North Coast Solar Stocks

December 14, 2009

Akeena Solar’s Andalay AC Solar Panels Offered By Lowe’s

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:13 am

December 14, 2009 (FinancialWire) — Akeena Solar Inc. (AKNS) Andalay AC panels are available at 21 Lowe’s (LOW) home-improvement stores throughout California. The panels, which were recently honored with a 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product award, are featured as part of Lowe’s Energy Center at the stores.

The Lowe’s Energy Center offers an information kiosk to help customers evaluate their home’s solar and wind potential, and the Energy Center features products that help them measure their energy use, reduce energy consumption and generate clean energy. Lowe’s is the first major retailer to offer many of these products in one place, products that range from power monitors and small solar chargers to a solar panel system. The Energy Center will be in additional U.S. and Canadian stores in 2010.

Andalay AC panels, developed by Akeena Solar in Silicon Valley, have integrated racking, wiring and grounding, reducing the overall parts count by 80 percent and protecting against performance-threatening breakdowns that could happen with ordinary DC power systems.

Andalay panels also have built-in inverters that produce household AC power, so there is no high-voltage DC wiring. These safety and reliability benefits are achieved without compromising performance. In fact, Andalay AC panels produce 5 to 25 percent more energy output compared with ordinary DC solar panels. Because of the modular design of Andalay AC panels, homeowners could install a few panels now and gradually add on later, unlike DC systems that require a complete redesign when adding panels.

Ordinary DC solar power systems also require special installation skills. The innovations provided by Andalay’s AC solar system deliver simplicity and safety so that for the first time, electricians, HVAC contractors and experienced do-it-yourselfers can install a solar power system without specialized training.

Participating Lowe’s stores will stock the accessories required for installation, eliminating the need for do-it-yourselfers and contractors to pre-order components and enabling them to pick up what they need on the way to the installation.

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December 10, 2009

Akeena to sell solar panels at retailer Lowe’s

Filed under: AKNS, SPWR, STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 5:59 pm

Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:59pm EST

* All-in-one panels to sell at 21 Lowe’s stores for $893

* Part of company’s strategy to boost revenue

* Akeena shares close up 56 cents, or about 57 pct

By Laura Isensee

LOS ANGELES, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Akeena Solar Inc (AKNS) will start selling its all-in-one solar panels at Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW) retail stores in California, Akeena said on Thursday, as the company looks to boost revenue.

The Los Gatos, California, company hopes to break even by selling panels at retail stores and to installers outside its home state, in addition to its traditional installation business. The move puts the company in competition with the likes of SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB) in selling panels.

“The key for us to get to the break-even level is to work on top-line revenue … This Lowe’s distribution gives us another channel where we can build that top line,” Akeena’s chief executive, Barry Cinnamon, said in an interview.

Cinnamon declined to say when Akeena expects to break even or how much revenue is expected from the new retail sales. But the executive said that Akeena expects a 15 percent gross margin on panels sold through Lowe’s.

Akeena’s panels hit the shelves on Thursday at 21 Lowe’s home-improvement stores in California. Each panel will sell for $893 and can plug into a regular electrical outlet, generating 175 watts or enough electricity to power a computer or 42-inch flat screen television.

The panel’s price falls to $625 after federal tax credits and could drop more depending on state incentives.

“The biggest significance is that now people can buy one panel or three or four panels (and spend) a few thousand dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars,” Cinnamon said.

In October, the executive told Reuters the company was actively trying to sell its solar panels through big-box retailers.

The company says its panels — branded Andalay and manufactured by Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) — have 80 percent fewer parts to install than comparable products, reducing inventory logistics.

The panels include inverters — supplied by privately held Enphase Energy — that convert the direct electrical current to the alternating current used by household appliances.

Akeena has struggled to turn a profit and posted a narrower-then-expected quarterly loss in October.

The news sent the shares of the solar company soaring on Thursday. Shares of Akeena closed up 56 cents, or about 57 percent, at $1.55 each on the Nasdaq.

The company’s shares have climbed 167 percent since hitting a year-low of 58 cents in March.

Shares of Lowe’s Cos closed up 1.23 percent at $23.09 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee; editing by Andre Grenon and Steve Orlofsky)

Akeena Solar stock jumps nearly 54 percent after announcing Lowe’s deal

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:29 pm

2:29 pm EST, Thursday December 10, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS) stock jumped nearly 54 percent Thursday after the company announced that Lowe’s is now stocking its solar panels in California.

Akeena stock added 53 cents to $1.52 a share in afternoon trading. Company stock has traded between 58 cents and $2.61 a share during the past year.

The company, which has headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., develops a user-friendly solar panel that Lowe’s agreed to carry on store shelves. The home improvement retailer said it would stock Akeena products in 21 California stores this week, followed by other states and Canada next year.

The deal could bring Akeena’s panels to a large audience of do-it-yourselfers.

Solar power coming to a store near you

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:19 pm

New territory for solar power and DIYers, panels now for sale at retail stores

By Chris Kahn, AP Energy Writer
12:19 am EST, Thursday December 10, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Solar technology is going where it has never gone before: onto the shelves at retail stores where do-it-yourselfers can now plunk a panel into a shopping cart and bring it home to install.

Lowe’s has begun stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country next year.

This shows how far the highest of the high-tech alternative energy technologies has come. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill, and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves.

For Lowe’s, it’s an opening into a new and potentially lucrative DIY business.

“There’s definitely a growing market for this with the number of people moving toward energy efficient homes,” spokesman Steven Salazar said.

Buyer be warned, however. The DIY part of solar goes beyond installation.

Professional installers typically handle all the necessary paperwork, like clearance from the local utility and applications for a bevy of government subsidies that can make the system a whole lot cheaper.

“You put solar panels on your roof without a permit, bad things happen to you,” said Jeff Wolfe, CEO of solar installer groSolar. “The utility could shut off the power.”

Lowe’s will staff a kiosk near the panels that provides information on how to apply for rebates.

For anyone willing to tackle the paperwork, Akeena Solar (AKNS) promises a hassle-free installation that will immediately reduce the power you need to buy from the local utility.

Akeena Solar, Inc., based in Los Gatos, Calif., said it designed a system with the novice in mind.

“It’s really not a big deal,” said CEO Barry Cinnamon. “The most dangerous thing is learning about ladder safety.”

The rectangular panels retail at $893 a piece. They produce the same AC power that runs in homes and plug directly into a circuit breaker.

During the day, the solar panels will act like a large battery, producing energy from the sun and pumping it through the circuit breaker to appliances inside. On cloudy days or at night, of course, homeowners will again draw 100 percent of their power from the grid.

