North Coast Solar Stocks

March 10, 2009

Hoku and Alex New Energy Sign Ten-Year Polysilicon Supply Agreement

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:30 pm

Tuesday March 10, 4:30 pm ET

Hoku Announces Second Amendment to Jinko Contract

POCATELLO, ID–(MARKET WIRE)–Mar 10, 2009 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Shanghai Alex New Energy Company, Ltd. (Alex), a manufacturer of crystalline silicon solar cells, modules and photovoltaic (PV) products, today announced the signing of a definitive contract for Hoku’s sale and delivery of polysilicon to Alex over a ten-year period beginning in early 2010.

Hoku’s contract with Alex represents the resale of a portion of the polysilicon production capacity recaptured by Hoku after agreeing to amend its original supply agreement with Jiangxi Jinko Solar Company (Jinko). Hoku will make its first shipment of polysilicon to Alex in the first half of 2010, and will ship the remainder over a ten-year period at set prices that will decline throughout the term of the agreement.

Prior to establishing its contract with Hoku, Alex had reached an agreement with Jinko whereby Alex would purchase some of the polysilicon Jinko was to receive from Hoku, in exchange for underwriting a portion of Jinko’s prepayment deposits. At the request of both Jinko and Alex, Hoku formally assigned this additional capacity to Alex under the new agreement.

As a result, Hoku also announced today the signing of a second amendment to Jinko’s polysilicon supply agreement. The amendment reduces the total volume of polysilicon to be sold by Hoku to Jinko and reduces their prepayment obligation to $20 million, including the $15 million previously paid to Hoku, but leaves the other terms of the contract unchanged. As amended, the contract continues to provide for Hoku’s first shipment of polysilicon to Jinko in the second half of 2009, and Hoku’s option to receive discounted wafer manufacturing (tolling) services from Jinko for up to a certain amount of polysilicon each year for the ten years of the agreement.

According to the terms of the new agreements with Alex and Jinko, up to an aggregate combined total of approximately $238 million may be payable to Hoku during the ten-year period, subject to product deliveries and other conditions. The take-or-pay contracts both provide for the delivery of predetermined volumes of polysilicon each year, with combined prepayments for product in an aggregate amount of $40 million, of which $22 million has been paid to date; $15 million from Jinko and $7 million from Alex. Hoku has granted both Jinko and Alex a security interest in its polysilicon assets to secure Hoku’s obligation to repay each company’s prepayments as a credit against product shipments over time. Table 1 below summarizes the key terms of Hoku’s agreements with Jinko and Alex.

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February 24, 2009

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

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

Tuesday February 24, 4:05 pm ET

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

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

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

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

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

February 12, 2009

Hoku Executives Decline Cash Bonuses

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

Thursday February 12, 8:00 am ET

HONOLULU, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Feb 12, 2009 — Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), a materials science company focused on clean energy technologies, today announced its Board of Directors had received a letter signed by all four of its executive officers asking that the Board not pay any cash bonuses to them for the company’s fiscal year ending March 31, 2009.

In March 2008, the independent members of Hoku Scientific’s Board of Directors, or the Independent Directors, approved an executive compensation plan that provides for a combination of stock and cash bonuses that would be awarded, at the Board’s discretion, based on the company’s successful progress in raising capital and in operating the planned polysilicon production facility in Pocatello, Idaho.

In a letter to the Board of Directors, Hoku’s executives wrote, “We feel we have made significant progress towards our objectives in fiscal 2009 by, among other things, securing the receipt of $103 million in cash prepayments from customers fiscal year-to-date; advancing our polysilicon production facility from basic civil construction all the way to initial reactor placement; and increasing the company’s solar photovoltaic installation project portfolio by 600% as compared to fiscal 2008. However, in the current economic climate, we are asking our customers, vendors, suppliers, and employees for continuing support to manage our cash. We are each fully committed to the long term success of Hoku, and we respectfully ask that the Board of Directors forego consideration of cash bonuses to each of us for fiscal year 2009.”

Dean Hirata, Chairman of the Audit Committee of Hoku Scientific’s Board of Directors, and the lead Independent Director, said, “Hoku’s management team should be commended for their leadership. They have demonstrated their commitment to building a long-term sustainable business. Their personal loyalty to each other, and to Hoku, is unmatched in my experience.”

January 28, 2009

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

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

Wednesday January 28, 4:10 pm ET

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

Financial Results

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

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

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

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

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

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January 23, 2009

A Silver Lining At Suntech

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

Carl Gutierrez, 01.23.09, 09:00 PM EST

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Suntech Power preliminary ’08 results beat Street

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

Friday January 23, 1:55 pm ET

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 14, 2009

Hoku Announces Arrival of First Polysilicon Reactors in Pocatello; Provides Update on Project Progress and Financing

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 4:15 pm

Wednesday January 14, 4:15 pm ET

POCATELLO, ID–(MARKET WIRE)–Jan 14, 2009 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), today announced the arrival of the first shipment of Siemens-process reactors, key equipment used in the production of polysilicon, at the company’s facility in Pocatello, Idaho. Hoku reported it had received six such polysilicon reactors at its project site, and that the first two polysilicon reactors have already been assembled and installed on the production floor. The reactors, which were manufactured in Germany by GEC/MSA, are the first units to arrive in Pocatello out of a planned total order of 28. Hoku had expected to receive the reactors in December 2008, but reported that their delivery had been affected by unusually heavy winter weather on the U.S. west coast and the customs process. The next shipment of ten polysilicon reactors and related equipment is planned to arrive at Hoku’s facility in March 2009.

“The arrival of the first polysilicon reactors in Pocatello marks a very significant milestone in our polysilicon project,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “These polysilicon reactors are the most critical individual components in our planned production process, and are among the longest lead-time equipment on our procurement schedule.”

