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)

December 9, 2009

Applied Material’s solar exec sees sector recovery

Filed under: AMAT, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 4:05 pm

Wed Dec 9, 2009 4:05pm EST

* Says co’s solar unit “on track” for profit in 2010

* Cites China’s solar incentive as top market factor

LOS ANGELES, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Applied Materials Inc (AMAT) expects the world’s solar power industry to rebound over the next two years, the head of its solar unit said on Wednesday.

“It could be substantial,” Mark Pinto, chief technology officer and general manager of Applied’s Energy and Environmental Solutions group, said in webcast remarks.

Applied Materials, the world’s largest chip equipment maker, is relying on its solar equipment arm to boost growth as its traditional chip business falters.

The solar power industry has been affected by the financial crisis and falling prices, but several companies such as Suntech Power Holdings (STP) and Trina Solar Ltd (TSL) see growing demand in 2010.

Pinto added the sector’s recovery depends on what happens at the global climate change summit taking place in Copenhagen and incentives for the renewable resource in China, which he called “the biggest single variable that can affect the total market.”

Applied Materials’s SunFab line of equipment anchors the thin-film photovoltaic portion of its business. Thin-film equipment, a segment of the burgeoning solar equipment market, has been walloped by tightening credit and cutbacks in some government subsidies.

The SunFab line sells at about $1.75 per watt and costs about $1 per watt, Pinto said in a presentation at Barclays Capital technology conference.

Most U.S. and European panel makers are selling panels near $2 per watt, while low-cost Chinese players sell at about $1.85. Thin film panel maker First Solar Inc is the cost leader at about $1.50 or $1.55 per watt.

Applied Materials’ expected revenue in 2010 is “pretty solid” Pinto said adding he was “pretty confident in thin film for this year.” The outlook for 2011 and beyond are not as clear.

The executive reiterated that he expects Applied Materials’ solar unit to turn a profit in 2010.

“We really feel we’re on track,” Pinto said, citing costs, factory performance and plan for profitability.

Pinto said that the company’s acquisition in November of privately held Advent Solar was a move for its intellectual property (IP) and the undisclosed amount paid was not “material” for the company.

“The issue is to take that IP and turn it into a product that would be used by a broader set of customers,” Pinto said.

The executive said he does not expect revenue from the acquisition until the end of 2011.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee in Los Angeles, Ian Sherr in San Francisco, editing by Leslie Gevirtz)

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…)

December 1, 2009

Trina Solar Announces China Market Sales Updates

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

8:00 am EST, Tuesday December 1, 2009

CHANGZHOU, China, Dec. 1 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL; “Trina Solar” or the “Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, announced today the recent progress of its PV module sales in the Chinese domestic PV market.

In the current fourth quarter of 2009, Trina Solar entered into a new sales agreement to supply approximately 8 MW of PV modules products at predetermined prices to the Chinese domestic market. Shipments commenced in November and are scheduled to continue through to the end of December 2009.

The Company also recently received government approval for a project of approximately 2 MW under the Golden Sun program, which aims to install approximately 20 MW of solar power capacity in every province.

The Company continues to monitor opportunities to participate in utility-scale domestic projects, and believes its strong brand recognition, leading cost platform and system integration experience will allow it to capture a growing share of China’s PV market.

“We look forward to playing an increasingly active role in China’s expanding solar market,” said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar’s Chairman and CEO. “Trina has a strong background in system integration, a capability that is backed by solid experience. We are committed to promoting the adoption of clean, reliable solar power in the domestic market and helping China to achieve its 2020 renewable energy targets.”

November 23, 2009

China’s LDK posts surprise Q3 profit; shares up

Filed under: LDK, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 12:50 pm

Mon Nov 23, 2009 12:50pm EST

* Q3 profit $0.27/ADS vs. est. loss of $0.10/ADS

* Sees sequentially higher shipments in Q4

* Sees Q4 sales above estimates

* Shares up 8.4 pct at $8.67 each

LOS ANGELES, Nov 23 (Reuters) – Chinese solar wafer maker LDK Solar Co Ltd (LDK) reported a surprise third- quarter profit on Monday and forecast better-than-expected fourth quarter sales and sequentially higher shipments, sending its shares up 8 percent in regular trading.

