North Coast Solar Stocks

August 31, 2009

Chinese Solar Stocks Slide After Big Shanghai Tumble

Filed under: CSIQ, CSUN, JASO, LDK, SOL, STP, YGE — Tags: , , — Jason @ 11:31 am

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Shares of China-based solar stocks are down across the board today after the Shanghai stock market fell 6.7% overnight on fears that the country’s economic growth could slow due to a slowdown in lending growth. Acording to Bloomberg, former Morgan Stanley Asian economist Andy Xie said the China market could drop another 25%, on top of a 22% slide in August.

Among the China-based solar names:

* JA Solar (JASO) is down 14 cents, or 3.9%, to $3.48.
* LDK Solar (LDK) is down 32 cents, or 3.5%, to $8.92.
* China Sunergy (CSUN) is down 29 cents, or 6.3%, to $4.29.
* Suntech (STP) is down 78 cents, or 5.2%, to $14.27.
* Canadian Solar (CSIQ) is down 60 cents, or 4%, to $14.59.
* Yingli Green Energy (YGE) is down 46 cents, or 4.2%, to $10.56.
* ReneSola (SOL) is down 9 cents, or 1.6%, to $5.64.

Evergreen Solar and Jiawei Solar Hold Ceremonial Groundbreaking at Wuhan, China Manufacturing Plant

Filed under: ESLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 9:10 am

Construction of 100MW Factories Underway and Set to be Complete by Spring of 2010

Monday August 31, 2009, 9:10 am EDT

MARLBORO, Mass. and WUHAN, China–(BUSINESS WIRE)–In a ceremony today in Wuhan, China, Evergreen Solar, Inc. (ESLR), a manufacturer of String Ribbon™ solar power products with its proprietary, low-cost silicon wafer technology, and its contract manufacturing partner, Jiawei Solarchina Co., celebrated the groundbreaking for their new 100 megawatt manufacturing plants.

Evergreen Solar Chairman, President and CEO Richard M. Feldt was joined by Mr. Qing-Quan Lo, Hubei Province party leader; Mr. Hong-Zhong Li, Governor of Hubei Province; Mr. Song Yang, Wuhan City party leader; Mr. Chen-Fa Ruan, Wuhan City Mayor and other high ranking government officials as well as Professor Ding Kongxian, chairman of Jiawei Solarchina Co., Ltd., and senior management from Jiawei and the Hubei Science & Technology Investment Co for the ceremony celebrating the start of the plant’s construction, which actually began in July of 2009. Construction is on schedule to be completed by spring 2010.

These manufacturing plants are part of an agreement between Evergreen Solar and Jiawei through which Evergreen Solar will manufacture String Ribbon wafers using its state-of-the-art Quad furnaces at this leased facility being built on Jiawei’s campus. Jiawei will convert the String Ribbon wafers into Evergreen Solar-branded panels on a contract manufacturing basis.

“Today represents an important step in the growth of Evergreen Solar,” said Feldt. “When you combine Evergreen Solar’s unique wafer technology and Jiawei’s high quality, cost efficient cell and panel conversion processes, we believe we have a winning formula that will produce the best performing and lowest cost multi-crystalline solar panels in the world. We’re extremely pleased that construction proceeds according to schedule and look forward to beginning production of our String Ribbon solar panels in the spring of 2010.”

About Jiawei Solarchina Co., Ltd. Inc.

Jiawei Solarchina Co., Ltd. Inc., through its subsidiary Jiawei Solar (Wuhan) Co. Ltd., is a fully integrated manufacturer of solar products serving OEM and ODM customers around the world, including SunPower Corporation. Jiawei offers its global customers high-performance solar products for a broad range of applications including residential and commercial end-users for off-grid and on- grid applications. The Company is dedicated to providing its world- class customer base with innovation, manufacturing excellence and superior product quality. For more information about Jiawei Solar, please visit http://www.solarchina.com.hk.

About Hubei Science & Technology Investment Co., Ltd.

Hubei Science & Technology Investment Co., Ltd. (“HSTIC”) is a state owned investment company focusing on science and technology development with registered capital of approximately 2.8 billion of RMB ($410M USD). HSTIC is composed of the Administrative Committee of Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone and its holding company, Optics Valley Investment Company, Hi-Tech Productivity Enhancement Center and Overseas Scholar Incubation Company. The Hubei state government and Wuhan city government have announced HSTIC will manage 10 billion RMB funded by the National Development Bank to develop central China. According to Hubei state government’s planning, 6 billion of RMB will be dedicated to Wuhan East Lake High-Tech Development Zone.

China Sunergy Signs 10MW of Sales Contracts With Australian Photovoltaic Firm

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

Agreement Continues China Sunergy’s Expansion into New Solar Markets

Monday August 31, 2009, 8:30 am EDT

NANJING, China, Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, today announced that it has signed a series of sales contracts with NUE PTY Ltd (“NU Energy”), a photovoltaic firm based in Victoria, Australia.

China Sunergy expects to ship up to a total of 10MW of monocrystalline solar modules, which are manufactured under sub-contracted OEM arrangement, to NU Energy, with partial shipments having begun in June 2009 and the full delivery under these contracts scheduled to be completed by early 2010 with ongoing contracts anticipated.

“Australia represents another new market for China Sunergy, and our successful signing of multiple sales agreements with this new customer is a positive indication of our ability to deliver high-quality solar power products globally,” commented Dr. Ruennsheng Allen Wang, Director and CEO of China Sunergy. “Our dedicated sales efforts continue to generate results, both domestically and internationally, as we look to further diversify our sales channels.”