Hoku also noted that, as of the beginning of January 2009, construction of the plant was proceeding according to schedule, with continuing progress on the polysilicon reactor building, the vent gas recovery system, post-processing facilities and key infrastructure components, including the electrical substation.

In light of its recently announced contract amendment with Jinko Solar (formerly Kinko Energy), Hoku provided a general update on its project progress and financing. The company noted that it had received a total of $106 million in customer prepayments, and that all of its customers were now current on their prepayment obligations, except for Wealthy Rise International, Ltd. (Solargiga). Solargiga was to have paid Hoku $43 million of its total $68 million prepayment commitment by the end of calendar year 2008, but Hoku confirmed Solargiga had not yet fulfilled this obligation.

“We are keenly aware of the challenges created by the current international financial market conditions and know that companies throughout the solar value chain have been deeply affected,” said Mr. Shindo. “To address this additional risk, we are working closely with our customers to strengthen our existing partnerships. We also continue to carefully and conservatively manage our cash. Together, these strategies are allowing us to continue building our polysilicon plant on a schedule that is expected to meet our customer shipment requirements, despite significant macroeconomic turbulence.”

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Hoku Announces Amendment to Kinko Polysilicon Supply Contract; Option for Wafering Service

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

Wednesday January 14, 4:10 pm ET

HONOLULU, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Jan 14, 2009 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Jiangxi Jinko Solar Company, Ltd. (Jinko), formerly named Jiangxi Kinko Energy Company, Ltd., a manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and related products in China, today announced the amendment of the polysilicon supply agreement in effect between the two companies.

According to the terms of the amendment, the total volume of polysilicon to be sold by Hoku to Jinko will be reduced such that up to approximately $178 million may be payable to Hoku during the ten-year period, subject to product deliveries and other conditions. In exchange, Jinko will provide discounted wafer manufacturing (tolling) services to Hoku for up to a certain amount of polysilicon per year for each of the ten years of the contract term. This tolling service will be at Hoku’s sole option and will be priced at Jinko’s most preferred rate.

In addition to the $20 million in prepayment deposits already received from Jinko, the amendment provides for additional prepayments for products in the amount of $13 million to be paid on or before March 31, 2009. As before, Hoku has granted to Jinko a security interest in its polysilicon assets to secure Hoku’s obligation to repay $33 million to Jinko as a credit against product shipments over time.

The other terms of the original take-or-pay contract remain unchanged, including provisions for the delivery of predetermined volumes of polysilicon each year, with the first shipment in the second half of 2009. Thereafter, Hoku will ship product to Jinko over a ten-year period at set prices that will decline throughout the term of the agreement.

“Changes in the availability of financing across international credit markets are affecting companies throughout the solar industry,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Nevertheless, Hoku is strongly committed to long-term partnerships. This means we are willing to work with our customers to establish contract terms which allow both companies to succeed over time. For this reason, we are pleased to have identified a way forward with Jinko. This amendment allows Hoku to reduce Jinko’s prepayment burden in exchange for an option for low-cost wafer manufacturing services. This tolling option allows Hoku to offer wafers to our polysilicon customers, such as Suntech Power, for whom we have an option to provide wafers in lieu of polysilicon. It is also a good way for Hoku to add additional value for our customers, and allows us to build a stronger long-term business.”

“We are pleased by Hoku’s willingness to work with Jinko to amend our contract,” said Jinko chairman, Xiande Li. “These revised terms allow Jinko to retain a portion of its long-term polysilicon capacity from Hoku, an important component of our strategy to expand our business and drive down manufacturing costs. We remain confident in Hoku’s ability to deliver product and continue to be impressed with their progress during these challenging times.”

The amendment with Jinko frees up additional production capacity, and Hoku reported that it was in discussions with other potential customers for the possible resale of this recaptured polysilicon capacity, which would include additional prepayments for products.

About Jiangxi Jinko Solar Company, Ltd.

Jiangxi Jinko Solar Co., Ltd. is one of the largest emerging manufacturers of solar industry silicon products and semiconducting materials in China. Specializing in the production of silicon ingots, blocks and wafers, Jinko Solar’s silicon industry assets currently include mono-crystalline furnaces, polycrystalline ingot casting furnaces, wire cutting and chipping equipment, and related production facilities, among others. Jiangxi Jinko Solar Company, Ltd. is affiliated with DeSun Solar Company, Ltd. (Group) and is a privately held, overseas funded, high technology enterprise whose investors include Hong Kong Paker Technology Company, Ltd. For more information, visit http://www.jinkosolar.com.

December 29, 2008

Hoku, U.S. Bank, and United Fund Advisors Announce Financing for Solar Power Projects at Hawaii Airports

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:20 pm

Monday December 29, 4:20 pm ET

HONOLULU, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Dec 29, 2008 — Hoku Solar, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) and United Fund Advisors (UFA) today announced the establishment and capitalization of an investment company intended to provide financing for photovoltaic (PV) power systems to be installed and operated in the State of Hawaii by Hoku Solar.

Hoku had previously announced its selection by the Hawaii Department of Transportation (DOT) to design, engineer and install PV power systems at airports across the state. Under the terms of its agreement with UFA, Hoku will assign its power purchase agreements to the special purpose entity, Hoku Solar Power I, LLC, that has been created to own and operate each system, and that will sell the electricity generated by the PV power systems to DOT at a predetermined rate over a contract period of 20 years.

Hoku and UFA confirmed that the financing is expected to be sufficient for Hoku to complete all seven planned PV installations at DOT facilities on Kauai, Maui and Hawaii Island, a total of nearly 1 megawatt of clean solar power. These projects are the first major PV installations on Hawaii government-owned facilities, and among the largest third-party financed PV projects in the state.

UFA reported that it planned to invest in Hoku Solar Power I, LLC through its renewable energy fund, UFA Renewable Energy Fund which is being financed by U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. Sennet Capital, a Hawaii-based merchant bank, arranged the financing and played a key role in structuring the deal.