For the fourth quarter, LDK forecast sales between $280 million and $310 million, well above analysts’ estimates of $258.7 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

The company also expects higher wafer shipments of between 320 megawatts to 340 MW, compared with the 320.5 MW it shipped in the third quarter.

The company’s surprise profit was due to stronger gross margins and better material costs, as well as nearly $14 million in government subsidies, Needham and Co analyst Edwin Mok said.

“I am incrementally more positive about the company,” Mok added.

But he noted the balance sheet was “still an investor concern.”

LDK ended the third quarter with $1.1 billion in current assets, including $67.8 million in cash and cash equivalents, and $2.45 billion in current liabilities.

“The results are not as good as they appear at first blush,” Soleil Securities analyst Paul Leming said, adding that government grants and subsidies and other items helped the company’s earnings.

“Their level of debt is extremely worrisome. The fact that they still do not have their polysilicon plant up and running is bothersome.”

The solar wafer maker is working to produce its own polysilicon — a key raw material in the solar industry — in order to reduce costs.

(more…)

November 19, 2009

Trina Solar Announces Third Quarter 2009 Results

Filed under: TSL — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 4:45 am

Shipment Volume, Gross Margin Exceed Company Guidance

4:45 am EST, Thursday November 19, 2009

CHANGZHOU, China, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL; “Trina Solar” or the “Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009.

Third Quarter 2009 Financial and Operating Highlights
— Solar module shipments were approximately 123 MW, above the Company’s previous guidance of 90 MW to 110 MW, representing an increase of 91.9% sequentially and 84.7% year-over-year
— Net revenues were $249.7 million, representing an increase of 66.5% sequentially and a decrease of 14.1% year-over-year
— Gross margin was 28.5%, above the Company’s guidance of 23.5% to 26.5%, compared to 27.4% sequentially and 22.4% year-over-year
— Operating income and operating margin were $45.5 million and 18.2%, respectively, compared to $18.6 million and 12.4%, respectively, in the second quarter of 2009
— Net income was $40.1 million, compared to $18.9 million in the second quarter of 2009
— Earnings per fully-diluted ADS was $1.29

“We are very pleased with our strong third quarter performance, which saw the highest shipment volumes and net income in our operating history and exceeded our previous guidance in shipment and gross margin,” said Jifan Gao, Chairman and CEO of Trina Solar. “We are seeing even stronger demand in the fourth quarter, reflecting increasing brand recognition for our products and a further improvement in financing conditions. Additionally, our focused strategy to deliver the highest product quality and performance to a diversified portfolio of end-markets has afforded us with increasing visibility into 2010’s first quarter despite seasonal market effects.

“With our third quarter results, successful follow-on public offering and five-year syndicated credit facility for our East Campus capacity expansion project, we have further strengthened our balance sheet as we continue to improve our market leading manufacturing efficiencies.”

(more…)

November 16, 2009

Cheap Solar: Plunging Silicon Gives Asian Solar Companies an Edge, HSBC Says

Filed under: LDK, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 10:37 am

By Keith Johnson
wsj.com

Solar prices have already collapsed, but they still have plenty of room to keep falling. That’s actually good news for the industry—and for Asian solar-power companies in particular, HSBC says in a new report.

Thanks to the glut of polysilicon, prices for solar-power modules have collapsed, falling 50% over the last year, the bank says. Since there’s still a supply glut, prices will keep falling—another 20% by the end of 2010.

The bad news, such as it is, is that falling prices squeeze margins at lots of solar companies, slamming share prices and forcing layoffs.

The good news is that as solar power gets cheaper, demand should pick up after a terrible year. HSBC figures that cheaper silicon makes solar power only two to two-and-a-half times more expensive than traditional power sources, compared with five to six times more expensive just a year ago.

That should spur rapid growth, consolidation, and scale economies—all of which could push the cost of solar power even lower. HSBC renewed its forecast of solar grid parity in some big markets by 2013.

The other big effect of cheaper silicon prices is that it makes the cost of silicon less important and other costs more so—giving an advantage to Asian solar-power players who enjoy advantages in things like labor and manufacturing costs.

HSBC says: “We estimate silicon will account for one-third of module costs by 2011, down from more than two- thirds in 2008. As a result, we believe leaders in downstream non-silicon costs will enjoy higher market share, better margins or both.”

