North Coast Solar Stocks

December 14, 2009

JA Solar gives sunny forecast for 4th quarter 2010

Filed under: JASO, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 7:47 pm

Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:47pm EST

* Shipments in 4th quarter to exceed 210 megawatts

* Expects shipments in 2010 to be 750 MW to 800 MW

* Shares up 6 pct at $5.65 each after closing up 16 pct

LOS ANGELES, Dec 14 (Reuters) – JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd (JASO) expects an uptick in demand to continue, as the company upped its forecast for shipments in the fourth quarter and expects annual shipments to rise 60 percent in 2010.

JA Solar, one of the sector’s lowest-cost producers of the silicon cells that help convert sunlight into electricity, issued on Monday a bright forecast for the full year and gave investors the first glimpse at demand for the company’s products in 2010.

Solar companies struggled for much of 2009 with a dearth of financing and drop in panel prices, but JA Solar and other solar power players have seen demand rebound in recent months.

In particular, JA Solar and other low cost Chinese solar players, such as Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) and Trina Solar(TSL), have seized on rising demand, parlaying their low cost structures into sales.

In the third quarter, JA Solar saw its shipments surge, lifting the solar cell maker to a profit.

For the fourth quarter, JA Solar expects shipments to exceed 210 megawatts, topping its previous expectations of a range of 170 to 200 MW.

For 2009, JA Solar expects shipments for 2009 to surpass 488 MW, which represents nearly the same amount of power that a traditional coal-fired power plant generates.

The company said it sees “strong shipments” in 2010 and predicted that they would rise more than 60 percent next year and reach a range of 750 MW and 800 MW, citing “robust orders from existing customers and new customer wins.”

“Demand has continued to be strong from our existing customers as well as new customers,” said Baofang Jin, the company’s chairman and chief executive, in a statement.

The news marked a “positive in the short term, but more of a neutral” for the year ahead, said Simmons and Co analyst Burt Chao.

Chao said the forecast for 2010 indicated a strong first half, but was not “far and above” previous expectations.

“Things are better than they used to be but I don’t think they’re all the way back,” Chao said, citing low module prices and issues with financing.

“In a downward trending price environment, the low cost guys are the most insulated. This has been the case,” he said.

JA Solar’s board of directors also moved on Monday to repurchase up to $75 million of its American Depositary Shares, or ADSs. The company plans to buy back the shares on the open market, through negotiations off the market and in block trades “from time to time.”

JA Solar shares were up 6 percent, or 35 cents, at $5.65 each in after-hours trading after closing up nearly 16 percent in regular trading on Monday on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee; editing by Phil Berlowitz, Gunna Dickson and Andre Grenon)

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JA Solar Announces Share Repurchase Program

Filed under: JASO — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 7:05 pm

7:05 pm EST, Monday December 14, 2009

SHANGHAI, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (JASO), a manufacturer of high-performance solar products, announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a share repurchase program, effective Dec. 14, 2009. Under this program, JA Solar is approved to repurchase up to an aggregate of US$75 million of its American Depositary Shares, or ADSs, representing its ordinary shares.

The repurchases will be made from time to time on the open market at prevailing market prices, in negotiated transactions off the market and in block trades, pursuant to a 10b5-1 plan (which, if adopted, will allow JA Solar to repurchase its ADSs during periods in which it may be in possession of material non-public information or otherwise). The purchases will be made subject to restrictions relating to volume, price and timing. The timing and extent of any purchases will depend upon market conditions, the trading price of our ADSs and other factors.

“This share repurchase program is a demonstration of confidence in our financial strength and long-term growth opportunities,” said Baofang Jin, chairman and CEO of JA Solar. “The approval of the share repurchase program by our Board of Directors reflects our ongoing commitment to increase shareholder value.”

JA Solar Expects Q4 2009 Shipments to Exceed Prior Guidance; Issues Full Year 2010 Guidance

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

4:05 pm EST, Monday December 14, 2009

SHANGHAI, Dec. 14 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (JASO), a manufacturer of high-performance solar products, announced today that based on current customer orders and product deliveries, it expects fourth quarter 2009 shipments to exceed the high-end of its prior guidance given on Nov 10, 2009. The company is raising its guidance for the full year of 2009, and issuing shipment guidance for the full year 2010.

Based on strong customer demand for JA Solar’s products, the company currently expects shipments for the fourth quarter of 2009 to exceed 210MW, compared with prior guidance in the range 170MW to 200MW. For the full year 2009, the company expects shipments to exceed 488MW, compared with prior guidance in the range of 448MW to 478MW.

“Demand has continued to be strong from our existing customers as well as new customers,” said Baofang Jin, chairman and CEO of JA Solar. “While we anticipate Q4 2009 to be even stronger than Q3 2009 in terms of shipments, we also expect strong shipments for the full year 2010 based on robust orders from existing customers and new customer wins.”

For the full year 2010, the company currently expects shipments to be in the range of 750MW to 800MW. “We continue to make progress in our global customer development, and are seeing strong demand for our high quality solar products from all major markets, including Germany, China, U.S., Italy, South Korea, Spain and France. We also expect strong growth from our newer markets, such as the Czech Republic and Japan,” said Baofang Jin.