“Hoku is pleased to have established this partnership with UFA,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Power purchase agreements offer a way to bring the benefits of clean solar energy to governments, municipalities and businesses with no upfront cost, while allowing investors to take full advantage of the associated investment tax credits. It really is a win-win for all involved. We are pleased that a Hawai’i-based firm like Sennet Capital was able to use the expertise and relationships it has created in financing solar PV transactions to help bring this relationship into existence, and look forward to working with them on other projects in the future.”

“This is an excellent example of the widespread available benefits of deploying clean technology to public users through a private partnership,” said Chris Hasle, Senior Vice President of UFA. “These types of PPA deals are increasingly common on the mainland U.S., and we believe that these projects could serve as an excellent model for many similar clean energy opportunities in Hawaii. Hoku is an important new partner for UFA and U.S. Bank and we hope this will be the first of many PPA projects we finance with them going forward.”

Hoku Solar reported it had completed the engineering, design and procurement phases for the projects, and that it commenced system installation earlier this month at two DOT project sites on the island of Kauai. Hoku expects to complete the installation of all seven systems by the end of the first calendar quarter of 2009.

November 19, 2008

Hoku Secures Key Materials for Polysilicon Production

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:27 pm

Wednesday November 19, 4:27 pm ET

POCATELLO, ID–(MARKET WIRE)–Nov 19, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, today announced the signing of an HCl supply agreement with BHS Acquisitions, LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of BHS Marketing, Inc., and a leading chemical supplier with bulk liquid transloading facilities in Nampa, Idaho, that are serviced by Union Pacific Railroad. BHS’s customers include Alcoa and Rio Tanta (Alcan).

HCl and metallurgical grade silicon are the two primary starting materials for the manufacture of trichlorosilane, which is the key raw material for the production of solar grade polysilicon using the Siemens process. The supply contract with BHS, coupled with the metallurgical grade silicon contract with Polymet, mean that Hoku has now secured enough key starting material to operate the plant into 2010.

According to the terms of the agreement, BHS will supply Hoku with guaranteed amounts of HCl for eight years beginning in 2009. The guaranteed annual amount of HCl is expected to be enough to support the continuous operation of Hoku’s trichlorosilane plant, which would enable the production of approximately 4,000 metric tons of polysilicon per year.

“We are pleased to be working with BHS,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Their operations in Idaho can receive and store liquid chemicals from railroad shipments, which will improve our overall supply chain logistics. In addition to being the ideal supplier of HCl for Hoku, we are pleased that we could find a supplier based in the State of Idaho so that we may further support the local economy.”

“BHS is excited to partner with Hoku as their long-term HCl supplier,” said Michael Merlo, Vice President of BHS Marketing, Inc. “As a long-time supplier of industrial chemicals in the Pacific Northwest, our growth into the solar sector is a natural fit for us. Hoku is a leading company in this area, and we look forward to working with them.”

November 13, 2008

Time to start re-entering the leaders

Filed under: CSIQ, ENER, FSLR, HOKU, SPWR, STP — Tags: , — Jason @ 6:16 pm

CSIQ – Canadian Solar Inc. $5.50

ENER – Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. $25.00

FSLR – First Solar Inc. $110.00

HOKU – Hoku Scientific Inc. $4.00

SPWRA – SunPower Corp. $25.00

STP – Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. $10.00

Hoku Secures Silicon Metal Supplies for Polysilicon Production

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 7:15 am

Thursday November 13, 7:15 am ET

POCATELLO, ID–(MARKET WIRE)–Nov 13, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, today announced the signing of a silicon metal supply agreement with Polymet Alloys, Inc., a privately-held metals industry supply company located in Birmingham, Alabama, which sources its silicon Metal exclusively from Rima Industrial S.A., a major Brazilian Ferroalloy and Non-Ferrous producer. Hoku plans to use the metallurgical grade silicon for the manufacture of trichlorosilane, a key raw material in the production of solar grade polysilicon using the Siemens process.

According to the terms of the agreement, Polymet will supply Hoku with guaranteed amounts of metallurgical grade silicon for three years beginning in 2009. The guaranteed annual amount of silicon metal is expected to be enough to support the start-up and initial ramp of Hoku’s chemical plant in 2009, and can be expanded at both parties’ option in the second and third years.

Hoku expects to sign one or more additional silicon metal supply agreements to diversify its supply chain and to secure additional quantities of material to support its expected full plant production level of up to 4,000 metric tons of solar grade polysilicon per year.

“Hoku is pleased to have established this partnership with Polymet Alloys, Inc. and Rima Industrial S.A., leaders in the silicon metal industry,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Silicon metal is a key raw material for Siemens-based production of polysilicon, and another important way for Hoku to manage our production costs. The fixed rates negotiated under this agreement are fair and fit well within our projected financial models for our operations.”

“Rima prides itself on being the major producer of Green Silicon Metal in the world using clean hydropower and sustainably managed timber from its own eucalyptus plantations,” said Braulio Lage, Vice President of Polymet Alloys, Inc. “We feel there is a natural alignment between Polymet/Rima and Hoku’s focus on renewable energy technology and are very pleased to have established a relationship with a key emerging player in the industry.”

October 23, 2008

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

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 4:15 pm

Thursday October 23, 4:15 pm ET

KAPOLEI, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Oct 23, 2008 — Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), a materials science company focused on clean energy technologies, today announced its financial results for the second quarter ended September 30, 2008 and provided a general update on its business.

Financial Results

Revenue for the quarter ended September 30, 2008 was $1.9 million, derived primarily from photovoltaic, or PV, system installation contracts and the resale of solar inventory, compared to revenue of $239,000 from fuel cell contracts in the same period in fiscal 2008. As of September 30, 2008 and March 31, 2008, deferred revenue of $12,000 and $36,000, respectively, was attributable to PV system installation projects and related service contracts.