For the investment bank, that means that companies such as Trina Solar (TSL) and Suntech Power (STP) are becoming more attractive. The bank initiated coverage on Trina at “overweight” and upgraded Suntech to “neutral” from “underweight.”

Less attractive? Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and LDK Solar (LDK), both burdened by in-house silicon production. HSBC downgraed Yingli to “underweight” from “overweight” and reiterated LDK’s “underweight” rating.

November 13, 2009

Yingli profit tops Street view; shares jump

Filed under: STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:13 pm

Fri Nov 13, 2009 12:13pm EST

* Q3 adjusted earns $0.18/ADS; Street view $0.16/ADS

* Raises low end of forecast range for 2009 gross margin

* Shares rise 9 pct

NEW YORK, Nov 13 (Reuters) – Chinese solar panel maker Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd (YGE) posted better-than-expected third-quarter profit on strong shipments, sending its shares up 9 percent.

Solar companies have struggled over the past 12 months as a glut of supplies on the global market has depressed prices, but Yingli’s earnings showed the sector may be rebounding.

Improvement in credit markets helped lift Yingli’s solar module shipments by 80 percent from the second quarter, and the company said it now expects full-year shipments of 490 MW to 500 MW, compared with a previous forecast of 450 MW to 500 MW.

Demand in Europe is far outstripping supply, company executives told a conference call, and the U.S. market improved in the third quarter.

Yingli’s results bode well for its Chinese peers Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) and Trina Solar (TSL), which are due to report quarterly results next week, said Simmons & Co analyst Burt Chao.

Yingli’s results reflect “strong demand, strong pricing and the ability for these companies to meaningfully decrease costs and therefore expand margins,” Chao said.

He said Yingli could reach margins of 25 percent next year and noted the company’s positive outlook for average selling prices for panels to be flat or even rise in the first quarter of 2010.

Net income for the third quarter was $17.7 million, or 12 cents per American depositary share (ADS). Excluding one-time items, the company earned 18 cents per ADS.

Analysts on average were expecting 16 cents per ADS before items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Total net revenue increased slightly to $326 million.

For 2009, The company narrowed its gross margin outlook to between 19 percent and 20 percent, from 18 percent to 20 percent previously.

Yingli shares were up 9.4 percent at $13.16 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Matt Daily; additional reporting by Laura Isensee in Los Angeles and Supantha Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Dave Zimmerman and John Wallace)

October 22, 2009

Trina Solar Announces New Sales Agreement with PROINSO

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

8:00 am EDT, Thursday October 22, 2009

CHANGZHOU, China, Oct. 22 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL; “Trina Solar” or the “Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, announced today it has entered into a sales agreement with PROINSO (“Proyectos Integrales Solares S.L.”), a leading distributor of solar photovoltaic equipment and a specialist in engineering services in Europe.

Under the terms of the agreement, Trina Solar will supply PROINSO with approximately 108 MW of PV modules at predetermined prices. PROINSO has an option to purchase an additional 12 MW in the first quarter of 2010. Shipments are expected to commence in the fourth quarter of 2009 and are scheduled to continue through the first half of 2010. The modules are expected to be used in solar projects in the European markets, including Italy and Spain. Shipment deliveries of 38 MW and 42 MW are expected to be made in the fourth quarter of 2009 and the first quarter of 2010, respectively.

“We are excited to be expanding our existing relationship with PROINSO, and we look forward to continuing this relationship into 2010 and beyond,” said Ben Hill, Vice President of Sales and Marketing (Europe) at Trina Solar. “The combination of PROINSO’s extensive experience and expertise in solar energy products, coupled with Trina Solar’s recognized quality, will allow us to further increase market share in established markets across Europe.”

“We are pleased to enter into this sales agreement with a well recognized manufacturer like Trina Solar,” declared Mr. Gustavo Carrero, Marketing Director of PROINSO. “As one of Spain’s leading distributors for solar photovoltaic equipment, we have chosen to partner with Trina Solar to bring their premium performance modules to major solar plant projects in Europe.”

About PROINSO

PROINSO is part of the OPDE Group business group, which is comprised of the following companies: MECASOLAR, PROINSO, and OPDE. The group offers a complete solution that includes dual-axis solar tracker manufacturing, materials engineering and supply, installation and global development and construction of photovoltaic solar plants. The group offers an integrated service that spans the entire photovoltaic business value chain, imparting all of the experience gained from each segment of the value chain. For further information, please visit PROINSO’s website at http://www.proinso.net .