NU Energy Chief Executive Officer Simon Schauble said, “NU Energy is one of Australia’s largest solar companies, and these orders, totalling 10MW, show the strong confidence we have in our ongoing partnership with China Sunergy.”

ICP Solar to Introduce iSun® Mobile Products

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

Ground-Breaking Pocketable Applications

Monday August 31, 2009, 8:00 am EDT

MONTREAL–(BUSINESS WIRE)–ICP Solar Technologies Inc. (ICPR.OB), a developer and marketer of innovative, proprietary solar panels and products, today announced that the Company plans to introduce its long-anticipated line of iSun®-branded portable solar chargers before the end of September. The chargers, targeted to road warriors and urban explorers who are always “on the go,” will easily interface with most cell phones and PDAs and are designed to be scalable, modular, pocketable, and attractive. They will be sold through distributors worldwide and over the Company’s website.

“We are excited to finally bring to market these fresh, cutting-edge solar chargers designed specifically for today’s huge portable communication market,” said Sass Peress, Chairman and CEO. “Our iSun® products – offered in sleek, user-friendly applications that are as attractive as they are practical – represent the next generation of innovation at ICP Solar and are designed for the billions of cell phones and PDAs already operating worldwide. For power-hungry smart phones, mobile music players, and GPS devices, the iSun® will offer a practical, easy-to-use answer for getting energy quickly and efficiently. ICP Solar, in broadening its portfolio beyond its existing sunsei®, Coleman®, and Energizer® brands, expects to see accelerating revenue growth and improved bottom line results as it provides dependable solar solutions for all kinds of lifestyles.”

LDK Solar Partners with Suqian City on PV Projects

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

Monday August 31, 2009, 3:15 am EDT

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Aug. 31 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that it has entered into an agreement with Suqian City of Jiangsu Province for the development of PV power projects. According to the agreement, LDK Solar will develop PV power projects in buildings, plants and integration systems, totaling up to 300 MW by 2015. The terms, including financing, design and specific location of each of the projects, will require a feasibility study as well as final approval from relevant governmental departments prior to initiation.

“Suqian City has unique advantages in developing PV projects, with average annual sunshine of up to 3,000 hours as well as strong support from the government for growing the solar energy industry,” stated Xu Huiming, Vice Mayor of Suqian City. “Suqian City has become a leading area for the development of the solar PV industry and we hope that our partnership with LDK Solar will further increase our solar resources and promote the expansion of the local solar industry.”

“We are very excited to partner with Suqian City and to support the development of its local economy and Chinese solar industry,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “We are encouraged by the continued support from our government for PV projects and pleased with the enthusiasm for this partnership demonstrated by Suqian City.”

The PV application market has been rapidly developing in China this year and the Chinese government is supporting the establishment of the domestic PV market through the use of governmental financial subsidies.

August 28, 2009

China Sunergy to Enter Into Renegotiation With REC for the Long Term Supply Contract

Filed under: CSUN — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 3:04 pm

Friday August 28, 2009, 3:04 pm EDT

NANJING, China, Aug. 28 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, announced today that it has entered into the renegotiation with the counter-party regarding to a June, 2008 supply agreement signed with REC SiTech AS.

On June 25, 2008, China Sunergy entered into a Standard Agreement for the Supply of Monocrystalline Silicon Ingots and/or Wafers with the European wafer provider REC SiTech As for the high quality supply of monocrystalline 156- millimeter wafers for seven years from 2009 through 2015. It has been revealed that REC SiTech As now is dissolved as a result of a merger early this year.

As the polysilicon supply market has changed dramatically since the fourth quarter of 2008, key raw material suppliers such as REC have indicated the renegotiation of supply agreements with their respective customers and against this background, China Sunergy has entered into the renegotiation with its counter-party in respect to the overall arrangement of the supply agreement, with the good faith to reach a mutually beneficial agreement between both parties.

Energy Conversion Devices downgraded to ‘Neutral’ on depressed shipments, dismal outlook

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 9:21 am

Friday August 28, 2009, 9:21 am EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Depressed shipments, pricing pressure and a bleak near-term outlook for Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) prompted an analyst to downgrade the solar panel product maker Friday.

Cowen & Co. analyst Robert Stone said the company’s near-term shipments are even more depressed than expected. Making matters worse, continued pricing pressure, higher expenses and restructuring charges will likely yield losses until the fourth quarter of 2010, Stone predicted.

Even the company’s recent acquisition of Solar Integrated Technologies Inc. won’t help much right away, Stone said, as the deal adds systems expertise but little revenue in the near term. The company expects to recognize transaction and restructuring charges of about $10 million in 2010.

Rochester Hills, Mich.-based Energy Conversion Devices, like its solar industry peers, has been hurt by industry-wide price cuts for solar panels, driven by an oversupply of product, scaled-back demand and the falling price of polysilicon, a key raw ingredient.

Stone downgraded the stock to “Neutral” from “Outperform.”

August 27, 2009

Solar stocks mixed on earnings news

Filed under: CSUN, ENER, FSLR, SRE, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 4:07 pm

Solar stocks mixed as more solar companies post results, analysts warn of near-term challenges

Thursday August 27, 2009, 4:07 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Solar stocks were mixed on Thursday as two solar companies reported quarterly results and analysts raised concerns about near-term challenges for solar companies.

Solar panel product maker Energy Conversion Devices Inc. (ENER) posted a fiscal fourth-quarter loss, driven by hefty one-time charges and a sharp drop in demand for solar products as commercial construction declined, building owners deferred reroofing projects and project financing constraints continued.