(more…)

Akeena Solar’s Andalay AC Solar Panels Now Available at Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores

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

Plug-and-Play Panels Hit Shelves at Lowe’s Energy Center in 21 Locations

7:00 am EST, Thursday December 10, 2009

LOS GATOS, Calif., Dec. 10, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — For the first time, homeowners can purchase high-performing, easy-to-install solar panels off the shelves of a major retailer, announced Akeena Solar Inc. (AKNS), a leading installer and manufacturer of solar power systems. The Andalay AC panels are available at 21 Lowe’s home-improvement stores throughout California. The panels, which were recently honored with a 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product award, are featured as part of Lowe’s Energy Center at the stores.

“The PC revolution in the computer industry occurred when new technology made PCs easy to use and affordable,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. “Likewise, with panels becoming plug-and-play appliances, the solar revolution has started. The availability of solar panels in Lowe’s stores makes it easy for homeowners to go solar and is a big step toward getting solar on every sunny rooftop.”

The Lowe’s Energy Center is a one-stop, easy-to-shop destination that empowers customers to create an energy plan that fits their budget and home-improvement goals. An information kiosk offers a touch-screen display to help customers evaluate their home’s solar and wind potential, and the Energy Center features products that help them measure their energy use, reduce energy consumption and generate clean energy. Lowe’s is the first major retailer to offer many of these products in one place, products that range from power monitors and small solar chargers to a solar panel system. The Energy Center will be in additional U.S. and Canadian stores in 2010.

Breakthrough Andalay AC Panels are Safer, More Reliable and Simpler to Install

Andalay AC panels, developed by Akeena Solar in Silicon Valley, have integrated racking, wiring and grounding — reducing the overall parts count by 80 percent and protecting against performance-threatening breakdowns that could happen with ordinary DC power systems.

Andalay panels also have built-in inverters that produce household AC power, so there is no high-voltage DC wiring. These safety and reliability benefits are achieved without compromising performance. In fact, Andalay AC panels produce 5 to 25 percent more energy output compared with ordinary DC solar panels. Because of the modular design of Andalay AC panels, homeowners could install a few panels now and gradually add on later, unlike DC systems that require a complete redesign when adding panels.

Ordinary DC solar power systems also require special installation skills. The innovations provided by Andalay’s AC solar system deliver simplicity and safety so that for the first time, electricians, HVAC contractors and experienced do-it-yourselfers can install a solar power system without specialized training.

“Buying panels off the shelf at Lowe’s offers solar options to homeowners that they didn’t have,” continued Cinnamon. “Homeowners now can get a system as small as one panel. With Andalay’s safe household AC power design, they are the only real choice for do-it-yourselfers.”

Participating Lowe’s stores will stock the accessories required for installation, eliminating the need for do-it-yourselfers and contractors to pre-order components and enabling them to pick up what they need on the way to the installation.

November 23, 2009

Akeena Solar Partners With Highland Solar to Distribute 1.75 MW of Andalay AC Solar Panels in Canada

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

Andalay AC One of First Solar Panel Systems to Meet Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff Requirements

7:00 am EST, Monday November 23, 2009

LOS GATOS, Calif. and TORONTO, Nov. 23, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar Inc (AKNS), a national designer, installer and distributor of solar power systems, today announced a distribution partnership with Ontario-based Highland Solar to sell the company’s award-winning Andalay AC solar panel system throughout Canada. According to terms of the agreement, Highland Solar will sell at least 1.75 megawatts of Andalay AC solar panels in Canada through 2010 through its network of local installation partners.

“Canada is shaping up to be a large market for rooftop solar with their generous new renewable energy programs in Ontario and other provinces,” said Barry Cinnamon, Akeena Solar CEO. “With our distribution agreement with Highland Solar, Andalay AC solar panels will now be available to Canadian homeowners eager to lower their electricity bills with safe, reliable solar panels that look like skylights.”

Andalay AC panels have built-in racking, wiring, grounding and inverters, reducing the overall parts count by 80 percent. Andalay’s award-winning technology safeguards against performance-threatening breakdowns and delivers optimum performance with 5 to 25 percent more energy output compared to ordinary DC solar panels. Since Andalay AC solar panels produce household AC power, they eliminate complicated and dangerous DC wiring and provide a safer and easier installation process to solar installers, trades workers and do-it-yourselfers.

The Andalay system is one of the first solar power systems to meet Ontario’s provincial content requirements, which require 40 percent of the content of solar systems to be sourced from Ontario. Ontario’s Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) provides generators of renewable energy a 20-year contract at a guaranteed price. Under the micro-FIT program, which includes solar systems of 10 kilowatts or less, homeowners are paid 80.2 cents for each kWh produced.

“Andalay AC is the perfect solar panel for Canadian homeowners,” said Highland Solar President Sean McCrae. “Not only is Andalay AC manufactured with parts sourced in Ontario, it also installs quickly and safely, has superior looks and reliably delivers clean solar power throughout its lifetime.”

Highland has manufactured its own brand of solar products since 2005, but the signing of this manufacturing license agreement with Akeena Solar is Highland’s first opportunity to manufacture products and create jobs within its home province. To help address the anticipated demand for the Andalay system, the company has leased a training facility and plans to provide hands on solar installation training to contracting companies.

The announcement marks the largest distribution partnership Akeena Solar has signed to date and the company’s first distribution arrangement outside of the United States. Since launching its direct-to-installers sales channels for Andalay systems six months ago, Akeena has expanded its distribution network to include 42 installers in 19 states. This partnership follows a recent award naming Andalay AC solar panels as a “2009 Breakthrough Product of the Year” by Popular Mechanics.

About Highland Solar

Highland Solar, a division of Highland Logic Inc. is the exclusive distributor of Andalay Solar in Canada. Highland Solar is the licensed manufacturer of Andalay’s mounting system which enables their system to meet the Feed-In Tariff’s Provincial Content requirements. They are based in the Greater Toronto Area but have warehousing and distribution capability across Canada. Solar installers and dealers interested in their products may sign up as partners at http://www.highlandsolar.ca as Highland Solar does not sell directly to the public.

October 23, 2009

Solar recovery to start, but 2010 outlook dim

Filed under: AKNS, FSLR, SPWR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 9:22 am

Fri Oct 23, 2009 9:22am EDT

* Q3 will show signs of recovery, but pressure remains

* Downstream set to outperform upstream players

* 2010 outlook for sector remains cloudy

By Christoph Steitz

FRANKFURT, Oct 23 (Reuters) – European solar equipment makers are slowly emerging from the crisis that has hit the sector, quarterly results will show, but the outlook beyond 2009 will be uncertain due to tight credit and oversupply.