Net loss, computed in accordance with U.S. generally accepted accounting principles, or GAAP, for the quarter ended September 30, 2008 was $1.4 million, or $0.07 per diluted share, compared to a net loss of $1.0 million, or $0.06 per diluted share, for the same period in fiscal 2008.

Non-GAAP net loss for the quarter ended September 30, 2008 was $1.1 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, compared to non-GAAP net loss of $705,000, or $0.04 per diluted share, for the same period in fiscal 2008. Non-GAAP net loss for the quarters ended September 30, 2008 and 2007 excludes non-cash stock-based compensation of $260,000 and $299,000, respectively. The accompanying schedules provide a reconciliation of net loss per share computed on a GAAP basis to net loss per share computed on a non-GAAP basis.

Dustin Shindo, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific, said, “The recent extension of federal solar tax credits through calendar year 2016 was significant because it enables us to continue our focus on building long term growth in our PV system installation business. We believe we remain on track to meet our fiscal year 2009 revenue guidance of $15 million to $18 million, contingent on the successful third-party financing of our power purchase agreements with the Hawaii State Department of Transportation, Airports Division and Hawaiian Electric Company.”

(more…)

October 10, 2008

Final Position Stops Out (portfolio beats S&P 500 by over 35%)

Filed under: AKNS, AMAT, ASTI, CSIQ, CSUN, DSTI, EMKR, ENER, ENSL, ESLR, FSLR, HOKU, ICPR, JASO, LDK, RSOL, SOL, SOLF, SPIR, SPWR, STP, TSL, WFR, YGE — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:20 pm

We’re not done here by any means.  Just protecting capital.  For those who took profits earlier, you are in great shape.  For the long term holders, book your losses and prepare for a re-entry once the wash sales are clear.

The fundamentals here are still strong in most cases and the growth going forward is outstanding.  We will follow the strength when we buy back in.  What we’ve seen so far is only the beginning.

Symbol Company Name Entry Date Entry Price Exit Date Exit Price P/L $ Days P/L %
AKNS AKNS – Akeena Solar, Inc. 6/13/2007 $     3.62 9/9/2008 $     3.50 $   (0.12) 454 -3%
AMAT AMAT – Applied Materials, Inc. 6/13/2007 $    18.94 9/17/2008 $    16.00 $   (2.64) 462 -14%
ASTI ASTI – Ascent Solar Technologies, Inc. 6/13/2007 $     7.30 9/8/2008 $     7.00 $   (0.30) 453 -4%
CSIQ CSIQ – Canadian Solar Inc. 6/13/2007 $     9.71 10/3/2008 $    16.00 $    6.29 478 65%
CSUN CSUN – China Sunergy Co. Ltd. 6/13/2007 $    11.02 8/6/2007 $     8.00 $   (3.02) 54 -27%
DSTI DSTI – DayStar Technologies, Inc. 6/13/2007 $     5.13 7/25/2008 $     3.00 $   (2.13) 408 -42%
EMKR EMKR – EMCORE Corp. 1/18/2008 $    10.49 3/18/2008 $     7.00 $   (3.49) 60 -33%
ENER ENER – Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. 6/13/2007 $    30.30 10/10/2008 $    30.00 $   (0.30) 485 -1%
ESLR ESLR – Evergreen Solar, Inc. 6/13/2007 $     8.82 9/9/2008 $     7.00 $   (1.82) 454 -21%
FSLR FSLR – First Solar Inc. 6/13/2007 $    73.75 10/3/2008 $  160.00 $  86.25 478 117%
HOKU HOKU – Hoku Scientific Inc. 6/13/2007 $     4.50 10/9/2008 $     4.00 $   (0.50) 484 -11%
ICPR ICPR – ICP Solar Technologies, Inc. 6/13/2007 $     3.05 12/28/2007 $     1.00 $   (2.05) 198 -67%
JASO JASO – JA Solar Holdings, Co., Ltd. 6/13/2007 $     8.34 9/10/2008 $    12.00 $    3.66 455 44%
LDK LDK – LDK Solar Co., Ltd. 6/13/2007 $    23.43 10/6/2008 $    25.00 $    1.57 481 7%
RSOL RSOL – Real Goods Solar, Inc. 7/8/2008 $     6.00 9/9/2008 $     5.50 $   (0.76) 63 -13%
SOL SOL – ReneSola Ltd. 7/10/2008 $    13.45 9/11/2008 $    12.00 $   (1.45) 63 -11%
SOLF SOLF – Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. 6/13/2007 $     8.46 9/29/2008 $    10.00 $    1.54 474 18%
SPIR SPIR – Spire Corp. 9/13/2007 $    10.00 7/14/2008 $    10.00 $       – 305 0%
SPWR SPWR – SunPower Corp. 6/13/2007 $    53.75 10/8/2008 $    50.00 $   (3.75) 483 -7%
STP STP – Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. 6/13/2007 $    32.00 10/2/2008 $    30.00 $   (2.00) 477 -6%
TSL TSL – Trina Solar Ltd. 6/13/2007 $    39.94 9/9/2008 $    25.00 $ (14.94) 454 -37%
WFR WFR – MEMC Electronic Materials 6/13/2007 $    57.28 7/10/2008 $    50.00 $   (7.28) 393 -13%
WWAT WWAT – WorldWater & Solar Technologies 3/19/2008 $     1.00 6/2/2008 $     0.70 $   (0.30) 75 -30%
YGE YGE – Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. 11/29/2007 $    27.26 2/20/2008 $    18.00 $   (9.26) 83 -34%
Average $    1.80 345 -5%

October 9, 2008

Hoku, First Hawaiian enter loan agreement

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , — Jason @ 7:45 pm

Pacific Business News (Honolulu)
Thursday, October 9, 2008 – 7:45 PM

Hoku is getting a $5 million loan from First Hawaiian Bank.