China Sunergy Co. Ltd. (CSUN) said its second-quarter profit fell 43 percent but stronger shipments pushed results beyond analyst expectations.

Solar companies have been pummeled by industry-wide price cuts for solar panels, driven by an oversupply of product, scaled-back demand and the falling price of polysilicon, a key raw ingredient.

Credit Suisse analyst Satya Kumar cut his price target for Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP) to $12.50 from $16.50, citing the solar power company’s sharp second-quarter profit drop. The company also estimated a 15 percent to 20 percent decline in average selling price in the third quarter.

Kumar said he prefers shares of Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) over Suntech, given Trina’s stronger growth in shipments and lower polysilicon to panel cost structure. Kumar rates Suntech “Neutral.”

FBR Capital Markets analyst Mehdi Hosseini said that even First Solar (FSLR), the nation’s largest solar panel maker and industry leader, faces a number of challenges in the near-term, namely, the delayed construction of the Sempra (SRE) 48-MW project, uncertainties around the timing of financing for the Blythe and Tristate projects and the recent departure of the company’s executive vice president of global marketing and business development. The company also needs to find a replacement for Mike Ahearn, the company’s current CEO who announced earlier this year he is stepping down.

“Recent trends/checks support our thesis that…downside risks have yet to be fully dialed into the stock,” Hosseini said. “We caution investors against unrealistic expectations associated with First Solar over the past year.”

Hosseini rates the company “Underperform” with a price target of $110. Shares of First Solar fell $1.96, or 1.6 percent, to $124.76.

Liens filed against polysilicon plant owner

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 2:00 pm

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Liens filed against polysilicon plant owner

POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) — About $16 million in liens have been filed by a general contractor and some subcontractors against Hoku Scientific Inc. (HOKU), a money-losing supplier of silicon for solar panels with an unfinished plant in eastern Idaho.

JH Kelly, LLC, the Washington-based general contractor overseeing construction, filed the largest lien late last month of just under $13 million against the Hawaiian-based company.

The company wants to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market at its Pocatello plant, but construction nearly came to a standstill earlier this year because the company still needs to come up with more than $100 million of the $390 million cost of the plant.

Scott Paul, chief operating officer for Hoku Scientific, says the company has slowed construction but is still working on getting financing.

Spire Solar Offers Input for Department of Energy Tax Credit & Loan Applications

Filed under: SPIR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:45 pm

Spire Solar, unique as a US supplier of turnkey PV manufacturing lines, offers to help new, expanding, and foreign companies set up manufacturing in America.

Thursday August 27, 2009, 12:45 pm EDT

BEDFORD, Mass.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Spire Corporation (SPIR), a global solar company providing capital equipment to manufacture photovoltaic (PV) modules and turnkey manufacturing lines is offering technical and financial modeling support to companies applying for the Advanced Energy Manufacturing Tax Credit (MTC) 48C and Manufacturing Line Loan applications.

The American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (ARRA) has authorized the Department of Treasury to award $2.3 billion in tax credits for qualified investments in advanced energy projects to support new, expanded, or re-equipped domestic manufacturing facilities. The time-critical preliminary application is due to the Department of Energy (DOE) September 16, 2009 and the final application is due October 16, 2009; all applicants will be notified of their respective tax credit award by January 15, 2010.

Spire Solar has distinguished itself as a US supplier of turnkey PV module and cell lines, including domestically manufactured equipment. A key advantage of Spire Solar’s photovoltaic equipment, made locally in the US, is it adds to evaluation points for indirect job creation.

Having participated in numerous Department of Energy programs over the company’s 40 year history, much of Spire Solar’s DOE activities have addressed the development of advanced PV equipment and technology. Such experience has allowed Spire Solar to continuously provide the leading edge manufacturing technology to its extensive customer base.

In support of the ARRA applications, Spire Solar can provide specific factory designs, factory management assistance, analysis of job creation from factory installations, plant and facility design, factory siting guidance, and manufacturing cost analysis for business plan input. Spire Solar’s input is valuable for those newly pioneering this sector in America, those aiming to enhance their present manufacturing lines, and for foreign companies wishing to contribute to the rapidly expanding US PV market.

“Spire Solar offers a great advantage to applicants of the MTC,” said Roger G. Little, Chairman and CEO of Spire Corporation. “We have compiled dynamic factors needed to support applicants wanting to successfully achieve approval for the $2.3 billion tax credits.” Mr. Little continued, “Not only is Spire’s turnkey equipment American-made, but earlier this year, we launched a Succeed in America campaign and have been focusing a substantial amount of our efforts on creating US jobs.”

For more information on the MTC and using Spire Solar’s expertise, visit our Succeed in America page at: http://spirecorp.com/spire-solar/spire-services-and-support/succeed-in-america.php.

Suntech Exec Now Says Not Actually Seling Below Cost

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:35 am

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Suntech Power (STP) CEO Shi Zhengrong, who was quoted earlier in the week in the New York Times as saying the company is selling solar panels below cost in the U.S., is now saying he misunderstood the question, and that he is doing no such thing.

In a story this morning, the Times now reports that Suntech’s prices more than cover production costs, but that administrative costs for the company’s U.S. unit are fairly high since it is still building sales here. He confirmed that the company has been losing money in its U.S. operations since they started in 2005, but blamed the high operating expenses. (As opposed to, say, a concerted effort to dump panels below cost to gain market share.) The newspaper notes that the Suntech execs “speaks fluent English and conducts interviews in that language.”