Europe’s solar companies are expected to show signs of recovery when third-quarter earnings kick off next week, with analysts expecting capacity adjustments and the shift of production abroad to benefit companies.

European solars, along with their U.S. and Chinese peers, have to deal with a toxic mix of oversupply of cells and modules as well as a credit squeeze that has triggered a wave of quarterly losses and outlook cuts in the funding-hungry sector.

In addition, Asian competitors that are producing at much lower prices have put heat on their European peers, which are burdened by high labour costs.

But the worst could be over for Europe after companies wrote down the value of their inventories, slashed jobs and shifted production abroad in a bid to stay competitive.

“Q3 reporting should give a strong indication for a recovery of the European solar manufacturing industry, which has been hit over-proportionately hard during the latest crisis,” Oppenheim Research analysts wrote.

(more…)

October 22, 2009

Outlook from solar companies disappoints investors

Thu Oct 22, 2009 7:51pm EDT

* SunPower disappoints with lowered outlook

* Akeena takes advantage of lower panel costs

* MEMC to acquire commercial solar financier SunEdison

By Poornima Gupta and Laura Isensee

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct 22 (Reuters) – U.S. solar companies SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB) and Akeena Solar Inc (AKNS) on Thursday posted results that topped Wall Street estimates, but offered little hope the market for the renewable energy source would rebound this year.

The two companies said the solar sector was seeing a slow improvement, but also admitted the industry has yet to overcome the oversupply problems that have driven prices for panels down by about 50 percent in the past 12 months.

“The industry is seeing a much more balanced picture in demand and supply,” said SunPower’s chief executive, Tom Werner, in an interview.

SunPower, which posted lower net income and trimmed its full-year earnings forecast to the low end of its previous range, said the financing environment for solar projects was improving, and the average selling price fell less than 10 percent during the third quarter.

The company’s forecast narrowed in part because some of its large-scale projects have moved into the early part of 2010, Werner said in an interview.

“The good news there is that we’re still sold out and we go in with a very strong pipeline into 2010,” Werner said, adding that the company is “better positioned” for the first quarter of 2010 than it was for the first quarter in 2009.

(more…)

Akeena Solar Announces Third Quarter 2009 Results

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:59 am

7:59 am EDT, Thursday October 22, 2009

LOS GATOS, Calif., Oct. 22, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS), a leading designer and installer of solar power systems, announced results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009.

“Our third quarter results demonstrate the growing demand for residential solar installations and the improving leverage in our business model,” said Barry Cinnamon, president and chief executive officer of Akeena Solar. “The benefits of our differentiated Andalay panels and lower Andalay installation costs drove gross margin to 24.7%, double last year’s level, and up nicely from 19.7% in the second quarter. Tighter expense management continued and we reduced cash burn to $2.1 million. We ended the quarter with a backlog of $8.3 million, up from $7.5 million at June 30th.”

Cinnamon continued, “During the quarter, we continued advancing our strategy to diversify our revenue streams and scale our business. These initiatives are intended to create a platform for continued revenue growth in 2009 and beyond, while moving us closer to cash flow breakeven. We are making progress expanding our distribution of Andalay panels into four new channels: direct sales to solar installers in the U.S., sales to the low-income housing and new home construction markets, sales to solar installers in Europe and sales to big box retailers.

“Earlier this month, Andalay AC solar panels were named a winner of a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product Award, which showcases world-changing innovations. The racking, wiring, grounding and inverters built into Andalay AC panels allow both experienced installers and do-it-yourselfers to install a high performance rooftop solar power system safely and easily. Because of their simplicity and safety, we believe Andalay panels will be a natural fit with big box retailers, and we are advancing our strategy to penetrate that market. Sales to installers are growing steadily; in the quarter, we sold Andalay AC to 29 installers in 15 states and Canada, booking sales of $400,000.”

Concluded Cinnamon, “In all, our strategy to diversify our revenue streams is unfolding according to plan. Though clearly still in the early stages, opportunities in each of the four distribution channels appear very promising. Tight cost controls and continued financial discipline are improving our profitability as we transition the business to a more rapidly scalable model. We are optimistic that 2010 will bring a resumption of revenue growth.”

(more…)

October 8, 2009

Akeena Solar’s Andalay AC System Recognized as a 2009 Breakthrough Product by Popular Mechanics

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

Fully Integrated Solar System Awarded for Moving Industry Toward True Plug-and-Play Solar Power

8:30 am EDT, Thursday October 8, 2009

NEW YORK, Oct. 8, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In a ceremony today at the Hearst Tower, Akeena Solar’s (AKNS) Andalay AC solar panel system was named a winner of a Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product Award, which showcases world-changing innovations and the passionate, smart creators behind them. Akeena Solar CEO Barry Cinnamon received the award from Popular Mechanics Editor in Chief James B. Meigs in front of an audience comprised of industry-leading innovators and inventors, and was recognized for the development of a grid-ready, highly reliable solar system.

“Andalay AC’s reliable performance and installation simplicity are a giant step forward for the solar industry,” said Akeena Solar CEO Barry Cinnamon. “And we’re thrilled to be recognized by Popular Mechanics with the other 2009 game-changing technologies. For years, we’ve been designing solar panels that immediately cut electricity costs, deliver dependable solar power and easier to install. Andalay AC solar panels are the culmination of our efforts. Now, both experienced installers and even do-it-yourselfers can install a high performance rooftop solar power system safely and easily.”

The Andalay AC solar panel system was one of 10 products honored at the fifth annual Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Award ceremony, and the only solar product recognized by the magazine. Popular Mechanics editors singled out the Andalay AC solar system for its incorporation of micro-inverters, noting it provided the foundation to develop grid-ready solar panels and marked a major shift within the solar industry toward true plug-and-play solar power.

The award win marked a major recognition for the newest offering in Akeena Solar’s award-winning Andalay product suite. Unveiled in February 2009 by Akeena Solar, one of the nation’s largest solar installer and distributors, Andalay AC is the first fully integrated solar power system on the market.

Andalay AC solar panels build on Akeena’s proprietary Andalay technology, which integrates the racking, wiring and electrical grounding components into the panels themselves. Andalay AC safeguards against performance-threatening breakdowns and boosts system reliability, immediately reducing electrical bills and delivering thousands of dollars in savings throughout its 30 year lifetime. Since Andalay AC solar panels produce safe household AC power, these panels enable a safer and easier installation process for solar installers, trades workers and knowledgeable do-it-yourselfers by reducing the parts count by 80 percent and eliminating complicated and dangerous DC wiring. They are ideally suited for building a green workforce, especially for individuals who are unfamiliar with the complicated racking and high-voltage DC power systems found with ordinary solar systems.