October 19, 2009

Yingli shares jump as analyst upgrades stock

Filed under: TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:55 pm

Yingli Green Energy shares climb as analyst upgrades stock to ‘Outperform’

2:55 pm EDT, Monday October 19, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. (YGE) stock rose on Monday as an analyst upgraded the solar cell maker to “Outperform” from “Neutral,” saying shares are set to climb on stronger prices, cost advantages and increased market share.

Yingli shares climbed 77 cents, or 6.1 percent, to $13.50 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $2.50 to $16.35.

In a note to clients, Macquarie Equities Research analyst Kelly Dougherty said she still prefers Trina Solar (TSL), given its slight cost advantage, but still expects Yingli to take market share from its higher-cost peers in 2010.

“The second half of 2009 is likely to be strong for many solar companies, particularly those outside Europe, and we believe Yingli will be one of the clear winners,” Dougherty said. She added that pricing pressure has not been as intense as expected, a surprise that has helped the company.

She raised her full-year profit estimate to 30 cents per share from 17 cents per share. For 2010 she boosted estimates to $1.03 per share from 83 cents per share.

She increased her share price target for the company to $15 from $12.

October 16, 2009

With subsidy cuts coming is it time to sell solar?

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 4:02 pm

Fri Oct 16, 2009 4:02pm EDT

* Anxiety about German subsidy cuts weighs on sector

* One analyst sees opportunity in SunPower

* Analyst cuts two German solars: Q-Cells and SolarWorld

By Laura Isensee

LOS ANGELES, Oct 16 (Reuters) – Shares of U.S.-listed solar companies slipped this week as investors fret over how much and when Germany’s government will cut aid to its solar industry, the world’s top market.

The Free Democrats are joining Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in the governing coalition and have called for reduced solar supports, fueling speculation on the final form.

Only a small portion of photovoltaic systems that convert sunlight into electricity may see cutbacks, according to a draft proposal by a German coalition working group for environmental policy.

Shares of First Solar Inc (FSLR), Suntech Power (STP), SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB), Yingli Green Energy (YGE) and Trina Solar (TSL) have fallen 4 to 7 percent since Monday.

With specific changes still uncertain, should investors hold or even pull back on solar shares until a final decision?

Four analysts weigh in:

(more…)

October 6, 2009

Solar shares rise with broader market strength

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 3:37 pm

Shares of solar companies climbed across the board on broader market strength

3:37 pm EDT, Tuesday October 6, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of solar stocks rose across the board on Tuesday along with the broader market, which strengthened on rising expectations for a global economic recovery.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Mehdi Hosseini said First Solar Inc. (FSLR), the nation’s largest solar panel maker, is poised to “benefit handsomely” from the weakened dollar, as the company still recognizes a majority of sales in euros, while its cost of goods sold are recognized in dollars.

Hosseini said that the company’s power purchase agreement to Enbridge Inc. (ENB), Canada’s largest pipeline operator, is encouraging, but warned that First Solar’s income statement is in a “transitional” period, leading him to believe there is still “significant downside risk” to the 2010 consensus earnings estimate of $7.27 per share. Hosseini expects a profit of only $5 per share. He rates the company “Underperform,” with a price target of $110.

Shares of First Solar rose $2.23 to $150.81.

Looking to solar-electric systems maker SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB), Hosseini raised his third-quarter shipment estimate to 90 megawatts, up from 85 megawatts, as the solar photovoltaic market is strengthened by the rooftop segment. For the same period, Hosseini expects the company to install more than 40 megawatts worldwide, compared with a previous expectations of less than 40 MW of system installations.

Hosseini rates the company “Outperform” with a price target of $40.

Shares of SunPower rose 83 cents, or 3 percent, to $28.80 in afternoon trading.

Elsewhere in the sector, Yingli Green Energy Holdings Co. (YGE) shares rose 60 cents, or 5 percent, to $12.58. Shares of Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) rose $2.26, or 7.4 percent, to $32.52.