What the Times implies, but doesn’t quite say, is that they don’t really believe his revised view:

Asked twice in a recent interview in Wuxi, China, whether Suntech was selling below “marginal cost” in the United States, Dr. Shi replied that the company was doing so to build market share. Those comments were reported in The New York Times on Tuesday and prompted Dr. Shi’s call, in which he said, “I misunderstood your question.”

According to the Times, “Dr. Shi predicted that Suntech’s American operations might become profitable in 2010 if sales increased fast enough to spread the administrative costs across more modules.”

Meanwhile, the story also notes that Frank Asbeck, CEO of Germany-based SolarWorld, said this week that Europe should adopt a “Buy European” policy for solar panels used in public projects, noting that the U.S. has a Buy American provision for construction projects supported by government stimulus programs.

Energy Conversion Devices Reports Revenues of $316 Million and Earnings Per Share of $0.29 for Fiscal Year 2009

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

Solar Integrated Merger Opens New Markets, Adds Capabilities to Reduce Total Installed Costs; Company Maintains Strong Financial Position

Thursday August 27, 2009, 8:00 am EDT

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (ENER), the leading global manufacturer of thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building integrated and commercial rooftop markets, today announced financial results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended June 30, 2009.

Total consolidated revenues for the quarter were $51.4 million compared to $82.4 million in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2008 and $66.0 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2009. Solar product sales for the quarter were $46.0 million compared to $77.0 million in the same quarter last year and $59.7 million in the third quarter of fiscal 2009.

For the fourth quarter, the company reported a loss of $15.8 million or a loss of $0.37 per fully diluted share compared to a net income of $9.9 million or $0.24 per fully diluted share in the year-ago period. This compares to net income of $1.3 million or $0.03 per fully diluted share in the third quarter of fiscal 2009.

For the fiscal year ended June 30, 2009, total consolidated revenues were $316.3 million compared to $255.9 million in the prior year. Solar product sales were $292.4 million for fiscal 2009 compared to $231.5 million for the prior year. Net income for fiscal 2009 was $12.5 million or $0.29 per fully diluted share versus net income of $3.9 million or $0.09 per fully diluted share in the year-ago period. Net operating cash flow for fiscal 2009 was $11.1 million versus $28.5 million during fiscal 2008.

Mark Morelli, ECD’s President and Chief Executive Officer, said, “Demand for solar products in our target markets weakened further from the third quarter into the fourth quarter as commercial construction declined, building owners deferred reroofing projects, and project financing constraints continued. In response, we took deliberate steps to reduce our production levels to better match anticipated demand and to preserve strategically important capital at a time of capital market uncertainty. We pulled back on production and expansion, and reduced fixed and variable costs. These actions had a significant impact on our operating income for the second half of our fiscal year, but helped maintain positive full year cash flow.”

“We are driving our demand creation activities in and beyond our core building integrated photovoltaic markets. This is highlighted by our acquisition of Solar Integrated Technologies (SIT) which expands our capabilities in large projects and strengthens our commercial team globally. SIT also enhances our ability to reduce balance-of-system and installation costs, further improving our competitive levelized cost of energy. Looking ahead, we are cautiously encouraged by an overall uptick in market activity, including a significant increase in the volume of projects on which we are bidding. Overall, our demand-creation strategy and the integration of SIT are key ingredients of our plan to return to profitability,” added Mr. Morelli.

(more…)

China Sunergy Announces Financial Results for the Second Quarter Of 2009

Filed under: CSUN — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 7:35 am

Second Quarter Revenues of US$70.1 million; 41.5MW in Shipments Exceeds Guidance; Gross Margin Improves to 9.7%; GAAP Net Income of $1.7 million

Thursday August 27, 2009, 7:35 am EDT

NANJING, China, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — China Sunergy Co., Ltd. (CSUN), (“China Sunergy” or the “Company”) a specialized solar cell manufacturer based in Nanjing, China, announced today its financial results for the second quarter of 2009.

Second Quarter Financial Results
— Revenues were US$70.1 million, an 89.5% increase compared to the first quarter of 2009. Revenues generated from solar cell sales were US$54.5 million, representing a 58.4% increase compared to the first quarter of 2009.
— Gross profit was US$6.8 million for the second quarter, compared to gross loss of US$8.8 million during the first quarter of 2009. Accordingly, gross margin was 9.7%, compared to negative 23.7% during the first quarter of 2009.
— GAAP net income was US$1.7 million. Adjusted non-GAAP net income was US$1.2 million, which excludes share-based compensation and the change in the fair value of foreign currency derivatives. This compares to non-GAAP net loss of US$13.2 million in the first quarter of 2009.
— GAAP net income per ADS was US$0.04 on both basic and diluted basis. Adjusted non-GAAP net income per ADS was US$0.03 on both basic and diluted basis, which excludes share-based compensation and the change in the fair value of foreign currency derivatives, compared to a non-GAAP net loss of US$0.33 per ADS in the first quarter of 2009.
— Inventory as of June 30, 2009 was $25.0 million, down from $29.6 million as of March 31, 2009. Inventory write-down was $2.9 million, compared to $8.0 million in the first quarter of 2009.
— Operating cash flow in the second quarter was positive US$19.5 million, compared with positive $7.9 million in the first quarter of 2009.
— During the second quarter of 2009, China Sunergy continued to conduct open market repurchases of its 4.75% Convertible Senior Notes due 2013, repurchasing US$4 million aggregate principal amount of the convertible notes for a total cash consideration of US$1.8 million. As a result, China Sunergy realized a net gain of US$2.2 million. As of the end of the second quarter of 2009, the convertible bond balance was reduced to US$44 million.

Please refer to “Reconciliation Tables of GAAP to adjusted Non-GAAP Figures” at the end of this press release.