A complete report of the Breakthrough Awards will be published in the November issue of Popular Mechanics, and Andalay AC will be showcased at the upcoming Solar Power International Conference, held in Anaheim from October 27 to October 29 (Andalay Solar, Booth #1800).

July 30, 2009

Solar company results reflect weak global market

Filed under: AKNS, ESLR, FSLR, HOKU — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 8:02 pm

Thu Jul 30, 2009 8:02pm EDT

* First Solar 2nd-qtr profit, revenue top Street

* Stock falls 3 pct after rebate announcement

* Evergreen Solar Q2 loss before items misses Wall St view

* Evergreen shares down 10 pct after hours

* Hoku Scientific, Akeena Solar post quarterly losses

By Nichola Groom and Matt Daily

LOS ANGELES/NEW YORK, July 30 (Reuters) – First Solar Inc (FSLR) reported a quarterly profit on Thursday that handily topped Wall Street estimates, but its shares fell in extended trading after the company said it would start offering rebates to defend its position in Germany.

The solar panel maker’s shares soared more than 10 percent after it announced its results but reversed course and fell 3.2 percent after the rebate program was outlined during a conference call with analysts.

“They say they’re doing it through a rebate program, but it doesn’t matter what you call it, they still have to cut prices,” said Kaufman Bros analyst Theodore O’Neill.

First Solar, based in Tempe, Arizona, has weathered the global recession better than many of its peers because its cadmium telluride panels are cheaper to produce than the silicon-based panels that dominate the market.

That was underscored on Thursday as three smaller U.S. solar companies, Evergreen Solar Inc (ESLR), Hoku Scientific Inc (HOKU) and Akeena Solar Inc(AKNS), said they lost money in the second quarter.

A dearth of financing for renewable energy projects has contributed to a global glut of solar panels that has sent prices falling, hurting panel makers’ margins.

At the same time, prices of silicon-based panels have come closer to those of First Solar’s low-cost panels, chipping away at its competitive edge.

(more…)

Akeena Shares Up Despite Q2 Rev Miss; Smaller Net Loss

Filed under: AKNS, ESLR, FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:18 pm

Posted by Tiernan Ray
barrons.com

In a good omen, perhaps, for solar technology makers First Solar (FSLR) and Evergreen Solar (ESLR), which report tonight after the bell, Akeena Solar (AKNS) shares are rising despite a top-line miss in the company’s Q2 report this morning.

Akeena said revenue in Q2 fell 17%, year over year, to $5.9 million, lower than the $7.1 million consensus forecast, but thanks to a 30% drop year over year in operating expenses, the company was able to report a net loss of 9 cents per share in profit, above the 11-cent loss expected and narrower than the 18-cent loss a year earlier.

The company recorded a big increase in backlog, too, to $7.5 million from $4.8 million at the end of the prior quarter. The company said falling panel prices are helping ease the cost to consumers of installing roof-top solar panels, moving solar “closer to the mainstream.” It also helped the company deliver gross profit of 19.7%, the middle of the company’s forecast range.

The company declined to provide a year forecast, citing “limited visibility” of more costly commercial solar installations. But the company did say that stimulus money coming on line later this year should boost commercial installations.

Akeena shares this afternoon are up 5 cents, or 3.8%, at $1.38.

Akeena Solar Announces Second Quarter 2009 Results

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:59 am

Second Quarter 2009 Operating Expenses of $4.3 Million, $1.8 Million Lower Than Second Quarter 2008 and $1.4 Million Lower Than First Quarter 2009

Thursday July 30, 2009, 7:59 am EDT

LOS GATOS, Calif., July 30, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS), a leading designer and installer of solar power systems, announced results for the second quarter ended June 30, 2009.

“As a result of the cost reduction measures we took over the last few quarters, our operating expenses were down 30% from last year and 24% from the first quarter, reducing our cash burn to approximately $2.5 million for the quarter,” said Barry Cinnamon, president and chief executive officer of Akeena Solar. “We managed our working capital effectively, ending the quarter with $7.0 million of cash, an increase of $4.1 million from the end of the first quarter. In addition, our net cash position (cash less our credit facility) improved $8.1 million since year-end. Our increased backlog, lower cash burn and commitment to tight expense control are evidence of the continued progress we are making towards sustainable profitability.

“Residential installations continued to provide the majority of our $5.9 million of total revenue in the second quarter. Bookings picked up throughout the quarter and we ended the quarter with a backlog of $7.5 million as compared to $4.8 million as of the end of the first quarter. Falling panel prices, higher net incentives and higher electricity rates are improving the economics for residential customers. As a result, they are enjoying faster paybacks than ever before. Rooftop solar power, long the province of early adopters, is moving closer to the mainstream in sunny areas of the country with high electric rates,” continued Cinnamon.

“We’ve made the strategic decision to focus our residential and commercial installation work in California, and employ a multi-channel distribution strategy to sell Andalay AC and DC panels in all other markets. The second quarter marked the beginning of this strategy; and we started to generate revenue from sales to Morgan Stanley Solar Solutions and to solar installers in a number of states. We are very encouraged by our progress and believe that the distribution business will become an important contributor to revenue over time,” concluded Cinnamon.

(more…)

July 27, 2009

Rising U.S. solar demand faces financing issues

Filed under: AKNS, FSLR, RSOL, SPWR, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:28 pm

7/27/2009 2:28:40 PM

BOULDER, COLO.: The appetite for solar projects in the United States has lagged market leaders like Germany and Spain, however increased federal and state subsidies have begun to take effect and demand for solar in certain markets like New Jersey and California is heating up, according to a new report from Pike Research.

Pike forecasts that the U.S. solar market will surpass Spain in 2009 and will top Germany by 2013. However, the firm points out that financing for solar projects remains elusive.

The weak supply of tax equity combined with heightened credit requirements has led to numerous project cancellations and delays nationwide, with over 75 MW, totaling $450 million, of idle projects in New Jersey alone, according to industry analyst George Kotzias. Kotzias said, “But the tide is beginning to turn as evidenced by Wells Fargo (WFC) and U.S. Bancorp (USB), both of which have established tax equity funds for solar projects.”

In Pike’s analysis, solar companies that stand to benefit most from a U.S. boom include First Solar (FSLR), SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB), Suntech (STP), Yingli (YGE), Akeena (AKNS) and Real Goods Solar (RSOL).