December 8, 2009

JASO, STP Upgraded By Weisel To Market Weight

Filed under: JASO, STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:36 am

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Thomas Weisel Partners analyst Jeff Osborne today raised his ratings on both JA Solar (JASO) and Suntech Power (STP) to Market Weight from Underweight, “to reflect improving market conditions in the global solar market” and stabilizing pricing trends among both cell and module producers.

“After a collapse of nearly 50% in pricing from late 2008 to now, we are finally seeing the bottom for the solar sector,” he writes. “Credit availability is increasing and spreads are narrowing, leading to greater demand.” He notes that there are uncertainties on the government subsidy front, with possible FIT reductions in Germany early next year and Italy later in the year, but that ASPs and gross margins nonetheless are starting to stabilize.

He raised his price targets to $4 from $3 on JASO and to $14 from $12 on STP.

In today’s trading:

* JASO is down 9 cents, or 1.8%, to $4.86.
* STP is down 4 cents, or 0.2%, to $17.01.

December 7, 2009

Solar ETFs Rally As Climate Talks Start

Filed under: FSLR, JASO, KWT, SPWR, STP, TAN, TSL — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 6:48 pm

By Trang Ho
6:48 pm EST, Monday December 7, 2009

Solar energy stocks led the market higher Monday on several analyst upgrades. In addition, the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, kicked off and the Environmental Protection Agency reported greenhouse gases are endangering people’s health and must be regulated.

Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (TAN) rose 3% to 10.07 in a little less than average volume. Shares broke above their 50-day moving average last week in scant volume.

The ETF has traded in a price channel between 8 and 11 for the past seven months. It has returned 27% year to date vs. 22% for the S&P 500. It carries Relative Strength and Accumulation/Distribution Ratings of 54 and B-.

Market Vectors Solar Energy (KWT) surged 4.7% to 15.31 in higher than usual volume. Shares have traded in a sideways band between about 12 and 16 for the past six months.

KWT has gained 18% this year. Its 44 RS and B- Acc/Dis Ratings are technically weaker than TAN’s.

“If both TAN and KWT break out above the channels they are trading in, then expect them to move to the price level of the recent high,” said Tom Bulkowski, a technical analyst and founder of ThePatternSite.com. “That means TAN could run to 11.50 and KWT to 18.”

Industry Developments

Barclays Capital upgraded JA Solar Holdings (JASO), SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) and Suntech Power Holdings (STP) Monday to overweight from equal weight. The three companies popped 10% to 12% on the news.

Suntech Power said last week it won a 17-megawatt supply contract for 2010 from a Canadian firm. Its shares have spiked 68% year to date.

A top holding in both ETFs, First Solar (FSLR), added to last week’s gains and closed at 135.05 in average volume. The stock has been trending lower, forming lower lows and lower highs, since May. It trades below both its 200- and 50-day moving averages. It is flat for the year.

Shares rallied Thursday. They continued higher Friday after Collins Stewart upgraded the stock to buy from hold. Pricing pressures in the solar market eased in recent months and demand is beginning to pick up, analyst Dan Ries wrote in a client note. First Solar fared better than its competitors during the recession because its cadmium-telluride panels are cheaper to make than the silicon-based ones that dominate the market.

(more…)

Barclays ups Suntech, SunPower, JA Solar

Filed under: JASO, SPWR, STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:11 pm

Mon Dec 7, 2009 1:11pm EST

* Barclays analyst upgrades Suntech, SunPower, JA Solar

* Cites improving demand trends in the near term

* Shares of companies up between 7.5 and 9.6 pct

Dec 7 (Reuters) – Barclays Capital upgraded three solar companies, including Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP), and said it expects strong demand to continue into the first -half of 2010, and companies to report improving demand trends in the near term.

Analyst Vishal Shah who raised ratings on Suntech Power, SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB), JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd (JASO) to “overweight” from “equalweight,” said these three solar stocks were his top picks.

The news lifted shares of the solar companies sharply in trading on Monday.

The analyst upgraded Suntech Power, citing its potential for greater relative cost reduction, and raised his price target on the Chinese company’s stock to $20 from $15.

Shah said U.S. company SunPower’s current valuation is discounting the worst case scenario for 2010 earnings, and concerns over accounting irregularities may be overblown.

The analyst has a $35 price target on the solar panel maker.

On China’s JA Solar, Shah said he expects solar cell prices to stabilize and sees an upside to Street estimates resulting from better-than-expected shipments and cost reduction.

Shah raised his price target to $6 from $4 on JA Solar’s stock.

JA Solar shares were up 9.8 percent at $4.83, and SunPower Power shares were up 9.6 percent at $24.45 in trading on the Nasdaq, while those of Suntech were up 8.3 percent at $16.66 on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Arundhati Ramanathan in Bangalore and Laura Isensee in Los Angeles; Editing by Jarshad Kakkrakandy and Gerald E. McCormick)

Barclays Upgrades STP, SPWRA, JASO; Lifts 2010 Demand Forecast

Filed under: JASO, SPWR, STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 9:51 am

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Barclays Capital analyst Vishal Shah this morning raised his 2010 demand forecast for the solar sector, increasing his rating on Suntech (STP), SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) and JA Solar (JASO), all to Overweight from Equal Weight.