Operational Highlights
— Shipments in the second quarter amounted to approximately 41.5MW, representing a 73.6% increase sequentially and an 18.6% increase on a year-over-year basis, due to more aggressive pricing, successful efforts to work in a more integrated fashion with existing clients, and expansion into new markets.
— Shipments of high efficiency cells (defined as any cells with a conversion efficiency rate of over 17%) during the second quarter of 2009 amounted to 18.6MW, or 44.8% of total solar cell shipments, compared with 8.9MW, or 37.2% of total solar cell shipments, during the first quarter of 2009.
— The Company further expanded its international business through the signing of a framework agreement and sales contract with Renergies Italia S.p.A, a manufacturer of solar modules based in Urbisaglia, Italy. The Company also entered into a 35MW solar photovoltaic products framework agreement, and a 5MW solar photovoltaic products sales contract based on the framework agreement, with Global Service LTM in Taiwan for a South Korean downstream customer.
— Over the past quarters, at the request of customers China Sunergy has begun to supply modules produced with China Sunergy solar cells, under OEM agreements. While the Company is not producing these modules internally and there has been limited shipment volume, the Company expects these OEM module agreements to become accretive to gross margin levels as contract volumes increase.

Commenting on the results, Dr. Allen Wang, CEO of China Sunergy, said:

“After two quarters of unfavorable economic conditions, we are pleased that the decisive action we took earlier in the year has led to second quarter results which meet or exceed our expectations. We have experienced steady monthly progress among operational and financial level improvements, due to our effective financial and inventory management, a focus on developing existing and new market opportunities and continued dedication to our leading solar technologies. We returned to profitability during the quarter and will continue to work diligently to position ourselves for profitable growth within a still challenging marketplace.”

(more…)

Ban on scrap polysilicon to boost China solar sector

Filed under: LDK, SOL, WFR, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 5:40 am

Thu Aug 27, 2009 5:40am EDT

By Leonora Walet, Asia Green Investment Correspondent

HONG KONG, Aug 27 (Reuters) – A Chinese ban on imports of a waste material used for solar wafers may be bad news for foreign competitors but it is a big boost to China’s solar sector.

Scrap polysilicon, which can be reused to make solar wafers, is low-grade silicon that fails to meet the grade for chips found in most electronics.

Beginning this month, China stopped accepting scrap polysilicon to comply with environmental regulations.

The ban threatens the income of Chinese scrap polysilicon traders and limits the market for companies that sell to them, such as top contract chipmaker TSMC. It is particularly harsh for small and new domestic solar players who rely on the cheap material to make wafers and panels.

For China’s polysilicon companies, including GCL-Poly Energy Holdings and LDK Solar (LDK), the ban is an opportunity to expand business. For foreign rivals South Korean OCI Co Ltd, MEMC Electronic Materials Inc (WFR) or Japan’s Tokuyama Corp the ban is a potential threat.

China produces over 60 percent of the world’s solar panels, and is among the heaviest users of pure polysilicon and the scrap variety. Scrap polysilicon accounts for up to 30 percent of silicon fed into some of the solar wafers and panels in China.

“In a way, the ruling was designed to protect (China’s) very young polysilicon industry,” said KK Chan, chief executive of private equity firm Nature Elements Capital. “The sector needs all the help it can get given a supply glut of the material.”

The ban comes at a time when Chinese polysilicon companies are ramping up production, despite an oversupply of the key solar component.

GCL-Poly, which acquired $3.4 billion worth of solar assets in June, is on track to produce about 3,000 tonnes of polysilicon by year end. LDK Solar aims to produce 5,000 tonnes by 2010.

Yingli Green Energy Holding Co (YGE), ReneSola (SOL) and Tongwei Co should benefit.

After the credit crunch dried up funding for solar projects, the sector was hit by a massive oversupply of polysilicon. Prices fell to $69 per kilogram from its peak of $400 in 2008.

ENVIRONMENTAL FACTOR

China’s Environmental Protection Ministry said it imposed the ban because the heavy chemicals that come in contact with scrap polysilicon when reused to make solar wafers and panels produce waste that could harm the environment.

The ministry said in a notice posted on its website last month that the regulation was imposed in line with China’s solid waste pollution laws.

A ministry spokesman declined to comment.

“This is positive for China’s polysilicon sector, and the environment,” said GCL-Poly president Hunter Jiang.

The new rule is slowly having a positive impact for local makers of the solar component. Spot prices of polysilicon in China rose to $72 per kg in August from $67 in July weeks after the rule was enforced, said New Energy Finance analyst Julia Wu.

“The segment most likely affected by the policy are local panel and wafer makers, especially the smaller ones,” Wu said.

Established Chinese solar wafer companies are least affected.

“It should not have an impact, given there is sufficient supply of polysilicon in the market,” said Renesola chief finanical officer Charles Bai.

(Additional reporting by David Stanway in Beijing and Suilee Wee in Hong Kong; Editing by Chris Lewis)

August 26, 2009

US utility wants to deploy largest grid battery ever

Filed under: EIX, GE, PCG, SPWR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 3:11 pm

Wed Aug 26, 2009 3:11pm EDT

By Poornima Gupta

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug 26 (Reuters) – Southern California Edison said on Wednesday it is seeking a U.S. grant to store wind power in the largest-ever grid storage battery, to be built by A123 Systems.

The utility, a unit of Edison International (EIX), wants $65 million in grants from the U.S. Department of Energy for the pilot storage project and for another project involving integration of home energy management systems into the electric grid.