“As soon as financing picks up, the demand is there,” Kotzias said. “In addition to the increase in subsidies, module prices have dropped by as much as 50 percent and installed costs have dropped over 30 percent over the past year.”

The Pike study notes that this combination of drivers has attracted the market entry of established developers from Europe as well as many domestic start-ups.

Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides analysis of global clean technology markets.

July 1, 2009

Akeena Solar Converts Silver Mountain Vineyards to 100 Percent Solar Energy

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 7:30 am

Innovative Triple Green Project Utilizes Award-winning Solar Panels to Support Sustainable Practices at Organic Vineyard

Wednesday July 1, 2009, 7:30 am EDT

SANTA CRUZ, Calif., July 1, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS), a leading national installer and distributor of solar power systems, today announced the installation of its award winning Andalay solar panel system at Silver Mountain Vineyards, a certified organic vineyard and winery nestled in the Santa Cruz Mountains in Northern California.

The 46-kilowatt system incorporates 264 Andalay solar panels and will generate 100 percent of the winery’s electricity needs. The panels, which are situated on a newly built 6,000 square foot roof, serve as an integral part of Silver Mountain’s “Triple Green Project,” an innovative multi-use project designed to curb the winery’s electricity and water use. The roof will shade the winery and reduce refrigeration requirements, as well as contributing to a new rainwater collection system and fully support the energy requirements of the winery operations, office and residence.

“With nearly a decade of successful solar installations within the wine industry, we were able to provide real world expertise to meet the unique needs of Silver Mountain Vineyards,” said Chuck Chagrin, Akeena Solar vice president for commercial sales. “With our sleek and high performing Andalay system, we were able to achieve Silver Mountain’s goal of being entirely solar-powered while preserving the expansive views across the mountains that its visitors enjoy.”

The vineyard has been certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF) since 1991, and was farmed organically since its inception in 1978.

“Silver Mountain was built with a fundamental concern for the environment and has always been a proponent of sustainable and organic practices for viticulture and other food sources,” said Jerold O’Brien, owner of Silver Mountain Vineyards. “Using solar electricity is a natural extension of our sustainable value and the cost savings make sound business sense. Akeena’s experience in providing solar to the wine industry made the company a natural choice to help us convert to 100 percent clean, renewable electricity.”

The completion of Silver Mountain Vineyards’ solar installation adds to Akeena Solar’s growing roster of more than 20 wineries, vineyards and natural resource companies that Akeena has helped go solar. With more than 1.4 megawatts of solar installed, Akeena Solar further solidifies its position as the leading Northern California solar installer dedicated to assisting eco-conscious businesses meet their environmental and bottom line business goals.

About Silver Mountain Vineyards

Silver Mountain is celebrating its 30 year anniversary producing handcrafted premium wines from its mountaintop winery in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Silver Mountain is a strong proponent of organic and sustainable practices, uses winegrapes from sustainable vineyards, and grows exclusively organically in its estate vineyards. Silver Mountain is known for its Chardonnay, Pinot Noirs, and its Bordeaux blend, called ‘Alloy’. Handcrafted with a passion for quality, Silver Mountain’s wines possess exquisite, complex flavors that are delicious now and also benefit from aging. Silver Mountain is located between Los Gatos and Soquel, California; PO Box 3636, Santa Cruz Mountains, CA 95063; 408-353-2278; info@silvermtn.com; http://www.silvermtn.com.

June 24, 2009

Akeena Solar, MCC Construction Complete 660-kilowatt Solar Installation on California Air National Guard Base in Fresno

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , — Jason @ 7:30 am

Installation First, Largest of Its Kind in California

Wednesday June 24, 2009, 7:30 am EDT

FRESNO, Calif., June 24, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar (AKNS), one of the nation’s leading designers, installers and distributors of solar energy systems, today announced the completion of a 660-kilowatt installation on the California Air National Guard base in Fresno, Calif., home to the 144th Fighter Wing. The 3,819 panels that compose the system were installed on top of three newly constructed carports built by Colorado-based MCC Construction and will generate enough electricity to supply one-third of the total power used at the base.

“This is a huge accomplishment for the wing and the entire California National Guard,” said Col. Jon Flaugher, commander 144th Fighter Wing. “Our civil engineers and environmental office have worked tirelessly to ensure our commitment to a greener and more cost-effective way to do business especially during these current economic times.”

“The California National Guard has long been dedicated to implementing energy-efficient and cost-effective technologies that promote energy security throughout the state and around the nation,” he continued. “This solar energy system is a hybrid of those two goals; in addition to benefiting from a predictable, secure supply of solar electricity, this project also demonstrates our nation’s goals for energy independence and a cleaner environment for all.”

The installation, which is the first of its kind on a National Guard base in California, was built in three phases that were each completed ahead of schedule and within budget. The wing has submitted paperwork through the California Solar Initiative to receive an estimated $1.1 million rebate for the project’s environmental impact. The energy generated by the system is expected to result in more than $100,000 in annual savings for the base and reduce carbon emissions by more than 2,000 tons.

“As the largest consumer of energy in the United States, the military is an ideal role model to promote innovative approaches to energy use and solar technology,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. “As the military continuously looks for ways to modernize, this installation will stand out as a benchmark project that provides both a solid investment of public funds and clean, renewable solar power.”

“MCC integrates its 23 years of government design-build project experience with their newest technological advancements in facilities,” said Norm Kaus, president of MCC Construction. “The addition of Akeena Solar to the project team, as a veteran of the solar industry and a knowledgeable solar partner, was essential to allowing us to deliver on time and on target with significant return on investment for the military.”

The project’s completion comes on the heels of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA). ARRA includes approximately $7.4 billion in defense-related appropriation for infrastructure investment, including upgrades to thousands of buildings, energy-related improvements, new building construction and energy conservation initiatives.

About MCC Construction:

Since 1986, MCC has developed a long, successful history as one of the most experienced IDIQ contractors in the country, having performed more than $500,000,000 in construction work on more than 85 multi-year contracts with various government agencies. By involving MCC Construction from the beginning customers take advantage of our experience and dedication. Our customers recognize that we have consistently delivered projects on time and under budget based on our principles of quality and integrity. This has brought us our greatest reward: Customer loyalty. We strive to build a close partnership with our customers; one that extends past the current project and on to the next.

June 9, 2009

Conference shows the bright future of solar power

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:36 pm

6/9/2009 12:36:01 PM

PHILADELPHIA: Consumer incentives, an infusion of federal stimulus funds, and a favorable political climate have created a golden moment for solar power.

Some homeowners could quickly recoup savings from their solar systems, a longtime industry goal.