Shah writes that he expects strong demand to continue into the first half of 2010, and expects companies to report improving trends in the near-term. “Although concerns about German subsidy cuts could remain a potential overhand on the sector … performance of solar stocks has recently lagged the broader market rally and as such expect continued positive sector momentum in the near-term,” he writes.

The Barclays analyst says demand in German, Italy, the U.S., China and Canada will drive positive fundamentals; he lifted his 2010 price forecast to $1.60/watt versus $1.50/watt previously. He upped his demand forecast for 2010 to 9.3 GW from 7.3 GW.

Shah thinks the demand environment in Germany will remain positive in the 2010 first half; he also expects a “rush to complete projects in the Italian market” ahead of changes in their feed-in-tariff program to drive strength in the second half. Shah adds that “gradual improvement in financing environment, further ASP declines, improvement in permitting constraints and positive impact of stimulus on U.S. [and] China demand could provide additional upside.”

Shah thinks Germany will cut subsidies by 5%-10%, but contends the resultant reduction in second half demand will be more than offset by additional demand in other major markets.

In today’s trading:

* STP is up 98 cents, or 6.4%, to $16.37.
* SPWRA is up $1.48, or 6.6%, to $23.79.
* JASO is up 33 cents, or 7.5%, to $4.73.

November 12, 2009

European renewables bank on 2010 as demand looks up

Filed under: AMAT, JASO — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:00 pm

Thu Nov 12, 2009 2:00pm EST

* Q-Cells, Conergy see 2010 profit despite quarterly losses

* Phoenix Solar cuts 2009 sales outlook, sees profit next yr

* Acciona to install 100 MW in solar, 400 MW in wind in 2010

* Gamesa sees business picking up in Q4 2009

* Q-Cells, Phoenix, Conergy shares close 3.6-6.3 pct lower

* Acciona shares close up 1 pct

By Christoph Steitz and Jonathan Gleave

FRANKFURT/MADRID, Nov 12 (Reuters) – European renewable companies posted moderate to sharp declines in quarterly results but sounded more upbeat for 2010, as costs cuts and an expected pickup in demand help lift profits after a year of turmoil.

Three of Germany’s top solar energy companies said they expected to either return to or grow profits next year following a year of weak economic demand, reduced government subsidies and bruising price competition from low-cost Asian rivals.

The two biggest — Q-Cells, among the world’s largest solar cell makers, and Conergy– aim for a 2010 operating profit.

Still, both companies posted large quarterly net losses, with Q-Cells, a supplier of cells and module components to commercial customers, losing nearly a quarter of a billion euros.

Solar equipment wholesaler Phoenix Solar, which like Conergy, installs residential solar roof panels, posted a small third-quarter net profit, but cut its 2009 outlook due to delays in the financing of solar power plants.

(more…)

November 11, 2009

JA Solar: RBC Turns Cautious; Worries On 2010 Outlook

Filed under: JASO — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 12:08 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

RBC Capital analyst Stuart Bush this morning cut his rating on JA Solar (JASO) to Perform from Outperform, while keeping his price target at $4. The stock closed yesterday at $4.15. The rating change follows Tuesday’s better-than-expected Q3 earnings report.

Bush writes that the strong Q3 is likely to be followed by another good report in the fourth quarter, due to “strong seasonality in solar demand from Germany” ahead of a 2010 feed-in-tariff reduction. But he adds that the company’s prospects for 2010 “remain highly uncertain, as German, U.S. and Chinese solar subsidy programs are set to be determined or changed,” leading to further ASP declines and over-supply issues.

Bush trimmed his 2010 EPS estimate for the company to a loss of a penny a share, from a profit of 25 cents.

JASO today is down 26 cents, or 6.3%, to $3.89.

November 10, 2009

JA Solar posts quarterly profit as shipments surge

Filed under: JASO — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:17 pm

Tue Nov 10, 2009 12:17pm EST

* Q3 EPS 10 cts, tops Wall St view of 3 cts

* Quarterly shipments a record high

* Q3 revenue $193.3 mln; Wall Street view $136 mln

* Shares up nearly 2 pct

By Matt Daily and Laura Isensee

NEW YORK/LOS ANGELES – JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd (JASO) reported record high quarterly shipments on Tuesday as demand rebounded, lifting the Chinese solar cell maker to a profit and sending its shares up nearly 2 percent.

Solar companies have suffered through a difficult 12 months as financing for new projects dried up during the global credit crisis and countries cut back on subsidies, leading to a glut of supplies that depressed prices.

Still, JA Solar, one of the sector’s lowest-cost producers of the silicon cells that help convert sunlight into electricity, said it had seen a rebound in demand in September and October that it expects to last into December.

“More important than anything else, the company is gaining traction on securing new customers, but also they’ve smartened up to the fact that it might make sense for them to make modules because their customers keep asking them for modules,” said Simmons & Co analyst Burt Chao.

Chao added that JA Solar’s quarterly results were expected to be good but came in farther ahead of “our already elevated expectations.”

The results reflect the strength of low-cost producers, specifically Chinese solar power players, he said.

JA Solar’s shipments in the third quarter reached 177 megawatts, more than double the 77 MW it shipped in the second quarter and nearly 80 percent above the year-earlier third quarter.