The utility wants $25 million for the battery project, which would be the largest ever for power grid applications, Paul De Martini, vice president of advanced technologies, said in an interview.

U.S. utilities are racing to increase their production of electricity from renewable energy sources to meet stricter state environmental rules and to gear up for any U.S. move to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels.

But wind and solar are intermittent energy sources, and storing the power — at an economically viable rate — is seen as crucial to making ‘alternative’ energy truly mainstream.

Southern California Edison is seeking the money from a $615 million fund that the DOE has set up for “smart grid”-related pilot projects. Smart grid technology measures and modifies power usage in homes and businesses, improving grid reliability.

The company wants privately-held A123 Systems to assemble a utility-scale battery that would be made up of smaller batteries in an 8,000-square-foot building at an existing substation in the Tehachapi region in California.

The project is important to the California utility as it expects to have about 4,500 megawatts of wind power in the Tehachapi region by around 2015 and needs to find a way to store the power, De Martini said.

“We do recognize that there is a need for energy storage to help with mitigating some of the intermittentcy of wind,” he said.

Southern California Edison is one of the leaders in delivering renewable energy to customers. It transmitted 65 percent of all solar energy produced in the United States last year.

A123 Systems, which makes lithium-ion battery packs for use in plug-in hybrid vehicles, was one of the big winners of the competition for $1.5 billion in federal stimulus funds for companies that make advanced automotive batteries.

The Watertown, Massachusetts-based company, which counts General Electric (GE) among its shareholders, received $249 million to build a battery factory in the United States.

The approval of Southern California Edison’s application would be a big boost for A123 Systems’ push into energy storage batteries for the grid.

The result of the applications is expected in November, De Martini said.

For the second pilot project on smart grid integration, Southern California Edison is seeking $40 million from the DOE and will be working with GE, SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB) and Boeing Co (BA), he said.

Utility companies around the world are laying the groundwork to upgrade their networks with smart grid technology.

Separately, another California utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co (PCG), is seeking $25 million from the DOE’s smart grid fund for a compressed air energy storage project, which aims to pump compressed air into an underground reservoir, using mainly wind energy produced during non-peak hours. The air would be released to generate electricity during periods of peak demand.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; editing by John Wallace)

Yingli Green Energy to Supply PV Modules to Leading Czech Commercial Property Developer

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:53 am

Wednesday August 26, 2009, 8:53 am EDT

BAODING, China, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE; “Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, and CTP Invest spol. s r.o. (“CTP”), a Czech-based leading commercial property developer, today announced that they have signed a letter of intent regarding the supply of PV modules by Yingli Green Energy to CTP.

Under the terms of the letter of intent, CTP is expected to purchase approximately 5 MW of PV modules from Yingli Green Energy in the fourth quarter of 2009, which are expected to be used for several on-grid rooftop systems in CTP’s industrial parks and office centers located in the Czech Republic.

“We believe Yingli is a value-added partner with its leading position in the industry, trusted brand name and a solid track record. We expect to enter into binding contracts with Yingli based upon this letter of intent in the following weeks and we look forward to pursuing additional cooperation opportunities in Central and Eastern Europe,” commented Mr. Remon L. Vos, Managing Director of CTP.

“We are delighted to announce the cooperation with CTP, which represents a solid step we have achieved to explore the Czech Republic market,” commented Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “We have delivered more than 10 MW PV modules to customers in the Czech Republic this year, and we believe the cooperation with CTP further demonstrates our strong ability to capture market share in emerging markets. With the gradually improving financing conditions and recovering market demand in Germany and other European markets, we are excited about the upcoming new growth cycle for solar in Europe.”

Canadian Solar Obtained Development Rights for a 500 MW Project in China

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

Wednesday August 26, 2009, 7:00 am EDT

ONTARIO, Canada, Aug. 26 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Canadian Solar Inc. (“the Company”, “Canadian Solar” or “we”) (CSIQ) today announced it obtained rights to design, install, operate, and maintain a 500 MW solar power plant system. Under a letter of intent with the Administration Committee of Baotou National Rare Earth Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone (“CPT”) in Baotou, Inner Mongolia, the solar power plant will be located in CPT.

The project is subject to a feasibility study and government approvals and is divided into three phases. The first phase, expected to run from September 2009 to December 2011, calls for the installation of a 100 MW PV system. The second and third phases each call for the installation of 200 MW PV systems. There are no binding commitments until the feasibility study is completed and approvals are obtained.

Mr. Fu Ren, the director of the Administration Committee of Baotou National Rare Earth Hi-Tech Industrial Development Zone, remarked, “I am very pleased to have Canadian Solar, a well-known provider of quality PV products, agree to develop a signature solar project in our city. To have a solar project of such magnitude in Baotou demonstrates our determination to develop the PV end-user market in China, as well as our commitment to cleaner and more sustainable economic development in Baotou. This project also reflects our city’s importance as a center of commerce and commitment to further growth.”

Dr. Shawn Qu, the Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar, commented, “We are honored and proud that Canadian Solar has been chosen to design, install, operate and maintain this showcase 500 MW Solar power plant in the City of Baotou. This project clearly shows the Chinese government’s determination to develop its domestic PV market. Our successful track record of providing high quality modules to many solar power projects around the world helped us to win the development rights for this major project.”

Ascent Solar Internally Certifies Module Encapsulation Material for Its Flexible PV Laminate, Reaches Major Milestone

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

Wednesday August 26, 2009, 6:00 am EDT

THORNTON, Colo.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. (ASTI), a developer of state of the art flexible thin-film solar modules, announced today the successful internal qualification of a packaging solution for its flexible monolithically integrated CIGS modules. In internal qualification testing, its flexible packaging solution successfully passed the rigorous standard of one thousand (1,000) hours of damp heat testing (85% relative humidity and 85° C temperature) guideline set forth by IEC 61646 standards for performance and long term reliability of thin film solar modules.