Hoku plans to use the loan to finance expenses related to its polysilicon production facility in Pocatello, Idaho, according to a new document filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Hoku Scientific (HOKU) and First Hawaiian Bank entered the agreement Oct. 1. The principal amount of the loan, as well as all outstanding interest, is due Jan. 1, 2009, according to the filing. Hoku will begin to make interest payments next month.

Shares of Hoku closed down 9.8 percent to $4.40.

October 3, 2008

Hawaii State Department of Transportation to Purchase Clean Solar Energy From Hoku Solar

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

Friday October 3, 7:00 am ET

HONOLULU, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Oct 3, 2008 — Hoku Solar, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) has been selected to design, engineer and install photovoltaic (PV) power systems at airports across the state of Hawaii. Today, Hoku Solar and the Hawaii State Department of Transportation (DOT) entered a series of agreements by which the DOT will purchase solar electricity generated by up to an aggregate of 779 kilowatts of photovoltaic (PV) power from several systems to be installed, owned and operated by Hoku Solar.

Hoku Solar plans to install the PV power systems at multiple DOT properties including Lihue Airport, Kahului Airport, Kona International Airport at Keahole and Hilo International Airport beginning in 2008. Subject to final system design, the projects are expected to total up to 779 kilowatts in aggregate. DOT will buy the electricity generated by Hoku Solar or its affiliate, who will own and operate each system, and who will sell the electricity generated by the PV power systems to DOT at a predetermined rate over a contract period of 20 years.

The projects will contribute directly to the state of Hawaii’s demonstrated focus on energy savings and renewable energy strategies, as outlined in recent legislation. The initiative also advances the state’s continued leadership in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. A project totaling 779 kilowatts of PV could produce enough electricity in 20 years to power nearly 1,900 homes for a year, and is expected to offset up to 15,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions over the lifetime of the systems.

“Hoku is proud to have been selected to partner with the Hawaii State Department of Transportation on this effort,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Through this initiative and many others, the state of Hawaii continues to demonstrate real leadership on issues surrounding renewable energy and climate change.”

“This is an exemplary public-private partnership that will bring clean, solar power to many of our state’s public facilities, with minimal up-front investment,” said Brennon Morioka, director of the Hawaii State Department of Transportation. “Now, more than ever before, the state must seek every opportunity to integrate renewable power and energy conservation into public operations. Power purchase agreements like these not only represent thoughtful stewardship of taxpayer dollars, but they provide important, incremental relief to the very real dangers of global climate change.”

Hoku Solar plans to complete the installation of the systems in 2008, subject to its ability to obtain third party financing for the procurement and construction of the PV systems.

October 1, 2008

Hoku Solar Selected to Go Green at Xcel’s North Shore Headquarters

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:20 pm

Wednesday October 1, 4:20 pm ET

HALEIWA, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Oct 1, 2008 — The Xcel Building, owned by Ed D’Ascoli, founder and president of Xcel International, Inc. (Xcel), has selected Hoku Solar, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) that designs, engineers and installs turnkey photovoltaic (PV) power systems, to install a PV power system on the Xcel Building.

Located in the historic town of Haleiwa on the North Shore of Oahu (Hawaii), the Xcel Building is Xcel’s headquarters and manufacturing facility. Hoku Solar plans to install a 34-kilowatt PV system, expected to generate more than 53,500 kilowatt hours of clean, renewable solar electricity each year and will contribute directly to Xcel’s ongoing corporate sustainability initiative.

Once installed, Xcel’s PV system is expected to produce enough electricity over its lifetime to power the equivalent of 151 homes for one year, and offset more than 885 tons of carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent of removing more than 57 cars from Hawaii’s roadways.

“Hoku is pleased to partner with Ed D’Ascoli and the Xcel Building on this exciting project,” said Dustin Shindo, chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Commercial scale PV systems make proven business sense in Hawaii, and we are proud to have been selected to help integrate clean, sustainable power into Xcel’s operations.”

“Xcel is focused on finding meaningful ways to reduce our environmental footprint that make good business sense,” said Ed D’Ascoli, founder and president of Xcel. “Our company was built on a passion for the ocean, so we are mission-compelled to do everything we can — as a company and as individuals — to implement sustainable strategies into our core business. And, like Xcel, Hoku is a global company with deep local roots committed to our community and environment. We saw a natural fit between our companies.”

September 22, 2008

Hoku Secures Power for 4,000 Metric Tons of Polysilicon Production

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

Monday September 22, 7:30 am ET

POCATELLO, ID–(MARKET WIRE)–Sep 22, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market today announced the signing of an electric service agreement with Idaho Power Company for the purchase of power to support Hoku’s planned polysilicon production capacity of 4,000 metric tons per year, and the amendment of a substation construction agreement that would provide the necessary infrastructure to deliver the power.

According to the terms of the electric service agreement, Hoku has secured guaranteed amounts of power capacity at a negotiated blended fixed and industrial tariff rate for four continuous years beginning in June 2009. After this initial four-year term, the price of electricity would revert to the utility’s standard tariff rates in effect at that time for large industrial power purchasers. The guaranteed amount of power is expected to be enough to support 4,000 metric tons of polysilicon production per year, after accounting for reductions in the available power during the summer months, when Hoku plans to reduce operations for routine annual maintenance.

The amended substation construction agreement increases the planned substation capacity to 82 MW of continuous load, which is expected to be sufficient for the production of 4,000 metric tons of polysilicon per year. The substation facilities are scheduled to first come online in May 2009, with additional facilities being phased in until final completion in August 2009. This timeline is consistent with Hoku’s planned polysilicon production ramp-up schedule. The agreement also provides that Idaho Power will provide temporary power, which would be separately invoiced, to enable Hoku’s earlier reactor demonstration and initial start-up and commissioning activities.

“We are pleased to have finalized these agreements,” said Dustin Shindo, chairman and chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “The cost of electricity is the largest single component of polysilicon production costs for a Siemens-based process such as Hoku’s. The negotiated fixed rates are fair and fit well within our projected financial models for our operations.”