(more…)

JA Solar Announces Third Quarter 2009 Results

Filed under: JASO — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:05 am

* Record Q3 2009 shipments of 177MW, 130 percent growth over Q2 2009
* Revenue of $193 million, 120 percent growth over Q2 2009
* Gross margin of 16.7 percent, up from 11.4 percent in Q2 2009
* Operating income of $22 million and EPS of $0.10
* Positive operating cash flow of $42 million
* Strong liquidity with $256 million in cash and working capital of over $483 million
* Expects Q4 shipments to be in the range of 170MW to 200MW

7:05 am EST, Tuesday November 10, 2009

SHANGHAI, Nov. 10 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (JASO), a leading manufacturer of high-performance solar products, today announced financial results for its third quarter ended Sept. 30, 2009.

Third Quarter 2009 Results

Revenue in the third quarter of 2009 was RMB 1.3 billion ($193.3 million), an increase of 119.6 percent from RMB 600.7 million ($88.0 million) reported in the second quarter of 2009 and a decrease of 37.8 percent from RMB 2.1 billion ($310.7 million) reported in the third quarter of 2008. Total shipments in the third quarter were a record 177MW, compared with the second quarter shipments of 77MW, representing a sequential growth of 129.9 percent. Compared with the same period last year, shipment growth was 78.8 percent, up from 99 MW in the third quarter of 2008.

“We are pleased to report the highest quarterly shipments in our company’s history, with increasing demand for our products worldwide,” said Baofang Jin, JA Solar’s chairman and CEO. “Our Q3 results demonstrate many advantages that JA Solar has, including scale, technological leadership, a strong brand, high quality products and a low cost structure, making JA Solar the preferred supplier to many customers,” he said.

“We also gained significant market share during the quarter and made further progress diversifying our customer base. JASO is the top choice for companies that are purchasing multiple-megawatts of products in a short time, with requirements for high conversion efficiency at a competitive price,” he said.

(more…)

November 9, 2009

JA Solar Jumps; Morgan Stanley Turns Bullish

Filed under: JASO — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:47 am

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

JA Solar (JASO) shares are getting a boost today from Morgan Stanley analyst Sunil Gupta, who today raised his rating on the stock to Overweight from Equal Weight, setting a price target of $5.30. The stock closed Friday at $3.71.

“JA Solar is a globally competitive low-cost cell producer now trading below replacement cost,” Gupta writes in a research note. “Besides offering strategic value, it also offers trading value,” trading below book value, with a P/E of 12.4x estimates 2010 recurring EPS. He thinks the company will gain market share against higher-cost U.S. and European solar cell manufacturers.

He says shipments may have grown 75% in Q3; he expects 60% shipment growth in 2010.

Gupta lifted his 2010 EPS estimate to 20 cents, from 7 cents; for 2011 he goes to 28 cents, from 20 cents.

JASO today is up 28 cents, or 7.6%, to $3.99.

October 19, 2009

JA Solar Announces Changes to Its Board of Directors

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

8:30 am EDT, Monday October 19, 2009

SHANGHAI, Oct. 19 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (JASO), a leading manufacturer of high-performance solar products, today announced the appointment of Mr. Yuwen Zhao as an independent member of its board of directors, effective immediately. Concurrently, the company announced that its board of directors has accepted Mr. Huaijin (Samuel) Yang’s resignation as vice chairman and board member. Mr. Yang, who founded JA Solar in 2005, is leaving the company to pursue various other business interests. Mr. Honghua Xu is leaving the JASO board to focus on his other professional endeavors.

Mr. Yuwen Zhao has extensive experience in the study of high efficiency solar cell and solar energy materials. He is a well-known international solar industry expert, currently serving as vice chairman of the Chinese Renewable Energy Industries Association and is a director of international solar energy industry associations such as PVSEC and WCPEC. Since 1978, Mr. Zhao has been vice chairman, chief engineer, director of academy committee and chief scientist of Beijing Solar Energy Institute. He is also a member of the editorial board of Solar Energy Journal. Prior to his engagement at Beijing Solar Energy Institute, Mr. Zhao was a researcher in the Institute of Mechanics in the Chinese Academy of Sciences and 501 Institute of Ministry of Aerospace Industry. He is also the founder of Chinese National New Energy Engineering Research Center. Mr. Zhao graduated from Tianjin University in 1964 and studied in Germany in 1990 and 1991.

“I would like to welcome Mr. Zhao to the JA Solar board of directors,” said Mr. Baofang Jin, CEO and chairman of JA Solar. “We are eager to benefit from his extensive experience in the renewable energy industry and expect that his guidance will further strengthen our company,” said Mr. Jin.

“On behalf of the board and the company, I would like to express our sincere gratitude to Mr. Yang and Mr. Xu for their dedicated service and support to JA Solar over the years,” he said. “We especially appreciate Mr. Yang’s leadership and contributions since JA Solar’s founding and we wish him success in his future endeavors.”

September 25, 2009

Watch Out: Solar Stocks Might Sink

Filed under: ENER, FSLR, JASO, LDK, SOL, SOLF, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 8:52 am

By James Altucher

As a financial adviser you have one goal: Don’t lose clients’ money. So even more important than finding stocks that could double or triple over the next year, you want to steer clear of stocks that could collapse.

It’s ugly, it’s painful, and nobody wants to call a client and point out an investment sank 90%.