Meanwhile, the technology is progressing. Solar collectors can even be disguised to look like roofing material.

In about two years, smaller arrays could be plug-and-play — like room air conditioners — well within the realm of the average handyman.

Although the economy has clouded many a venture, officials yesterday declared a bright new day at the opening of the nation’s premier solar-power conference at the Convention Center.

“The industry has opportunities that people could only dream of five years ago,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.

Last month, President Obama announced $117.6 million in federal stimulus funds for solar, on top of the $175 million solar appropriation in the 2009 federal budget.

The funds “come at a time when they’re most needed,” said JoAnn Milliken, the Department of Energy’s acting solar program manager, a chemist with degrees from La Salle University and the University of Pennsylvania. “A lot of companies are having trouble getting venture capital funding.”

Even so, the industry saw a 16 percent rise in installed capacity in 2008, according to an association report, and the number of new solar photovoltaic installations rose more than 50 percent.

(more…)

June 8, 2009

Akeena Solar Named SEIA Industry Innovator

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 1:50 pm

Award Coincides With the Publication of an Andalay AC Solar System White Paper

Monday June 8, 2009, 1:50 pm EDT

PHILADELPHIA, June 8, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar (AKNS), one of the nation’s leading installers and distributors of solar systems, was honored with the Solar Energy Industries Association (“SEIA”) Industry Innovator Award for its new Andalay AC solar panel system in a ceremony today during the organization’s PV America conference. The award recognizes companies who have made key contributions to the industry through continual technological innovation and coincided with the release of a white paper detailing the technical advantages of Akeena’s new Andalay AC solar panels, the first plug-and-play solar system.

“Barry Cinnamon founded Akeena Solar with a goal to improve solar, and his company’s dedication to improving PV solar system architecture resulted in the introduction of a truly game-changing, grid-ready solar system,” said Rhone Resch, CEO of SEIA. “Their innovative Andalay AC solar power system-and its shortened training and installation times-breaks down the barriers to entry for small businesses and entrepreneurs eager to join the green economy, while providing a high performing, good looking system to homeowners.”

“Andalay AC panels mark a fundamental industry shift and underscore our commitment to products that expand the solar market,” said Barry Cinnamon, Akeena Solar CEO and founder. “We are honored to be recognized by SEIA for our efforts to streamline the installation process and for developing a solar panel system that meets the changing needs of both installers and homeowners.”

Building on Akeena’s award-winning racking and framing technology of their Andalay system, Andalay AC integrates Enphase micro-inverters into the panels themselves, eliminating 80 percent of the parts needed to install an ordinary solar system as well as its complicated and dangerous DC wiring. The resulting simplified installation process requires less training, and the fully integrated inverters allow for greater flexibility in system design and decreased engineering costs while providing a sleek, jet black attractive design. The overall energy production of Andalay AC solar panels can be 5 to 25 percent higher than ordinary panels.

With the simplified installation process, Andalay installers can ramp up quickly to meet demand. Shipments of the Andalay AC panels have recently begun to installers in Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Washington. Additionally, Akeena Solar and Morgan Stanley Solar Solutions completed its first pilot project using the AC panels. Local community groups that were new to solar installed the Andalay AC panels on a Habitat for Humanity development in California.

The white paper, “A Solar Power Shift–Andalay AC: Revolutionizing Rooftop Solar Implementation,” breaks down the benefits as relevant to the three key market segments in the solar industry: residential solar installers, potential solar customers, and the industry as a whole. The paper can be found on the product website at http://www.andalaysolar.com/cm/resources.

Andalay AC system was also recently named the best renewable energy solution by the Green Log Awards, which spotlights innovative green building solutions.

May 22, 2009

Akeena Solar Launches a New Direct to Installer Sales Channel

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

New, Awarding Winning Andalay AC Solar Panels Available to Installers Nationwide

Friday May 22, 2009, 7:00 am EDT

LOS GATOS, Calif., May 22, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar (AKNS), a leading installer and designer of solar power systems, today announced it has begun shipment of their proprietary Andalay solar panels with orders from installers throughout the United States including Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, New York and Washington.

“When we expanded our California-focused installation business to add a nationwide installer sales channel, we did so knowing that it would be the most scalable way to bring our awarding winning Andalay products to sunny roofs across the United States,” said Akeena Solar CEO Barry Cinnamon. “We’re excited to have innovative solar installers eager to bring Andalay AC panels to even more homeowners and businesses.”

The distribution success follows the recent announcement of a nationwide, two-year mutually exclusive partnership between Akeena Solar and MS Solar Solutions Corp. (“MSSS”), a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley’s Commodities group, to outfit low-income households with Akeena’s proprietary Andalay AC solar panels. MSSS will also have the option to purchase Andalay AC panels for their sales efforts to large tract homebuilders.

Andalay AC panels are ideally suited for solar installers and trade workers who want to avoid the cumbersome process of installing high-voltage DC power systems. The new panels eliminate the complicated racking, DC wiring and high-voltage components found within ordinary solar systems. With 80 percent fewer parts to install, it also minimizes inventory logistics. The result is a simplified and safer installation process that can cut installation time in half. Moreover, the inverters built into each Andalay AC panel can reduce the effects of shading and panel mismatch-which can boost overall energy output by 5 to 25 percent.

“I am impressed by the simplicity and design elegance of Andalay AC and its game-changing potential. Andalay AC’s systems integration is a stroke of genius,” said Phil Lou, co-founder of Seattle-based Greenwerks Technologies, Inc. “Our growing company, which includes recent graduates of the Shoreline Community College solar training program, is eager to offer this high performing, affordable, and aesthetically pleasing system to our customers.”

April 29, 2009

First Solar Heats Up Otherwise Cool Field With Its Sizzling Q1

Filed under: AKNS, FSLR, SPWR, STP — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 6:57 pm

Wednesday April 29, 2009, 6:57 pm EDT

Investors pushed up solar stocks Wednesday in the face of mostly bad first-quarter news but ahead of a strong report after the closing bell from First Solar (FSLR).

The company said revenue more than doubled from the year-ago quarter to $418.2 million, beating analysts’ consensus estimate of $403.4 million. Earnings soared to $1.99 per share from 57 cents, shattering analyst views of $1.50.

“We’re particularly pleased we were able to sign up 479 megawatts of new volumes in Q1, particularly under the conditions the industry’s been dealing with,” First Solar CEO Mike Ahearn said on an earnings conference call late Wednesday.

“We’ve got to be focused on executing our cost-reduction road map,” he said, anticipating it could widen its price advantage.

The company also said it’s started looking for a new CEO, after which Ahearn would continue to serve in the full-time position of executive chairman.