October 1, 2009

U.S. solar industry to challenge tariff ruling

Filed under: ENER, ESLR, FSLR, SPWR, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 7:10 pm

Thu Oct 1, 2009 7:10pm EDT

* U.S. importers could face $70 million in tariffs, fines

* Industry hopes to persuade US Customs to reverse ruling

* Some see move counterproductive to global climate goals

By Doug Palmer

WASHINGTON, Oct 1 (Reuters) – The U.S. solar energy industry hopes to persuade Customs officials to reverse a decision to impose a 2.5 percent tariff on solar panel imports after more than two decades of duty-free trade in the product, an industry official said on Thursday.

“We’re taking it very seriously and we will be responding. … The industry is in the process of preparing a challenge,” said Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association, whose members include both U.S. and foreign solar energy companies.

In the worst case scenario, U.S. importers of solar panels could face some $70 million in tariffs and penalties for product already imported this year.

The tariff comes at a time when concern about global climate change has prompted the United States and the European Union to push for deal with other leading developed countries and China to eliminate duties on environmental goods.

As the New York Times reported on Wednesday, the U.S. Custom service ruled in January a panel made by Trina Solar (TSL) of China was a generator because it contains a diode that allows electric current to pass around shaded areas of the panel.

That ruling was a surprise because “all solar panels contain bypass diodes and have forever. It’s a safety issue not to have them,” one industry official said.

Although the ruling only applies to the Trina panel, it has implications for other manufacturers, he said.

(more…)

September 30, 2009

Trina Solar Signs Sales Agreement with Kerself S.p.A

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

Wednesday September 30, 2009, 4:15 pm EDT

CHANGZHOU, China, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL; “Trina Solar” or the “Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, announced today that it has entered into a sales agreement with Kerself S.p.A (“Kerself Group”), Italy’s leading player in photovoltaic solar plant engineering, development, production, installation and distribution.

Under the terms of the agreement, Trina Solar will supply Kerself Group with approximately 73 MW of PV modules, with shipment deliveries of 23 MW expected in the fourth quarter of 2009 and 25 MW expected in each of the first and second quarters of 2010.

“We are excited to announce this new sales agreement with Kerself Group to further strengthen Trina Solar’s presence in Italy and throughout Europe,” stated Mr. Arturo Herrero, Vice-President of Special Key Accounts of Trina Solar. “Our strategic partnership with Kerself Group is a significant success for us in aligning ourselves with a proven multiregional energy developer with growing opportunities in established and emerging photovoltaic markets.”

“As Kerself Group seeks to position itself as a primary photovoltaic group within and outside the EU, we are excited to partner with a well recognized brand like Trina Solar to bring their high quality modules and premium service to our customers across Italy and throughout Europe,” commented Kerself Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Pier Angelo Masselli.

About Kerself S.p.A

Kerself S.p.A. (KRS IM), a company listed on Borsa Italiana’s electronic equities market (MTA), is a leading player in photovoltaic solar plant engineering, development, production, installation and distribution in Italy and Europe. The Kerself Group Companies includes Distribuzione Energie Alternative (DEA), Ecoware, Helios Technology, Nuova Thermosolar, SAEM, IRCEM Industriale Srl and JET S.p.A. The Group recently established a new company in Turkey to build photovoltaic plants and a joint venture in Israel with key local players in the sector. Today Kerself Group exports in Europe (Greece, Germany, France, Spain and Portugal), the Middle East and the Far East.

Trina Solar Announces Extension of Long-Term Supply Agreement with GCL-Poly

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

Wednesday September 30, 2009, 8:00 am EDT

CHANGZHOU, China, Sept. 30 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL; “Trina Solar” or the “Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced that it has extended its eight year long-term supply agreement with Jiangsu Zhongneng Polysilicon Technology Development Co. Ltd, a subsidiary of GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Limited (“GCL-Poly”) by another five years. Initial delivery of polysilicon to Trina Solar started in April 2008.

Under the adjusted terms of this agreement, the total consideration will remain unchanged from the combined total of the original and supplemental agreements signed in 2008, whereas additional polysilicon and wafer deliveries will be provided starting in 2016 for a five year period at pre-determined shipment volumes and prices. The agreement also contains a price adjustment clause that offers a market-linked price formula. GCL-Poly will supply the Company with high-quality polysilicon and wafers sufficient to produce approximately 8,500 MW of solar modules over 13 years. Wafer deliveries to commence in 2010 are expected to support production above the Company’s in-house integrated manufacturing capabilities to address growing customer demand.