Over the next two articles I’ll be analyzing a few stocks that fit this category. This is purely my view, of course, and I’d welcome anyone with differing views to use the comments section. (As I say in the comments section, I am not shorting these stocks.)

In general I don’t like the solar industry as an investment opportunity, which includes First Solar (FSLR), Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), JA Solar (JASO), LDK Solar Co. (LDK), Suntech Power (STP), Solarfun Power (SOLF), Yingli Green Energy (YGE), and Rene Sola (SOL).

First Solar, for instance, has been a glam stock for day traders for the past few years as the solar industry had almost as much hype behind it as the dot-com industry back in the heyday.

Let’s look at the macro picture and then the micro picture and you’ll see why this stock could go down 90%.

Macro picture:

Solar power is more expensive than other forms of power: coal, natural gas, nuclear, even wind, so the primary customer for all of the solar companies are the countries where solar power is subsidized with no cap on how high the subsidy could go.

In other words: Germany, which is the only such country. Spain tried it, but it was too expensive, so they began to cap the subsidy and as a result the solar industry is now one-fifth the size in Spain that it was when the subsidy was in place.

In fact, approximately 60% of First Solar’s revenue comes from sales to Germany.

(more…)

September 15, 2009

JA Solar Developing Next Generation Solar Products using Silicon Ink Technology from Innovalight

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

Tuesday September 15, 2009, 8:05 am EDT

SHANGHAI, Sept. 15 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — JA Solar Holdings Co., Ltd. (JASO), a leading manufacturer of high-performance solar products, today announced that it is working to commercialize a new generation of high-performance solar products using silicon ink technology from Innovalight, Inc.

Innovalight, Inc., a privately held firm based in Sunnyvale, Calif. recently announced that it has demonstrated a record 18 percent conversion efficiency using silicon ink technology and conventional silicon wafers. Results were independently certified by two of the world’s recognized solar cell testing centers, the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), and The Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE) in Germany.

JA Solar is currently developing silicon ink-based high efficiency solar cells at its R&D pilot line in Yangzhou, China with plans for initial commercialization in 2010.

“Innovalight’s silicon ink in conjunction with JA Solar’s leadership in high volume solar cell manufacturing with demonstrated yield, conversion efficiency, and low production costs, provides a very promising solution to enhance the conversion efficiency of solar cells utilizing our existing solar cell manufacturing lines,” said Qingtang Jiang, JA Solar’s chief technology officer. “JA Solar will continue to invest in new technologies to stay at the forefront of the solar sector,” he added.

“We are delighted to be working with a solar industry visionary like JA Solar,” said Conrad Burke, chief executive officer at Innovalight. “JA Solar’s leadership in manufacturing and Innovalight’s silicon ink technology offer a very powerful platform for producing solar cells,” he said.

About Innovalight

Innovalight is a privately held firm based in Sunnyvale, Calif. Based on silicon-ink technology, the company is developing low-cost, high-performance technologies to produce lower cost solar cells. Innovalight is venture capital backed and has also received significant development funds from the United States Department of Energy.

For more information visit http://www.innovalight.com

September 8, 2009

First Solar to build huge Chinese solar plant

Filed under: CSIQ, FSLR, JASO, SOLF, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:30 pm

Tue Sep 8, 2009 1:30pm EDT
By Matt Daily

NEW YORK (Reuters) – First Solar Inc. (FSLR) said on Tuesday it plans to build the world’s largest solar plant in China in the first major foray by a U.S. company into the Asian nation’s fast growing alternative energy sector.

Under a memorandum of understanding with the Chinese government, First Solar will build a 2-gigawatt power plant, enough to power about 3 million Chinese households, at Ordos City, in Inner Mongolia, and consider building a new manufacturing plant in China.

The announcement comes as the solar industry struggles to emerge from a year-long slump that saw financing for new projects dry up and reduced subsidies in Spain create a glut of unsold cells and panels.

The project is part of China’s program to generate 10 percent of its energy from renewable resources by 2010 and 15 percent by 2020 to help meet its growing energy appetite that has made the country the world’s top emitter of carbon dioxide.

First Solar will begin constructing a 30 megawatt demonstration project in June 2010 in Ordos. The second and third phases call for 100 megawatt and 870 megawatt projects that will be completed in 2014. A final 1,000 megawatt installation will be finished in 2019.

Solar projects have so far been built on a smaller scale, and the First Solar project will be a test of whether the technology behind the plant — which will be 30 times the size of the largest current plant — can be scaled up.

“In most people’s heads, (solar) is a nice little niche thing,” First Solar Chairman and Chief Executive Michael Ahearn told Reuters. “Having a demonstration of something that’s nuclear plant size will begin to change that image.”

(more…)

September 4, 2009

Solar crisis set to hit in 2010

Filed under: ENER, JASO, LDK, SOL, SOPW, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

50% of manufacturers may not survive, says The Information Network

Michael McManus, DIGITIMES, Taipei [Friday 4 September 2009]

The solar industry is at a critical stage and 50% of existing solar manufacturers may not survive 2010, according to The Information Network.

The market research firm recently noted massive inventory buildup and huge overcapacity were having a serious impact on the solar panel industry and manufacturers, and Dr. Robert Castellano, president of The Information Network has now pointed out that inventory is averaging 122 days in 2009 versus 71 days in 2008. Capacity utilization dropped to 27.9% in 2009 from 48.0% in 2008.