First Solar rose about 14% after hours. The stock lifted 3.4% in regular trading, while Suntech Power Holdings (STP) vaulted more than 16% and SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) more than 10%.

The sector’s rise Wednesday was “insanity,” said Kaufman Bros. analyst Theo O’Neill. “It’s got to be massive short covering … or investors are looking into next year.”

Early Wednesday, Norway’s Renewable Energy issued results O’Neill called “disastrous.” German Conergy rose on foreign bourses after its earnings report, but O’Neill says its CEO described an “almost two-thirds overcapacity for solar” and said prices could “drop by as much as 50% this year.”

Smaller U.S. solar outfit Akeena Solar (AKNS) on Wednesday reported a loss and sales that missed views, and gave a sales outlook for the current quarter far below views.

(more…)

Akeena Q1 loss widens

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:59 am

Wed Apr 29, 2009 8:59am EDT

* Q1 shr loss $0.17 vs est loss of $0.16
* Q1 rev down 38 percent, misses estimates
* Sees Q2 rev flat to slightly down vs yr-ago
* Says not providing annual outlook

April 29 (Reuters) – Solar power systems maker Akeena Solar Inc (AKNS) posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss, as commercial installations dropped, and said it expects second-quarter revenue to be flat to slightly down year-over-year.

The company did not provide annual outlook, citing sluggish residential build and slower-than-expected additions to the backlog of commercial installations.

Akeena, however, said it expects “modest” growth in residential sales for 2009, offset by stagnant commercial installations until late in the year when the benefits of the stimulus package are expected to begin to take effect.

Commercial sales for the latest first quarter came in at $915,000, down from $7.0 million last year. Installations for the quarter were about 945 kilowatts (kw) compared with about 1587 kw, a year ago.

Net loss for the first quarter was $5.1 million, or 17 cents a share, compared with a net loss of $4.6 million, or 16 cents per share, last year. Revenue was down nearly 38 percent at $7.6 million.

Analysts on average were expecting a loss of 16 cents a share, before items, on revenue of $9.8 million, according to Reuters Estimates.

Shares of the company closed at $1.10 Tuesday on Nasdaq. The stock is down more than 86 percent from a year-high of $7.95 last May, mirroring other solar stocks, which have also been in free fall since the start of the year.

(Reporting by Adveith Nair in Bangalore; Editing by Ratul Ray Chaudhuri)

Akeena Solar Announces First Quarter 2009 Results

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:59 am

Wednesday April 29, 2009, 7:59 am EDT

LOS GATOS, Calif., April 29, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS), a leading designer and installer of solar power systems, announced results for the first quarter ended March 31, 2009.

“Our first quarter performance reflects the steps we have taken to reduce costs in our drive towards cash flow break even,” said Barry Cinnamon, president and chief executive officer of Akeena Solar. “We brought operating expenses down by 19.8% from last year and 24.3% from the fourth quarter through headcount reductions and other expense reduction measures. As a result, we reduced cash burn to approximately $2.7 million for the quarter, the lowest level since the second quarter of 2007.

Continued Cinnamon, “First quarter revenue came in at $7.6 million, with residential sales driving results and commercial sales remaining weak. Our diverse mix of business is providing balance in these challenging times. Gross margin increased as expected to 29.7%, reflecting the flow-through of last quarter’s inventory write-down, lower incremental costs for Andalay solar panels and improved installation efficiency. Falling panel prices are driving better solar economics for our customers and creating opportunities for a differentiated product like Andalay.

“During the quarter we moved forward with our strategy to establish a direct-to-dealer distribution channel to help scale our business and diversify our revenue streams. We signed several dealers, both large and small — including MS Solar Solutions Corp. (MSSS), a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley’s Commodities group. Akeena is MSSS’ exclusive supplier of Andalay AC solar panels for two years for projects to outfit low-income households nationwide. As the solar industry continues to evolve, we believe differentiated products such as Andalay AC solar panels will have the greatest appeal in new distribution channels,” concluded Cinnamon.

First Quarter Financial Results

Net sales for the first quarter of 2009 were $7.6 million compared to $12.2 million in net sales in the first quarter of 2008, and $10.9 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. The decline in the first quarter compared to the same quarter last year and the prior quarter reflects lower commercial sales of $915,000 in the first quarter of 2009, compared to $7.0 million in the first quarter of 2008, and $2.4 million in the fourth quarter of 2008. Residential installations in the first quarter of 2009 were $6.7 million or 88% of total revenue, compared to $5.3 million or 43% of total revenue in the first quarter of 2008 and $8.4 million or 78% of total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2008.

Gross profit for the first quarter of 2009 was $2.3 million, or 29.7% of sales, compared to $2.4 million, or 19.7% of sales, in the first quarter of 2008 and $1.2 million, or 10.7% of sales in the fourth quarter of 2008. On a year-over-year basis and sequentially, the increase in gross margin was due primarily to lower panel prices and lower direct labor costs.

(more…)

April 21, 2009

Akeena Solar’s Award Winning Solar Panels Used in First Joint Solar Project Between Morgan Stanley Solar Solutions and the State of California

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

Volunteers Install Andalay AC Panels On Four Rooftops in Half the Time of Ordinary Solar

Tuesday April 21, 2009, 8:00 am EDT

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif., April 21, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar’s (AKNS) Andalay AC panels were installed in the first project of an innovative public/private partnership between the California Department of Community Services and Development and MS Solar Solutions Corp. (“MSSS”), a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley’s Commodities group.

The new housing development, a project of Habitat for Humanity of Orange County, offers low-income housing to veterans and low-income families. The solar installation began on April 16, and used local installation crews from the Community Action Partnership of Orange County and the Conservation Corps. In less than a day, the Habitat for Humanity volunteers installed four Andalay AC systems on two new duplex homes. The project received praise from Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who commended it for its green job creation, worker training processes, and energy efficiency improvements in low-income homes.

“Habitat for Humanity of Orange County is proud to be a part of a project that will create lasting energy savings and positive change for low-income families while creating local job opportunities. It is this type of unique partnership between the state of California, nonprofits and the private sector that will allow hard-working low-income families to have access to clean energy while reducing greenhouse gas and creating a 21st century green economy,” said Sharon Ellis, Executive Director, Habitat for Humanity of Orange County.

This installation is the first project between MSSS and Akeena Solar as part of their recently announced Supply Agreement. MSSS and Akeena Solar have established an exclusive partnership to outfit low-income households throughout the country with new Andalay AC solar panels. Andalay AC panels eliminate the complicated racking, DC wiring and high-voltage components found with ordinary systems, while increasing solar panel production. With 80 percent fewer parts, Andalay AC streamlines the installation process thereby making solar training and installation education more accessible to a growing green workforce.