Commenting on the amended substation agreement, Shindo said, “Given our increase in planned capacity to 4,000 metric tons per year, it was important to add the additional substation capacity. We wanted to proactively ensure we would have sufficient power to support this level of production. Idaho Power has a strong reputation as a provider of very reliable high quality electricity, which is so critical to our plant operations.”

September 16, 2008

Tianwei Commits to Additional $227 Million of Polysilicon From Hoku

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:30 pm

Hoku Announces Plant Capacity Increase to 4,000 MT

September 16, 2008: 04:30 PM EST

Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Tianwei New Energy (Chengdu) Wafer Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Tianwei New Energy Holdings Co., Ltd. that manufactures silicon wafers, photovoltaic cells, and modules in China, today announced the signing of a second long-term contract for Hoku’s sale and delivery of additional quantities of polysilicon to Tianwei over a ten-year period beginning in the second quarter of 2010.

According to the contract, up to approximately $227 million may be payable to Hoku during the ten-year period, subject to product deliveries and other conditions. Together with the first contract, this brings Tianwei’s total orders from Hoku to approximately $511 million over ten years. The take-or-pay contract provides for the delivery of predetermined volumes of polysilicon each year, with the first shipment in the second quarter of 2010 and the remainder over a ten-year period at set prices that will decline throughout the term of the agreement. The contract also provides for a deposit of $10 million to Hoku in September 2008, and requires that Tianwei make additional deposits for products in the amount of $12 million by December 15, 2008, $12 million by April 30, 2009, and $2 million upon first shipment. Under the agreement, Hoku will grant to Tianwei a security interest in all of its tangible and intangible assets related to its polysilicon business to secure Hoku’s obligation to repay $36 million to Tianwei as a credit against product shipments over time.

“We strive to develop solid relationships with suppliers who we view as long-term strategic partners for our mutual growth and success,” said A. Guo, Tianwei’s general manager. “Hoku shares this long-term view, and we are pleased to further solidify our relationship by placing this second order.”

“Tianwei New Energy demonstrates an entrepreneurial spirit, and is backed by the strength of the Tianwei Group, an established leader in the power transmission equipment market in China,” said Dustin Shindo, chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific, Inc. “Tianwei is an ideal long-term partner for Hoku, and we were happy to accept their second order.”

With the $36 million in additional prepayments from Tianwei, Hoku has secured an aggregate of $306 million in prepayment commitments from its customers, including Suntech, Solarfun, Kinko Energy, and Wealthy Rise (Solargiga). These prepayment commitments will be paid to Hoku based on the terms of the respective agreements that Hoku has with each of its customers. Hoku previously reported its own cash contribution to the plant as $47 million. Combining the new total of $306 million in customer prepayment commitments with Hoku’s cash contribution of $47 million brings the total committed project funding to approximately $353 million.

(more…)

September 4, 2008

Hoku Announces Realignment of Polysilicon Capacity; Outlines Financing Plan

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:15 pm

Thursday September 4, 4:15 pm ET

POCATELLO, ID–(MARKET WIRE)–Sep 4, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, today announced that after recently securing an aggregate of more than $1 billion in new polysilicon purchase commitments from Kinko Energy, Tianwei New Energy, and Wealthy Rise International, Ltd (Solargiga) (announced today), it has reallocated its planned polysilicon capacity and ended contract amendment negotiations with two of its customers: Sanyo Electric Co., Ltd. (Sanyo); and Global Expertise Wafer Division, Ltd. (GEWD), a wholly owned subsidiary of Solar Fabrik AG. The company exercised its option to terminate its polysilicon supply contract with GEWD, and both Sanyo and Hoku mutually exercised their options to terminate the supply agreement in place between their respective companies. Hoku had previously reported that its planned Pocatello, Idaho polysilicon manufacturing facility was oversubscribed at its designed 3,500 metric ton annual production level. Termination of the Sanyo and GEWD contracts allowed Hoku to resolve this overage and reallocate some of its expected production capacity to Kinko Energy, Tianwei New Energy, and Solargiga. The contract terminations also enable the company to evaluate further supply contracts with other current and future customers, within its current expected capacity.

Hoku’s supply agreements with Sanyo and GEWD, which were first signed in early 2007, contained financing and other milestones agreed upon while Hoku was still in the preliminary engineering and construction phase of its polysilicon plant project. Funds were to be paid to Hoku in the form of prepayments under these contracts upon successful completion of specific milestones. Under the terms of these agreements, all parties had the right to terminate their respective contracts if certain financing targets were not reached by May 31, 2008. Hoku had been working with Sanyo and GEWD to amend their respective contracts, seeking to align them more closely with the polysilicon sales agreements it had more recently signed. Sanyo and GEWD had each paid $2 million in prepayments, which Hoku will be required to return.

“This realignment of production capacity is a positive development for Hoku,” said Dustin Shindo, Chief Executive Officer of Hoku Scientific. “We resolved the issue of our plant being oversubscribed, and gained the flexibility to allocate that capacity to customers that are able to provide up-front capital for plant construction costs, which the Sanyo and GEWD contracts did not do. Owing to Hoku’s demonstrated progress, we are now able to secure contracts with more favorable prepayment and pricing terms.”

(more…)

Hoku and Solargiga Sign $455 Million Polysilicon Supply Contract

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

Thursday September 4, 4:10 pm ET

POCATELLO, ID and HONG KONG–(MARKET WIRE)–Sep 4, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Wealthy Rise International, Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Solargiga Energy Holdings, Ltd., a manufacturer of monocrystalline ingots and wafers in China, today announced the signing of a definitive contract for Hoku’s sale and delivery of polysilicon to Solargiga over a ten-year period beginning in early 2010.