A key reason is increased supply from China, which added an additional 1GW of capacity. The price per watt has now dropped to US$1.80 for polysilicon-based products, which is lower than the US$1.85 level The Information Network previously thought the industry would see at the end of 2009. By way of comparison, the average selling price in the third quarter of 2008 was US$4.05 per watt.

The Information Network doesn’t expect other industry players to back down from increased competition from China. Other makers are expected to increase their capacities despite the low utilization rates in order to reach economies of scale and better compete against the Chinese. The market research firm expects the industry to see a 25.7% capacity utilization rate and 133 days inventory in 2010.

Average selling prices could drop below US$1 per watt in 2010 and US$0.50 in 2011. As many as 50% of the more than 200 solar manufacturers, mired in red ink with current selling prices above US$2.00 per watt, may not survive, The Information Network stated.

Solar panel manufacturers that have reported loses just in the past few weeks include Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), JA Solar (JASO), LDK Solar (LDK), Q-Cells, ReneSola (SOL), Solar Power (SOPW), and Yingli Green Energy Holding (YGE).

The Information Network: Planned global solar capacity increases, 2008-2010
Item 2008 2009 2010
Solar consumption (MW) 5,625 4,894 6,215
Solar capacity (MW) 11,722 17,551 24,212
Utilization 48.0% 27.9% 25.7%
Inventory days 71 122 133

Source: The Information Network, compiled by Digitimes, September 2009

September 3, 2009

Spain’s Solar-Power Collapse Dims Subsidy Model

Filed under: FSLR, JASO, LDK, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:37 am

By ANGEL GONZALEZ and KEITH JOHNSON

Spain’s hopes of becoming a world leader in solar power have collapsed since the Spanish government slammed the brakes on generous subsidies.

The sudden change has rippled across the global solar industry, in a warning of the problems that government-supported renewable-energy programs can encounter.

In 2008, Spain accounted for half the world’s new solar-power installations in terms of wattage, thanks to government subsidies to promote clean energy. But late last year, as the global economic crisis worsened, the government dramatically scaled back those subsidies and capped the amount of subsidized solar power that could be installed.

Factories world-wide that had ramped up production of solar-power components found that demand for solar panels was plummeting, leaving a glut in supply and pushing prices down. Job cuts followed.

“The solar industry in 2009 has been undermined by [a] collapse in demand due to the decision by Spain,” says Henning Wicht, a solar-power analyst at research group iSuppli.

Spain is providing important lessons for the U.S., where lawmakers are engaged in a debate about how to support renewable energy. Boosters of clean energy, including President Barack Obama, have pointed to Spain as a success story showing how government policies jump-started renewable energy, created new industries, and helped the environment.

Spain’s early bet on wind power paid off: The country is one of the world leaders in generating such power, only recently eclipsed by the U.S. Spanish wind-power companies have become global players. In 2008, wind power accounted for 11% of Spanish electricity production, compared to less than 1% for solar power.

Reyad Fezzani, chief executive of BP Solar, a unit of oil giant BP PLC (BP), said that despite the current crisis, the Spanish model succeeded in creating a solar industry from scratch. “Once you pay for the infrastructure, you have a skilled work force and you can expand and contract very easily,” he said.

Clean-energy skeptics, however, point to Spain as a cautionary tale of a government policy that created a speculative bubble with disastrous consequences. Some Republicans have cited Spain’s solar bubble and bust as an example of how unsustainable government clean-energy pushes are.

(more…)

August 31, 2009

Chinese Solar Stocks Slide After Big Shanghai Tumble

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

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

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

Among the China-based solar names:

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

August 25, 2009

Solar stocks pressured by sales price of panels

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

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

Tuesday August 25, 2009, 9:21 am EDT

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

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

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

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

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

August 17, 2009

Mostly Cloudy For Solar Stocks

Filed under: JASO, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:00 pm

Peter C. Beller, 08.17.09, 4:00 PM ET

Competition hurts. This is especially evident in the nascent solar power industry, which has been boosted in recent years by hefty government subsidies, high oil prices and alarm over global warming. As firms rushed to ramp up capacity, global recession hit and now prices are plummeting, taking solar stocks with them. One group that could get hurt, says Barclays Capital analyst Vishal Shah, is one of the least likely: Chinese solar makers.

The thesis for investing in Chinese firms that make solar power cells is pretty simple: when it comes to manufacturing products where brand name doesn’t matter, the companies with the lowest labor costs are going to win. That kind of thinking has been a boon to firms like China’s Suntech Power (STP), Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and JA Solar Holdings (JASO). With lower labor costs, cheap land and abundant financing, Asian solar firms have been grabbing market share from their older U.S. and European rivals.

That may not last, says Shah, who recommends investors steer clear of the sector until the current shakeout is over. Solar prices are falling fast, off 50% from last year and likely to decline another 25% or 30% in the next year. Solar makers have been able to lower prices, in part, because prices for polysilicon, the raw material of solar cells, were until recently falling even faster. A silicon shortage five years ago turned into a glut in 2008 as chemical companies rushed to make more. But those declines are ending meaning solar companies are lowering prices while their costs are starting to level out, writes Shah.