Dr. Farhad Moghadam, CEO of Ascent Solar, stated, “This is a breakthrough development not just for Ascent Solar but also for the advancement of flexible CIGS technology and the differentiating capabilities it brings to the market. We are very proud of this achievement which now sets the stage for certification of our products by external agencies. This is also well timed to meet the requirements of our initial production from the 30 MW high volume manufacturing plant scheduled to commence at the beginning of 2010.”

August 25, 2009

LDK Solar Partners With Yancheng City on PV Projects

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

Tuesday August 25, 2009, 4:05 pm EDT

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Aug. 25 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, announced today that it has entered into an agreement with Yancheng City of Jiangsu Province for the development of PV power projects. According to the agreement, LDK Solar will develop a number of PV power projects, including PV ground-power stations, and roof and building integration systems totaling up to 500 MW over the next five years. The terms, including financing, design and specific location of each of the projects, will require a feasibility study as well as final approval from relevant state departments prior to initiation.

“Yancheng City is currently one of the most important wind power bases in China. Yancheng City possesses the largest coastal area in Jiangsu Province and is rich in natural resources,” stated Li Qiang, Mayor of Yancheng City. “We plan to partner with LDK Solar to build large ground-power stations to take advantage of wind and photovoltaics as complementary power sources. With the support of the Chinese government and their financial subsidy programs, we hope that our partnership with LDK Solar further increases the development of solar resources and promotes growth of the solar PV industry in Yancheng City.”

“We are pleased to partner with Yancheng City on PV projects and participate in the development of the Jiangsu coastal area. We believe that an increasing number of PV application projects will originate in China in the future and we will continue to work to position LDK Solar favorably within China’s rapidly developing PV market,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar.

Suntech Admits Selling Below Cost In U.S. To Gain Share

Filed under: SOLR, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 1:26 pm

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Suntech (STP) CEO Shi Zhengrong told the New York Times that his company is selling solar panels in the U.S. market for less than the cost of materials, assembly and shipping in a bid to boost market share.

The Times disclosed the comment in a report today on the rapid growth of the Chinese solar manufacturing sector. The piece notes that “backed by lavish government support,” the Chinese are planning to build plants to assemble products in the U.S. to bypass protectionist legislation. Chinese solar companies, the story says, “are encouraging their United States executives to join industry trade groups to tamp down antt-Chinese sentiment before it takes root.”

Suntech, according to the Times, plans to announced a solar panel assembly plant in the U.S. in the next month or two. The plant, according to Suntech, will be in Phoenix or someplace in Texas. Yingli (YGE) also plans to open a U.S. assembly plant.

Thomas Zarella, CEO of solar manufacturing equipment producer GT Solar (SOLR), told the Times that the U.S. and Europe are not likely to become major producers of solar products.

Since March, the story notes, Chinese national, provincial and even local governments have been competing with each other to offer solar companies “ever more generous subsidies,” including free land and cash for R&D. The piece adds that state-owned banks are “flooding the industry” with loans at rates lower than what would be available in Europe or the U.S.

Trina: Credit Suisse Launches With Outperform Rating

Filed under: TSL — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 12:33 pm

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Credit Suisse Solar analyst Satyua Kumar this morning launched coverage of Trina Solar (TSL) with an Outperform rating and $40 price target. The stock closed Monday at $26.09.

“While we see some risk to Q4 shipment volumes for the industry – TSL included – we believe TSL’s low cost structure, leverage to China demand and valuation are compelling,” he writes. Kumar contends there is “substantial alpha” in solar companies with low cost structures.

Kumar expects the company to post 2010 revenue of $841 million with EPS of $2.74, above the Street at $834 million and $2.32. His price target stems from 14.5x his 2010 EPS estimate. And he says that if growth in solar demand resumes in 2010, due to higher demand in the U.S. and China, price elasticity in other major markets, and improving credit conditions “there could be substantial upside” to his already above-consensus estimates.

Despite the bullish note, TSL today is down a penny at $26.30.

Solar Sector Headed For Price War, Analyst Warns

Filed under: CSIQ, ENER, SPWR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:11 am

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Macquarie Research analyst Kelly Dougherty this morning turned bearish on the solar sector, cutting ratings on Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), Canadian Solar (CSIQ) and SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB). Dougherty thinks the companies are going to be hurt by an accelerating price war.

“The Chinese manufacturers have turned up the heat and we don’t see much relief in site,” Dougherty writes. “We expect the Chinese to use their competitive cost structure aggressively to grab share and keep their facilities humming.”

Here’s a rundown on Dougherty’s new views on the individual stocks:

* Energy Conversion Devices: To Underperform, from Neutral, cutting target to $9.50, from $13 (Which compares to yesterday’s close at $12.44. The pressure on pricing from the Chinese players “is compounded by the fact that we believe ENER’s visibility remains very limited,” Dougherty writes. “We can’t overlook the significantly negative impact that further production furloughs could have on the company’s cost structure without a significant pick-up in demand, which seems mroe unlikely given increasingly aggressive Chinese pricing.”
* Canadian Solar: To Neutral, from Outperform. Target price: $17.50, a bit above yesterday’s close at $15.30. “Although CSIQ has nade great strides in improving its cost structure,” the analyst writes, “a price war is likely to mitigate much of those benefits.”
* SunPower: To Underperform, from Neutral. Price target now $23.50, below yesterday’s close at $26.75. “While we continue to believe SPWRA can command a steep pricing premium, a hostile pricing environment is good for anyone,” Dougherty writes. “We don’t expect the premium it is able to command will be meaningful enough to mitigate the margin impact associated with a likely Chinese price war.”