“We are very pleased to strengthen our long-term relationship with GCL-Poly by further extending the tenure of the agreement,” said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar’s Chairman and CEO. “This extension will provide a stable source of high-quality materials as well as support our cost reduction initiatives to solidify our position as a high-quality global integrated PV manufacturer.”

“We are pleased to extend our business relationship with Trina Solar whom we value as a strategic long-term customer,” said Mr. Zhu Gong Shan, Executive Director, Chairman and CEO of GCL-Poly. “We look forward to continue delivering high-quality polysilicon and wafers on schedule through 2020.”

About GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Limited

GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Limited (SEHK: 3800 – News) is a world leading polysilicon manufacturer for the solar industry and a leading integrated green energy enterprise in China. Production capacity of GCL Solar, a subsidiary of the Group, is expected to reach 18,000 metric tonnes of polysilicon by the end of 2009, and 1 GW of solar wafers by mid 2010. In addition, the Group operates a total of 18 cogeneration power plants, 1 incineration power plant and 1 windpower plant. Most of these plants are located in Jiangsu and Zhejiang provinces with strong economic growth and robust demand for electricity and steam. All these plants are advocated and encouraged by Chinese government.

For more information about GCL-Poly, please visit the company’s website at http://www.gcl-poly.com.hk .

September 27, 2009

Solar analyst sees supply, other challenges-Barron’s

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR, STP, TSL, WFR, YGE — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 5:32 pm

Sun Sep 27, 2009 5:32pm EDT

NEW YORK, Sept 27 (Reuters) – Hapoalim Securities analyst Gordon Johnson, who accurately predicted a fall in solar stocks last year, said solar companies face excess supply and other challenges through 2010, according to Barron’s on Sunday.

The photovoltaic sector will see a supply of 7.1 gigawatts this year and about 10.8 GW the next, compared with demand of roughly 4.3 GW this year and some 6 GW in 2010, Johnson told the weekly business newspaper.

Manufacturers of crystalline polysilicon, which is used in some solar cells, could also face lower demand, even as plants that take three years to build come online, Johnson told Barron’s in an interview.

Johnson told the paper that polysilicon prices, now $50 per kilogram to $60 per kilogram, are likely to fall and might dip below the break-even level — $25 per kg to $28 per kg — which is bad news for producers like MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) and Wacker Chemie.

Johnson has a price target of $9 on MEMC. It closed at $17.29 on Friday on the New York Stock Exchange.

Johnson told Barron’s that solar companies have seen their stocks rise of late on expectations of demand from China this year and the next, but those hopes were overblown.

He downgraded one such company, China-based Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP), to “sell” this year because of accounting and other risks, according to Barron’s.

Suntech faces certain cost disadvantages compared with some rivals as Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd (YGE) and Trina Solar (TSL), Johnson said.

(more…)

September 22, 2009

A Power Surge for GT Solar?

Filed under: LDK, SOLR, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:27 pm

Some analysts think the stock is a giveaway, given GT Solar’s No. 1 place in the silicon solar equipment market, its hefty order backlog, and strong balance sheet

By Gene Marcial

Whenever the subject of solar energy comes up, analysts invariably express concerns about the challenges that confront the industry. Indeed, solar-related stocks are mostly trading below their 52-week highs, as the housing slump weakened demand for solar wafers or panels. And the financial crisis also restricted the flow of credit for housing and solar energy projects.

However, it may well be a good time for investors to catch some rays. Attractive opportunities could arise in selected solar companies as demand should come back with the economic recovery. Also benefiting the solar sector are the various tax breaks and low-interest loans the government is currently providing as part of salvaging the beleaguered housing industry.

One outfit some analysts consider undervalued, with perhaps one of the stronger balance sheets in the solar segment, is GT Solar International (SOLR), the world’s largest provider of specialized manufacturing equipment and services essential for the production of photovoltaic wafers, solar cells, modules, and polysilicon.

GT Solar went public on July 23, 2008, as the financial crisis and economic downturn were gathering steam. Its initial offering price was 16.50 a share, but the stock has wilted since, closing at 6 a share on Sept. 22.