Chinese firms have also placed market share ahead of being profitable and are increasing capacity even as the global downturn saps overseas demand. Another reason demand could fall off is that generous subsidies, like Germany’s, could be in jeopardy as governments look to rein in costs.

But the biggest surprise for investors may be that the basic logic for investing in Chinese solar could be flawed. Chinese companies pay what the rest of the world does for raw materials, but lower wages for factory workers knock 25 cents off the cost of each Watt produced. At $1.80 a Watt, which is Shah’s estimate for end-of-the-year prices, that comes to a discount of 14% off the American and European competition. That advantage isn’t likely to last, warns Shah. Western companies are going to close the gap by being more efficient with raw materials and with their capital spending. Shah also thinks European solar makers will also be able to charge a premium for their brand names, a significant change for a market that most people think of as “commoditized.”

Likely to make the most of a bad situation are the top Asian solar companies: Suntech Power and Yingli Green Energy. Both companies will probably gain market share from rivals but will have to convince customers their products match European solar cells in quality if they are to grow profitably. Shah likes shares of Yingli but has a neutral rating on Suntech.

The fallout of fierce competition will likely be on display this week as many solar companies report earnings. Yingli, announcing results before the bell on Wednesday, is expected to have quarterly earnings of just four cents a share, down from $1.81 last year. Wall Street thinks Suntech, reporting before trading on Thursday, earned only two cents per share, compared with 41 cents in 2008.

August 13, 2009

Why the Gloom on Solar-Energy Stocks?

Filed under: CSIQ, FSLR, JASO, LDK, SOL, SPWR, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 8:28 pm

Solar-power equipment makers’ profits have been hit by the credit crunch and the glut of a key raw material

By David Bogoslaw

The global credit freeze and a supply glut of polysilicon—the key raw material used in photovoltaic solar panels—have hurt solar-power equipment manufacturers’ earnings this year. Over the long run, some analysts are hopeful the lower prices will make the technology more competitive with conventionally generated power and make these companies more compelling plays in the eyes of investors. But the road to solar riches remains bumpy.

Case in point: On Aug. 12, China-based LDK Solar (LDK) reported a second-quarter loss of $2.03 per American Depository Share (ADS) on a 48% drop in revenue, to $228.3 million, compared with a profit of $1.29 per ADS a year ago on $441.7 million in revenue. A writedown of $176.3 million on a plunge in value of its inventories accounted for most of the $216.9 million quarterly loss.

LDK, which makes multicrystalline wafers used in solar panels, also issued a third-quarter revenue outlook well below Wall Street expectations, sending its ADSs down 18% on Aug. 13.

Major Shifts in Market Share

LDK’s results came on the heels of two other Chinese solar companies that disappointed the market on Aug. 12. Wafer producer ReneSola (SOL) posted a loss of 3¢ per ADS, vs. earnings of 19¢ a year ago, on a 52% drop in revenue, to $82.6 million. The company’s bottom-line results beat the market’s consensus estimate of a 6¢ loss but missed analysts’ forecast of $90 million in revenue.

Meanwhile, solar-cell maker JA Solar (JASO) recorded a loss of 18¢ per ADS, missing analysts’ estimates by 12¢. That compared with a 1¢ loss in the second quarter of 2008, while revenue fell more than 51%, to $88 million. The latest loss included charges related to stock-based compensation and a hedging loss.

The move from shortage to oversupply of polysilicon in just around 18 months has caused a major shift in business models and market share. Panel manufacturers that locked in fixed-price contracts for polysilicon, which gave them an edge over producers that had to pay much higher prices in the spot market, now have to scramble to renegotiate contracts at lower prices or write down the value of their inventories.

(more…)

Solar shares tumble on 2nd-quarter results, analysts warn of near-term sector weakness

Filed under: JASO, LDK, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:24 pm

Thursday August 13, 2009, 2:24 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of solar stocks tumbled Thursday on troubled second-quarter results, as analysts warned of a dismal near-term outlook.

After the closing bell on Wednesday, LDK Solar Co. Ltd. (LDK) reported a second-quarter loss as it wrote down the plummeting value of its inventory, missing analyst expectations. Shares of the company plunged $2.09, or 18.6 percent, to $9.12 in afternoon trading.

JA Solar Holdings (JASO) on Wednesday posted a wider second-quarter loss on sharply lower revenue, stock-related expenses and buying back bonds. JA Solar shares fell 35 cents, or 7.6 percent.

Credit Suisse analyst Satya Kumar said JA Solar, along with other solar companies, has little visibility beyond November. Kumar estimates that fourth-quarter shipments will tumble up to 15 percent quarter over quarter. Kumar rates the company “Neutral” and raised its price target to $4 from $3.

Barclays Capital analyst Vishal Shah said there are few near-term catalysts to boost the sector. That, combined with weak seasonality and the sector trading near fair value, will likely weaken solar stocks. Shah downgraded the sector to “Neutral” from “Positive.”

Shah predicted greater-than-expected pricing declines through the first quarter of 2010 and said industry oversupply could extend into the second half of next year.

Elsewhere, shares of Suntech Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (STP) fell $1.28, or 7 percent, to $17.05. Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) shares dropped $2.65, or 8.9 percent, to $27.16. Shares of Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (YGE) slid $1.20, or 8.9 percent, to $12.26.