According to the contract, up to approximately $455 million may be payable to Hoku during the ten-year period, subject to product deliveries and other conditions. The contract provides for the delivery of predetermined volumes of polysilicon each year, with the first shipment in the first quarter of 2010 and the remainder over a ten-year period at set prices that will decline throughout the term of the agreement. The contract also provides for a deposit of $22 million to Hoku within 15 days, and requires that Solargiga make additional deposits for products in the amount of $21 million by December 20, 2008, $20 million by March 31, 2009, and $5 million upon first shipment. Under the agreement, Hoku will grant to Solargiga a security interest in its polysilicon assets to secure Hoku’s obligation to repay $68 million to Solargiga as a credit against product shipments over time.

“This agreement with Hoku is key to our company’s expansion plans,” said Solargiga’s president and executive director, Wenhua Tan. “Solargiga is currently the number two producer of monocrystalline ingots in China but we are implementing an aggressive plan to double our capacity by the end of 2009. We selected Hoku to supply us with polysilicon because they share Solargiga’s focus on delivering only the highest possible quality product, and because — like us — they believe in the importance of establishing a long-term partnership.”

“We are pleased to enter into this long-term supply agreement with Solargiga,” said Dustin Shindo, chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “They are an established leader in the global solar market, and Solargiga’s strong expansion plans coupled with their demonstrated commitment to technology and innovation make them an excellent strategic partner for Hoku.”

About Solargiga Energy Holdings, Ltd. and Wealthy Rise International, Ltd.

Solargiga Energy Holdings Limited (HKG: 0757) is an investment holding company. The Company, along with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the trading of, manufacturing of and provision of processing services for monocrystalline silicon ingots/wafers. Its subsidiaries include Jinzhou Yangguang Energy Co. Ltd, Jinzhou Rixin Silicon Materials Co., Ltd., and Wealthy Rise International Limited. In June 2007, it acquired Solar Technology Investment (Cayman) Corp. (Solartech), Shanghai Jingji Electron Material Co., Ltd. (Shanghai Jingji) and Jinzhou Youhua New Energy Co., Ltd. (Jinzhou Youhua), which comprised, amongst others, established polysilicon reclaiming and upgrading facilities and monocrystalline silicon ingot manufacturing facilities. Wealthy Rise International was incorporated in Hong Kong on June 21, 2007 to act as the intermediate holding company for all PRC-incorporated group companies, and engages in the trading of raw materials, ingots and wafers. http://www.solargiga.com

August 28, 2008

Analyst upbeat on solar companies

Filed under: CSUN, ENER, ESLR, FSLR, HOKU, SPWR, STP, TSL — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:13 pm

Thursday August 28, 4:13 pm ET

Analyst sees balanced market in ’09 for solar companies, says pricing worries overstated

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Shares of several solar power companies mostly rose with the broader market Thursday as a Cowen & Co. analyst set an “Outperform” rating for some companies in the sector and said worries about declining module average selling prices have been overstated.

“We expect end market diversification, enhanced U.S. subsidies, rapid growth in Italy and France, and emergence of new regions such as the Middle East,” Robert W. Stone said in a report issued Thursday.

Stone said he expects module average selling price declines of 10 percent to 15 percent in 2009 and that supply and demand for global photovoltaics should be balanced.

The report said demand is expected to grow from 6 gigawatts in 2008 to 14 gigawatts in 2010. Stone said he assumed an increased Democratic majority in Congress that will pass a multiyear investment tax credit with higher residential credits and utility participation. State programs also will become important.

“Lower prices and improved supply should drive German expansion and renewed Japanese growth. Italy appears close to grid parity, while Middle Eastern countries could deploy PV to preserve valuable hydrocarbons for export,” he said.

Stone gave an “Outperform” rating to SunPower Corp. (SPWR); Evergreen Solar Inc. (ESLR); First Solar Inc. (FSLR); SunTech Power Holdings Co. (STP); Trina Solar (TSL); Hoku Scientific Inc. (HOKU); China Sunergy Co. (CSUN); and Energy Conversion Devices (ENER).

SunPower shares rose $3.52, or 3.8 percent, to close at $96.96, while Evergreen Solar added 17 cents to $9.48. SunTech Power climbed $1.29, or 2.9 percent, to $46.50, and Trina Solar rose 73 cents, or 2.3 percent, to $32.45.

Hoku shares lost a penny to end at $5.95. Also finishing down a penny was China Sunergy, at $11.37.

Energy Conversion Devices lost $1.79, or 2.3 percent, to $76.55 after the company announced its fiscal fourth-quarter results.

August 5, 2008

Hoku and Tianwei Sign $284 Million Polysilicon Supply Contract

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:46 pm

Tuesday August 5, 4:46 pm ET

POCATELLO, ID and CHENGDU, CHINA–(MARKET WIRE)–Aug 5, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Tianwei New Energy (Chengdu) Wafer Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Tianwei New Energy Holdings Co., Ltd. that manufactures silicon wafers, photovoltaic cells, and modules in China, today announced the signing of a definitive contract for Hoku’s sale and delivery of polysilicon to Tianwei over a ten-year period beginning in early 2010.

According to the contract, up to approximately $284 million may be payable to Hoku during the ten-year period, subject to product deliveries and other conditions. The take-or-pay contract provides for the delivery of predetermined volumes of polysilicon each year, with the first shipment in the first half of 2010 and the remainder over a ten-year period at set prices that will decline throughout the term of the agreement. The contract also provides for a deposit of $15 million to Hoku in August 2008, and requires that Tianwei make additional deposits for products in the amount of $15 million by November 15, 2008, $10 million by January 15, 2009, and $5 million upon first shipment. Under the agreement, Hoku will grant to Tianwei a security interest in its polysilicon assets to secure Hoku’s obligation to repay $45 million to Tianwei as a credit against product shipments over time.

“We look forward to a long and mutually-beneficial business relationship with Hoku,” said Tianwei’s general manager, A. Guo. “We evaluated many potential polysilicon manufacturers and are very confident in our selection of Hoku as one of our key suppliers.”