“This exciting Habitat project demonstrates how the United States can transition to clean energy and create green jobs. Because they are safer and simpler to install, Andalay AC panels are ideally suited for new workers that are trying to transition into solar, or trades people who want to expand their service offerings,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. “We are excited to be a part of this first project between MS Solar Solutions and the state of California, and we look forward to bringing Andalay AC systems to every sunny rooftop.”

The entire 27-unit project will be completed later this year with the first veteran families moving in later this summer. All units will be outfitted with Andalay AC solar panels and should reduce the homeowner’s electricity bills by more than 70%.

March 31, 2009

Akeena Solar Announces Supplier Relationship and US License With MS Solar Solutions Corp. for Andalay AC Solar Panel

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:34 am

Two Leaders Will Collaborate On Low-Income Housing Units and Large Tract Home Projects

Tuesday March 31, 2009, 10:34 am EDT

LOS GATOS, Calif., March 31, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Akeena Solar (AKNS), one of the leading installers of solar power systems, today announced that it will be the exclusive solar panel supplier for two years to MS Solar Solutions Corp. (“MSSS”), a subsidiary of Morgan Stanley’s Commodities group, for projects resulting from MSSS’ efforts to outfit low-income households nationwide with Akeena’s proprietary Andalay AC solar panels. MSSS will also have the option to purchase Andalay AC panels for their sales efforts to large tract homebuilders. As part of the agreement, Akeena Solar has granted a royalty-bearing limited US license to MSSS for the manufacture and sale of Andalay AC panels.

Akeena Solar will provide their Andalay AC panels to MSSS for the low income market, and in turn, MSSS will buy all of its solar panel requirements for projects related to low-income housing from Akeena. MSSS will partner with governmental and local community groups to install the Andalay AC panels on low-income properties to provide solar-generated electricity to low-income families. The combination of green job creation, improved green energy usage in the low-income housing sector and expanded renewable energy generation achieves several of goals sought by the 2009 American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

The agreement terms also provide MSSS with the option to purchase Andalay AC panels from Akeena or from Akeena’s manufacturers, with Akeena Solar receiving a royalty payment. MSSS is targeting low-income housing installations in a number of US states over the next two years. Their first low-income project is scheduled to begin construction in California in April.

“We’re excited to have found the ideal solar panel solution for these projects with Akeena Solar’s Andalay AC solar panels,” said Morgan Stanley Vice President Martin Mobley. “Andalay’s simplified and fully integrated design provides households with reliable green power while also enabling us to efficiently train ordinary workers to install them.”

Andalay AC panels are ideally suited for building a green workforce, especially for unskilled workers who are unfamiliar with installing high-voltage DC power systems. The new Andalay AC panels eliminate the complicated racking, DC wiring and high-voltage components found with ordinary solar systems, while reducing the overall system parts count by up to 80 percent. The result is a simplified installation process that can cut installation time in half. Moreover, the inverters built into each Andalay AC panel will reduce the effects of shading and panel mismatch — which can boost overall energy output by up to 5 to 25 percent.

“This partnership with MS Solar Solutions allows Akeena Solar to expand our distribution of Andalay panels and reach market segments we would not otherwise be able to scalably address as an installer,” said Akeena Solar CEO Barry Cinnamon. “Together we are able to make clean, renewable energy a reality for low-income residents who could not otherwise benefit from it — an important facet of both Akeena Solar’s and MS Solar Solution’s goal of furthering solar energy adoption.”

About Morgan Stanley and MSSS

Morgan Stanley (MS) is a leading global financial services firm providing a wide range of investment banking, securities, investment management and wealth management services. The Firm’s employees serve clients worldwide including corporations, governments, institutions and individuals from more than 600 offices in 37 countries. Morgan Stanley conducts its commodities business through Morgan Stanley Capital Group Inc. and its subsidiaries, including MS Solar Solutions Corp. For further information about Morgan Stanley, please visit http://www.morganstanley.com.

March 27, 2009

Analysts are cautious on the solar stock rally

Filed under: AKNS, FSLR, JASO, SOLF, SPWR, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:22 am

U.S.-listed shares of Chinese solar manufacturers give back gains

By Steve Gelsi, MarketWatch
Last update: 11:22 a.m. EDT March 27, 2009

NEW YORK (MarketWatch) – Solar stocks on Friday gave back a big chunk of their eye-popping gains from the previous session as analysts sounded a cautious note on a rally sparked by an unexpected subsidy by China for its solar power industry.

Jefferies clean technology analysts Paul Clegg and Michael McNamara said Friday that a report on the Chinese Finance Ministry’s Web site indicated that the government will offer a sizeable subsidy for the cost of installing solar arrays.

“This news may be incrementally positive for Chinese solar companies, but should still be treated with caution, given the surge in share prices, [and] the lack of key details about the subsidy structure,” the Jefferies analysts said.

Shares of Suntech Power (STP) fell 9.7% to $10.19, the day after the leading China-based solar-module manufacturer, vaulted 44% to $11.29.

Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (SOLF) dropped 12% to $4.48, giving back a chunk of its rise of 42% on Thursday.

China Technology Development Group Corp. (CTDC) retreated 6% to $2.34, after gaining 13% on Thursday. JA Solar (JASO) fell 10% to $3.41 after rallying 42%. Trina Solar (TSL) dropped 12% to $10.73 on Friday, Yingli Green (YGE) dropped 8% to $5.52 and Akeena Solar (AKNS) declined 6% to $1.10.

Even U.S.-based solar firms got in on the act, with First Solar (FSLR) down nearly 5% to $143.37, the day after it rose 12%. SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) fell 7% to $24.80, after gaining 11%.

Jefferies noted that many details are missing in the subsidy plan, including the timing of the first payment, the limit of the program size, how the program will look in 2010 and conditions to qualify for the subsidy.

“If we take the subsidy at face value and assume no onerous conditions, it could lead to a near- or medium-term surge in Chinese demand for modules,” Jefferies said.

The analysts concluded by recommending investors focus on the “operational stability” offered by First Solar. “We believe First Solar is best positioned to weather the storm,” they said.

Meanwhile analysts at RBC Capital Markets and Friedman Billings Ramsey echoed much of the sentiment at Jefferies about the Chinese credit.

“We view the Chinese domestic subsidy action as an unexpected boost to global demand,” RBC said. “Uncertainties persist, however….We also do not know if China will dictate a domestic-produced requirement as they have done for the wind industry.”

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