U.S. solar stocks down on dim results, Barclays cut

Filed under: FSLR, JASO, LDK, SPWR, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 1:06 pm

Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:06pm EDT

* LDK Solar drops more than 18 percent

* Barclays downgrades U.S. solar energy sector to neutral

* Analysts upgrade, raise target price for JA Solar

NEW YORK, Aug 13 (Reuters) – U.S. solar power company shares fell on Thursday, led by an 18-percent drop in LDK Solar Co Ltd (LDK), which posted a wider-than-expected quarterly loss.

The slump came as Barclays Capital downgraded the U.S. solar energy sector to “neutral” from “positive,” as it sees slowing growth in demand and recommended that investors wait for better entry points.

And in Germany, Q-Cells AG, one of the world’s largest solar cell makers, said it would slash its workforce by about a fifth as a result of a price slump in the industry that caused a first-half loss before interest and tax.

“Although solar shares have underperformed so far, we believe lack of potential near-term catalysts, relatively rich valuation and weak seasonality could likely result in further downside pressure,” Barclays analyst Vishal Shah wrote in a note to clients.

In trading on the New York Stock Exchange, LDK Solar’s stock was down $2.06, or 18.38 percent, at $9.15.

China’s Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd (YGE) was down 8.25 percent to $12.35, Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) fell 7.19 percent to $17.03 and Trina Solar Ltd (TSL) fell 8.69 percent to $27.22.

On the Nasdaq, First Solar Inc (FSLR) was down about 60 cents at $144.39 and Sunpower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB) slipped 44 cents to $28.32.

Still, some analysts saw a few sunny rays. Analysts at Simmons and Co upgraded Chinese solar company JA Solar Holdings Co Ltd (JASO) to “neutral” from “underweight” and Credit Suisse raised the target price of the company’s stock to $4 from $3.

JA Solar’s stock was down more than 8 percent to $4.09 on the Nasdaq on Thursday, a day after it posted a quarterly net loss.

(Reporting by Steve James in New York and Laura Isensee in Los Angeles. Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Robert MacMillan)

Solar: More Trouble Looms Ahead, Barclays Warns

Filed under: CSIQ, FSLR, JASO, LDK, SOL, SPWR, STP, WFR, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 11:22 am

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

The troubles for the solar sector are far from over, Barclays Capital analyst Vishal Shah warned this morning.

Formerly bullish on the group as a whole, Shah today reduced his sector rating on solar to Neutral. Shah says the Q2 weakness in solar company results represents a “secular, not seasonal decline.”

Pricing pressure, he contends, is intensifying. Shah says checks find Q4 module ASPs from Chinese companies could drop to $1.80/watt, worse than the $2/watt he had previously been expecting. “Given the overly optimistic demand outlook of most Chinese solar players and expectations of continued production ramps, we see additional downside risk to module pricing exiting 2009,” he adds. “More importantly, we expect 2010 module ASPs to decline by 25%-30%.”

At the same time, Shah warns that the supply/demand outlook is deteriorating, rather than improving. “We expect U.S. demand to pick-up at a slower pace relative to prior expectations and see potential downside risk to inflated demand expectations in China,” he writes. “Moreover, our updated supply outlook suggests that industry over-supply could persist in [the 2010 second half] until production capacity reductions occur at a rapid pace across the industry.”

For the Chinese solar stocks, he warns, earnings risk is to the downside. “Market share gains and not profitability is the motive for most Chinese solar companies – given the inflated opex/interest cost structures, operating break-even levels of companies continue to increase and as such we expect companies to continue to produce even as overall profitability levels deteriorate.” As for the U.S. solar players, he says the outlook is “mixed at best,” given a pick-up which he thinks will be slower than expected.

Finally, raising a potentially huge problem for the solar industry, he wonders whether the current German feed-in tariff level is sustainable, given significant volume growth in 2009 and the potential for further acceleration in 2010, and the impact of the trend on rate-payers in the difficult economic environment. He adds that significant module price declines and attractive project economics “may prompt policy makers to reconsider generous FIT levels.”

Shah’s comments follow earnings disappointments yesterday from JA Solar (JASO), ReneSola (SOL) and LDK Solar (LDK), The reports spurred a number of rating changes this morning:

* Shah cut JASO to Equal Weight from Overweight, trimming his price target to $4, from $5.
* On SOL, there was a split decision. Piper Jaffray analyst Jesse Pichel cut his rating to Underweight from Neutral, with a new price target of $4, down from $6.50. But Creidit Suisse analyst Satya Kumar upgraded the stock to Outperform from Neutral, with a target price of $7.50, up from $3.80.

In today’s trading:

* JA Solar is down 20 cents, or 4.5%, to $4.27.
* LDK Solar is down $1.66, or 14.8%, to $9.55.
* ReneSola is up 22 cents, or 4.1%, to $5.58.
* SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) is off 38 cents, or 1.3%, to $28.38.
* Suntech (STP) is down 67 cents, or 3.7%, to $17.68.
* First Solar (FSLR) is up $2.15, or 1.5%, to $147.14.
* MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) is up 9 cents, or 0.5%, to $16.89.
* Canadian Solar (CSIQ) is off 22 cents, or 1.2%, to $18.12.
* Yingli Green Energy (YGE) is down $1.08, or 8%, to $12.38.

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