In today’s trading:

* ENER is down 17 cents, or 1.4%, to $12.27.
* CSIQ is down 65 cents, or 4.3%, to $14.65.
* SPWRA is down 50 cents, or 1.9%, to $26.25.

Court partly dismisses MEMC motions against Conergy

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 9:34 am

Tue Aug 25, 2009 9:34am EDT

FRANKFURT, Aug 25 (Reuters) – A New York court has partly denied motions by polysilicon maker MEMC (WFR) against Conergy, a small victory for the German solar group in the two companies’ ongoing legal battle.

The move relates to Conergy’s efforts to declare invalid a wafer supply contract it had agreed with MEMC two years ago.

Shares in Conergy were up 17.2 percent at 1229 GMT, while Frankfurt’s technology index was 0.6 percent lower.

“(This is) slightly positive as the company’s future will mainly depend on the outcome of the trial but experts don’t expect a quick ruling,” a local trader said.

Under the contract, which was signed in late 2007, MEMC supplies solar wafers to Conergy over a 10-year period, with pre-determined pricing, on a take-or-pay basis starting in the third quarter of 2008.

Under a take-or-pay contract, a buyer agrees to either take any product that is offered or pay a specified amount as compensation if it does not take the product.

Analysts have said terms of the contract were unfavourable, such as annual price decreases that are slower than the decline of market prices, resulting in above-market costs for Conergy.

In April, Conergy sought to have a New York City court declare the contract invalid after talks with MEMC to renegotiate the terms of the contract had failed.

In the complaint, Conergy said it wanted the take or pay provision of the contract to be made void and unenforceable, pointing to “anti-competitive contractual provisions”.

MEMC at the end of July moved to dismiss Conergy’s claim regarding the contract’s anti-competitive provisions, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York wrote in a statement obtained by Reuters on Tuesday.

“For now, Conergy has made sufficient factual allegations that it was a potential competitor at the time that it entered into the Agreement with MEMC, thereby rendering its claims against defendants (MEMC) plausible,” the court said, according to the statement.

Conergy declined to comment. (Reporting by Christoph Steitz; Editing by Jon Loades-Carter)

Solar stocks pressured by sales price of panels

Filed under: ENER, FSLR, JASO, SOL, TSL — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 9:21 am

Analyst says solar industry faces rising pressure from falling solar panel prices, demand

Tuesday August 25, 2009, 9:21 am EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Solar panel prices and demand for solar modules will likely decline in the coming quarters, which will lead to a slowdown in production capacity and the overall solar industry said an analyst on Tuesday.

Credit Suisse analyst Satya Kumar said he expects panel prices to decline to $1.50 per watt by the second quarter of 2010, down from $2.35 per watt in the second quarter of 2009. At this lower level, and with polysilicon prices around $50 per kilogram on long term contracts, he expects manufacturing capacity to pull back. Polysilicon is a key raw material used in the production of solar cells.

In the near term, Kumar said he prefers Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) and Renesola Ltd. (SOL) given their cheap shares and competitive cost structures. Also, Kumar believes these companies will benefit from China’s new feed-in tariff, which will pay for electricity generated by renewable resources. Kumar expects the Chinese government to introduce the tariff in the near future. Kumar rates Trina Solar and ReneSola “Outperform.”

Shares of Trina Solar rose 68 cents, or 2.6 percent, to $26.99 in premarket trading. Renesola shares climbed 24 cents, or 4.5 percent, to $5.53 before the opening bell.

Elsewhere in the industry, Kumar rates Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), First Solar Inc. (FSLR) and JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (JASO) “Neutral.” Shares of Energy Conversion Devices fell 24 cents, or 1.9 percent, to $12.20; First Solar shares rose 82 cents to $124.90 and JA Solar shares increased 3 cents to $3.85 before the opening bell.

China proposes guaranteed renewables market-Xinhua

Filed under: SOL, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:32 am

Tue Aug 25, 2009 1:32am EDT

BEIJING, Aug 25 (Reuters) – Chinese lawmakers have proposed draft legislation that would establish state guarantees for the purchase of renewable energy production, Xinhua reported late on Monday.

The draft amendment to China’s Renewable Energy Law, would, if approved, guarantee the direct purchase by the central government of an annual minimum of renewable energy for the state electricity grid, according to the Xinhua report issued The report did not provide any timetable or details for the legislation.

China is preparing a renewable energy stimulus package, and plans to raise the proportion of renewable energy to 15 percent of total energy consumption by 2020.

Currently, the buying of energy from renewable sources is left to state grids to negotiate with power producers.

The guarantees should benefit renewable energy companies including Suntech Power (STP), Trina Solar (TSL) and ReneSola (SOL). Wind firms Sinovel Wind, Goldwind Science and Technology and Dongfang Electric would also be potential beneficiaries.

The announcement comes after the news agency reported that lawmakers were discussing a new fund to develop renewable energy technologies.

The fund would be financed in part by surcharges levied on renewable energy prices, and would be used to support scientific and technological research, it said.

China’s renewable energy stimulus package is expected to raise its solar power generation target for 2020 at least fivefold, although it will remain a much smaller player in China’s power mix than wind and nuclear sources. ($=6.83 yuan)

(Reporting by Kirby Chien; Editing by Chris Lewis and Lincoln Feast)

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