“We are pleased to enter into this long-term supply agreement with Tianwei,” said Dustin Shindo, chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Tianwei Group is an established leader in the power transmission equipment market in China, with plans to invest heavily in the growth of their PV business. Their diversified business and strong PV expansion plans make them an excellent strategic partner for Hoku.”

Commenting on Hoku’s aggregate sales volume, Dustin Shindo said, “Adding together our volume allocation under this contract, together with the allocations under our recently announced contract with Kinko Energy, and our contracts with Solarfun, Suntech, Sanyo, and Global Expertise Wafer Division, we are over-subscribed on our 3,500 metric tons per year of planned polysilicon production output. Over the next several weeks, we intend to realign our customer allocations within our available capacity as part of our on-going contract amendment discussions with Sanyo and Global Expertise Wafer Division.”

August 4, 2008

Prudential Locations Selects Hoku Solar to Install PV on Prudential Locations’ Oahu Headquarters

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:30 pm

Monday August 4, 4:30 pm ET

HONOLULU, HI–(MARKET WIRE)–Aug 4, 2008 — Prudential Locations, LLC, Hawaii’s largest locally owned and operated real estate company, announced today that it has selected Hoku Solar, a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU) that designs, engineers and installs turnkey photovoltaic (PV) power systems, to install a PV power system on Prudential Locations’ Oahu headquarters.

Hoku Solar plans to install an 87-kilowatt PV system at Prudential Locations’ Kapahulu Avenue office building. The system is expected to generate more than 136,000 kilowatt hours of clean, solar electricity each year. The solar power project is part of an ongoing renovation of Prudential Locations’ flagship office and contributes directly toward the company’s corporate sustainability initiative.

Once installed, Prudential Locations’ PV system is expected to produce enough electricity over its lifetime to power the equivalent of three hundred eighty-two homes for one year. Environmentally, it is expected to offset nearly 2,160 tons of carbon dioxide emissions — the equivalent of removing more than 139 cars from Hawaii’s roadways.

“Hoku is pleased to partner with Prudential Locations to complete this important project,” said Dustin Shindo, chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Not only does PV make good business sense in Hawaii, Prudential is showing great community leadership by investing in clean, renewable energy for their Honolulu offices.”

“Our collaboration with Hoku to invest in new, innovative technology is one of many sustainability efforts that allow us to do our part to reduce our environmental footprint,” said Bill Chee, president and CEO of Prudential Locations. “We view this as a long-term partnership between our companies, and it is clear that Hoku shares Prudential’s focus on exemplary customer service.”

July 30, 2008

Hoku and Jiangxi Kinko Energy Sign $298 Million Polysilicon Supply Contract

Filed under: HOKU — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 6:10 am

Wednesday July 30, 6:10 am ET

Hoku Updates Plant Financing Strategy, Reports Polysilicon Production Fully Allocated

POCATELLO, ID and SHANGHAI, CHINA–(MARKET WIRE)–Jul 30, 2008 — Hoku Materials, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Hoku Scientific, Inc. (HOKU), established to manufacture and sell polysilicon for the solar market, and Jiangxi Kinko Energy Company, Ltd., a manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and related products in China, today announced the signing of a definitive contract for Hoku’s sale and delivery of solar-grade polysilicon to Kinko Energy over a ten-year period beginning in late-2009.

According to the contract, up to approximately $298 million may be payable to Hoku during the ten-year period, subject to product deliveries and other conditions. The take-or-pay contract provides for the delivery of predetermined volumes of polysilicon each year, with the first shipment in the second half of 2009 and the remainder over a ten-year period at set prices that will decline throughout the term of the agreement. The contract also provides for an initial deposit of $10 million to Hoku, and requires that Kinko Energy make additional prepayments for products in the amount of $20 million by December 20, 2008 and an additional $25 million by March 31, 2009. Under the agreement, Hoku will grant to Kinko Energy a security interest in its polysilicon assets to secure Hoku’s obligation to repay $55 million to Kinko Energy as a credit against product shipments over time.

“We are pleased to have established a relationship with Kinko Energy, an emerging player in the global silicon ingot and wafer industries,” said Dustin Shindo, chief executive officer of Hoku Scientific. “Kinko Energy’s strategic approach and their focus on growth in the solar market make them an excellent long-term partner for Hoku.”

“We are excited to partner with Hoku and look forward to a long and productive business relationship,” said Kinko Energy chairman, X.D. Li. “Hoku is a clear leader among new polysilicon market entrants, and securing this long-term supply agreement is an important part of Kinko Energy’s future expansion goals.”

The agreement with Kinko Energy contributes to the financing needed by Hoku to complete its planned Idaho production facility. Previously, Hoku had announced plans to fund the $390 million polysilicon plant through $240 million from customer pre-payments and $40 million of its own cash, with the remaining $110 million to come from a combination of pre-payments from new customers, and from debt, equity and other financing strategies. Under the terms of the agreement with Kinko, up to $55 million could be applied toward this remaining $110 million, potentially reducing it by half.

“We plan to continue with our equity distribution agreement and other funding strategies, but do not expect we will need to sell as many shares to complete our plant financing,” Shindo said. “The contract with Kinko Energy provides $10 million in near-term funds which will be deployed during our ramp-up to pilot production. And, with a total of $30 million expected from Kinko before the end of 2008, the agreement reduces our risk of not meeting the financing contingencies in some of our other customer supply contracts.”

With the signing of the Kinko Energy agreement, Hoku also confirmed that the plant’s expected annual production of 3,500 metric tons (MT) of polysilicon had been fully allocated.

“Looking over a ten year period, we are actually slightly oversold at current planned capacity,” said Shindo. “As we have previously stated, though, Hoku is in ongoing contract amendment discussions with both Sanyo and GEWD/Solar Fabrik. We are generally seeking to strengthen these two relationships, but we may adjust delivery amounts or timing to either Sanyo or GEWD, or both, to address this slight overage.”

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