At that price, some analysts say the stock is a giveaway.

High-quality Polysilicon Shortage

Analyst Theodore O’Neill of investment firm Kaufman Bros. says GT Solar is undervalued because it is still No. 1 in the silicon solar equipment market, with a hefty order backlog worth $1 billion.

“Shares of GT Solar trade on orders for new equipment and those orders are starting to go up,” says O’Neill, who rates the stock a buy with a 12-month target price of 9.

(more…)

September 21, 2009

4Q solar growth outlook driven by Germany-analyst

Filed under: FSLR, SOLF, SPWR, TSL — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 3:46 pm

Analyst attributes 4Q solar shipment growth outlook to German market, raises estimates

Monday September 21, 2009, 3:46 pm EDT

NEW YORK (AP) — Fourth-quarter solar shipments could rise from third-quarter levels, despite typical seasonal weakness, driven mainly by German shipments, said an analyst on Monday as he held to his ratings for First Solar Inc. (FSLR) and SunPower Corp. (SPWRA, SPWRB), while maintaining a “Neutral” rating for the sector.

Barclays analyst Vishal Shah said that overall German shipments could potentially reach between 2.5 gigawatts and 3.4 GW, up from his earlier expectations of about 2 GW.

Shah maintained his “Equal Weight” rating for First Solar Inc. and SunPower Corp. and said he expects their relative outperformance to continue into third-quarter earnings.

Shares of First Solar rose 54 cents to $156.69 in afternoon trading. SunPower shares fell 61 cents to $32.48.

Elsewhere in the sector Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd. (SOLF) shares rose 34 cents, or 5.3 percent, to $6.77. Trina Solar Ltd. (TSL) shares climbed $1.50, or 4.7 percent, to $32.94.

September 17, 2009

Solar: Analyst Sees Signs Of Demand Recovery

Filed under: CSIQ, STP, TSL, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 12:58 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

The clouds may be clearing for the solar sector.

Collins Stewart analyst Dan Ries writes this morning that “for the first time in nearly a year, channel checks point to a demand recovery in the solar market.” He says the recovery has been clear in Germany, the world’s largest solar market, accounting for an expected 36% of the global market in 2009. Ries adds that there has been improvement, as well, in Italy, France and the U.S. And he says that the new government in Japan is likely to “sharply increase” subsidies in that country starting in November.

According to Ries, “demand is exceeding expectations in Q3, a situation that should carry into Q4.”; He says multiple channel checks indicate that demand has been strong enough to create stock-out conditions for modules from multiple vendors in Germany, including those from Yingli Green Energy (YGE), Suntech (STP) and Trina Solar (TSL). Ries writes that there are “obvious positive implications” for the stocks from data suggesting demand has improved and is exceeding expectations set as recently as mid-August. He thinks module vendors will likely report strong Q3 results, with many topping guidance and Street estimates.

Ries is feeling especially upbeat about Canadian Solar (CSIQ), and today raised his rating on the stock to Buy from Hold, setting a price target of $21. He writes that the combination of a strengthening of demand, cost reduction moves and a relatively low valuation “gives us great comfort that CSIQ can outperform the market in the quarters ahead.”

In today’s trading:

* Yingli is up 7 cents, or 0.5%, to $13.95.
* Trina is off 21 cents, or 0.7%, to $31.26.
* Suntech is up 14 cents, or 0.8%, to $17.49.
* Canadian Solar is down 61 cents, or 3.5%, to $16.65.

September 15, 2009

China, U.S. to dominate solar market

Filed under: FSLR, SPWR, STP, TSL — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:00am EDT

By Nichola Groom

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – The United States and China are in a head-to-head race to become the world’s top market for solar power, and panel makers are wasting no time making plans to cash in on the growth promise of both markets despite the global recession.

At the Reuters Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit, Chinese and U.S. solar companies including Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP), SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB), Trina Solar Ltd (TSL) and BrightSource Energy Inc laid out plans to capture their share of what is expected to be explosive demand for solar-generated electricity in the world’s biggest and third biggest economies.

The U.S. and China lag far behind Europe in demand for solar power, but are expected to vault ahead in the next few years as both nation’s work to curb their emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

This year, Washington and Beijing have both rolled out programs aimed at stimulating their fledgling solar power industries and boosting growth in their economies. Together, they are expected to drive the building of at least 5 gigawatts (GW) of solar installations between 2009 and 2011, according to a recent report by investment firm CLSA.

