to come online this year,” Blansett wrote in a client note.

Blansett said that despite the lower demand environment, a number of long lead time polysilicon factories will begin production this year.

“This is resulting in a massive oversupply of polysilicon which could last for years if current announced capacity expansion plans are not scaled back,” he wrote.

Blansett said spot prices for polysilicon are likely to fall well below the $50 per kilogram range in the second half of the year, which would force MEMC Electronic to again lower its spot solar wafer prices to remain competitive.

JPMorgan lowered its 2009 earnings estimate by 5 cents to 19 cents per share on $979 million in revenue, and its 2010 estimate by 11 cents to $1.06 per share on $1.36 billion in revenue.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expect a 2009 per-share profit of 33 cents on $1.1 billion in revenue, and a 2010 per-share profit of $1.20 on $1.5 billion in revenue.

First Solar: Losing Pricing Edge Over Silicon-Based Rivals?

Filed under: FSLR, WFR — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 11:15 am

Posted by Eric Savitz

With polysilicon prices collapsing, 2009 might be as good as it gets for First Solar (FSLR), which makes solar systems based on cadmium telluride rather than silicon. First Solar has historically enjoyed a big price advantage over silicon-based competitors. But that gap has at least narrowed, and may have closed.

Kaufman Bros. analyst Theodore O’Neill this morning repeated his Sell rating on the stock, while maintaining his $86 price target, dramatically below yesterday’s close at $164.42. (And the stock has moved even higher today,) But he contends the Street isn’t doing the math.

“Excess inventory and expensive credit are crimping sales and installations of solar modules worldwide,” he wrote in a note this morning. “Reports of silicon modules at par with installed FSLR modules have been growing for months and reflect over-supply in the solar sector. Last month, FSLR may have been unable to meet its sales targets without offering more attractive terms, essentially financing its own customers.” He adds that polysilicon prices “resist rising” and at current levels make silicon solar cells “far more attractive than they have ever been.” Echoing a point J.P. Morgan made this morning in its bearish call on MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR), O’Neill says polysilicon supply to the solar market is expected to grow 50% at 2010.

He notes that poly prices are now so low that some of the world’s largest chip companies are moving into the solar products market, including, Samsung, LG and Taiwan Semiconductor (TSM).

O’Neill notes that consensus estimates call for FSLR to grow revenue 35% in 2010, 36% in 2011 and 39% in 2012. Given the price declines already seen in 2009, he notes, FSLR would have to see more than 60% volume growth in 2010. He doesn’t buy it: O’Neill sees 2010 revenues of about $2 billion, up about 11% from estimated 2009 revenue of $1.79 billion. He sees EPS of $6.06 this year and $5.27 in 2010; that puts him at odds with the Street consensus of $7.21 this year and $8.76 next year.

Despite the bearish stance, FSLR today is up $8.68, or 5.3%, to $173.10.

Honorable Gary Locke, U.S. Secretary of Commerce, Visits Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. and Tours United Solar Ovonic’s State-of-the-Art Manufacturing Facility

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:08 am

Wednesday June 24, 2009, 11:08 am EDT

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., June 24 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — U.S. Secretary of Commerce Gary Locke today visited the Auburn Hills manufacturing facility of United Solar Ovonic, a wholly owned subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ENER; “ECD”), a manufacturer of proprietary, thin-film amorphous silicon-based photovoltaic (PV) laminates, branded under the UNI-SOLAR® name.

Secretary Locke, as well as representatives of Governor Jennifer Granholm, Congressman Gary Peters, and the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (“MEDC”) were given a brief tour of the facility to show how UNI-SOLAR laminates are produced. Following the tour, Secretary Locke hosted a town-hall meeting for approximately 50 employees of United Solar and ECD to discuss the role of Department of Commerce in nurturing innovation, expanding the global market for U.S. manufacturers, and the important role solar energy plays in creating a cleaner environment and mitigating global warming.

Mark Morelli, ECD’s president and CEO, said, “We were pleased to have an opportunity to show Secretary Locke our state-of-the-art solar manufacturing facility. Our flexible, lightweight solar laminates can play an important role in advancing the Obama administration’s alternative energy program. We look forward to working with Secretary Locke, particularly in expanding emerging markets for our technologically-advanced solar products.”

During the town-hall meeting, Secretary Locke remarked, “The Obama administration is committed to revitalizing American manufacturing – and a big part of how we do that is building solar panels, wind turbines and advanced batteries right here in the Midwest. The Commerce Department will directly assist the small- and medium-size businesses across America who are at the vanguard of America’s renewable energy future.”

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