Thanks to strong government incentives, Germany is the world’s biggest solar market and is expected to remain so until 2013, when the United States will become its equal. China will be slightly behind, according to research firm Lux Research.

In China, recently-enacted subsidies for utility-scale solar power projects has prompted a host of plans for solar power plants, including the announcement this week of the first major foray by a U.S. company into the Chinese solar sector by Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar Inc (FSLR).

That announcement, said several U.S. companies, opens the door for other non-Chinese companies to compete in that nation’s solar market.

(more…)

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…)

Trina Solar Announces Five-Year Project Loan Facility

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

Tuesday September 8, 2009, 6:00 am EDT

CHANGZHOU, China, Sept. 8 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL) (“Trina Solar” or the “Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic (PV) products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced that it has obtained a five-year syndicated loan facility to support its East Campus capacity expansion project.

The size of the loan facility is approximately $304 million, and the loan is denominated in both US dollars and Renminbi. The loan bears a floating interest rate consisting of a premium over LIBOR and the basic rate of the People’s Bank of China for the respective US dollar and Renminbi portions of the loan. The lenders consist of a syndicate of five domestic banks led by the Agricultural Bank of China and Bank of China, and the loan will be used to finance the Company’s 500 MW capacity expansion project to be completed over the next three years. The first drawdown is expected to occur in September 2009 in accordance with the schedule agreed upon with the lenders. The loan proceeds will be used to fund the Company’s capital expenditure targets for the second half of 2009 and will also be immediately used to repay related outstanding loans of approximately $80 million due on June 30, 2010.

“We are very pleased to finalize this important financing to drive this next important phase of our company’s advancement,” said Jifan Gao, Chairman and CEO of Trina Solar. “The syndicated loan facility combined with the proceeds from our recent follow-on offering will allow us to improve our long-term capital resources as we carry out our market-driven expansion plan and elevate our manufacturing technology platform.”

September 3, 2009

Trina Solar Launches “Center For Excellence” to Provide Testing and Quality Assurance Solutions

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

Thursday September 3, 2009, 8:30 am EDT

CHANGZHOU, China, Sept. 3 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Trina Solar Limited (TSL; “Trina Solar” or the “Company”), a leading integrated manufacturer of solar photovoltaic products from the production of ingots, wafers and cells to the assembly of PV modules, today announced that it has launched the “Trina Solar Center For Excellence” to ensure a high level of quality assurance and precision testing of its PV modules.

The Center For Excellence, located at Trina Solar’s headquarters in Changzhou, covers an area of approximately 7,200 square meters of indoor and outdoor testing space. The Center For Excellence supports a comprehensive range of tests including product certification processes, material reliability tests for module products, highly accelerated stress tests and material evaluation and research.

The Center is equipped with advanced testing equipment and is comparable to recognized world-class independent testing centers. Its advanced testing equipment includes a top-of-the-range impulse simulator, steady state simulator and state-of-the-art silicon material testing equipment. The center also houses chambers which can assess the effects of damp heat, thermal cycle, humidity freeze, thermal shock and UV exposure, to ensure the capability of Trina Solar’s modules to withstand prolonged exposure in extreme climate conditions. Equipment and testing procedures accord with the rigorous standards of UL1703, IEC61215 and IEC61730.

The operational features and scale of the Center allow Trina Solar to continuously perform in-house quality assessments which include a Highly Accelerated Stress Test (HAST) to evaluate modules and material performance after certifications are received from independent product certification organizations.

“The launch of the Center For Excellence reflects our commitment to producing the highest quality solar modules while ensuring excellent product performance over their lifetime,” said Jifan Gao, Trina Solar’s Chairman and CEO. “With the operation of a world-class testing center by our highly talented engineers, we can further accelerate the testing and the qualification of Trina Solar’s modules and bring the latest solar technology and enhancements to our customers.”

August 27, 2009

Solar stocks mixed on earnings news

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

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

Thursday August 27, 2009, 4:07 pm EDT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

August 25, 2009

Trina: Credit Suisse Launches With Outperform Rating

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

Posted by Eric Savitz
barrons.com

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

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

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

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

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