North Coast Solar Stocks

December 15, 2009

Yingli Green Energy Announces Major Business Milestones

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

Commences Trial Production and Reaches Certain Key Technology and Operating Milestones at In-house Polysilicon Manufacturing Facility
Hits 1 GW in Accumulated Output of PV Modules

6:00 am EST, Tuesday December 15, 2009

BAODING, China, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE) (“Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced that it has successfully commenced trial production and reached certain key technology and operating milestones at Fine Silicon Co., Ltd. (“Fine Silicon”), its in-house polysilicon manufacturing facility with an annual production capacity of 3,000 metric tons (“MT”). The Company also announced that its total output of PV modules has reached 1 GW since the Company began commercial production in 2002.

Commences Trial Production and Reaches Key Technology and Operating Milestones at In-house Polysilicon Manufacturing Facility

Yingli Green Energy announced its in-house polysilicon manufacturing facility, Fine Silicon, has commenced trial production and reached certain key technology and operating milestones. Designed to have an annual production capacity of 3,000 MT, the Baoding-based facility is expected to reach full production volume in late 2010. With state-of-the-art facilities and advanced monosilane-based polysilicon manufacturing technology, Fine Silicon is expected to be capable of producing high quality solar-grade and electronic-grade polysilicon through energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly manufacturing processes. Compared with the trichlorosilane (“TCS”)-based polysilicon manufacturing technology, the advantages of the technology that Fine Silicon has adopted include significant electricity savings and low environmental impact. Fine Silicon’s process utilizes no chlorides or TCS, and sulfate, its by-product, is easily treated.

“With Fine Silicon on-line, Yingli Green Energy will join a limited number of global PV manufacturers with fully vertically integrated business models covering the manufacturing process from polysilicon to PV modules,” Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy, commented. “As one of the world’s leading vertically integrated PV product manufacturers we look forward to further improving our cost structure, enhancing our operating performance and increasing our flexibility as we expand our global footprint.”

Mr. Miao also noted that Yingli Green Energy completed the construction of Fine Silicon in less than two years.

Accumulated Output of PV Modules Hits 1 GW

Yingli Green Energy also announced that since the Company began commercial production in 2002, it has produced a total of 1 GW of PV modules under the “Yingli Solar” brand.

Through a series of expansions, the Company has increased its annual production capacity for each of polysilicon ingots and wafers, PV cells and PV modules to 600 MW as of September 2009, up from an initial 3 MW in 2002. Annual shipments of PV modules increased from 4.7 MW in 2004 to 282 MW in 2008, and are expected to be between 490 MW and 500 MW for 2009, resulting from high product quality, extensive international sales channels and a well-recognized brand. In total, 1 GW of PV modules has an annual power output of over 1 billion kilowatt hours, which corresponds to displacement of approximately 1,000,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. In addition, Yingli Green Energy has created nearly 6,000 jobs across various areas of its business.

Mr. Miao noted that as shipment volume of “Yingli Solar” PV modules keeps growing, Yingli Green Energy’s PV technology has made significant advances, and the technical improvements resulting from the Company’s research and development efforts have been instrumental in significantly reducing its manufacturing costs and improving the performance of its products.

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Yingli Green Energy to Supply 130 MW of PV Modules to IBC SOLAR AG in 2010

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

6:00 am EST, Tuesday December 15, 2009

BAODING, China, Dec. 15 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE) (“Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced it has signed a sales agreement (“the agreement”) with IBC SOLAR AG (“IBC SOLAR”), one of the leading specialists in PV systems worldwide. Under the terms of the agreement, Yingli Green Energy has agreed to supply 130 MW of PV modules to IBC SOLAR from the first quarter through the fourth quarter of 2010.

“We are pleased to announce the largest contract in the history of Yingli Green Energy’s cooperation with IBC SOLAR, which is a testament to the strength of the relationships we maintain with our customers,” said Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “This cooperation with IBC SOLAR, one of the world’s largest suppliers of ready-to-use PV systems and all of the individual components for producing solar electricity, will further enhance our representation in major solar markets worldwide. In addition, this agreement represents our ongoing commitment to work with our customers to make it possible for clean, green and renewable energy from the sun to power businesses, homes and machines throughout the world.”

Mr. Miao noted that the agreement with IBC SOLAR also provides additional visibility into Yingli Green Energy’s expected sales for 2010.

Mr. Udo Mohrstedt, Chief Executive Officer of IBC SOLAR, commented, “We have always held that it is important for leading solar players to work together in order to supply our customers all over the world with state-of-the-art PV systems, so undoubtedly we are very confident to bring our cooperation with Yingli Green Energy to the next level.”

About IBC SOLAR AG

IBC SOLAR AG, founded in 1982, is a leading global photovoltaic integrator, offering complete solutions for power production from solar energy. The firm covers the entire spectrum, from planning to the turnkey handover of photovoltaic installations. Globally, IBC SOLAR has already implemented more than 100,000 turnkey photovoltaic systems with a total power output of 800 megawatt (MWp). IBC SOLAR is represented around the globe by several affiliates and currently employs around 300 employees, of which 210 are in Germany. The international business group IBC SOLAR is directed from its headquarters in Bad Staffelstein. For more information, please visit http://www.ibc-solar.com .

December 7, 2009

Yingli Green Energy to Supply 51 MW of PV Modules to Payom Solar AG in 2010

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , — Jason @ 4:05 am

4:05 am EST, Monday December 7, 2009

BAODING, China, Dec. 7 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE; “Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced it has signed a sales agreement (“the Agreement”) with Payom Solar AG, a leading PV rooftop system specialist based in Germany. Under the terms of the Agreement, Yingli Green Energy is expected to supply 51 MW of PV modules to Payom from the first quarter through the fourth quarter of 2010.

“This agreement extends the successful cooperation with Payom that we have enjoyed over a number of years, and also provides more visibility into the demand in major PV markets and our customer portfolio for 2010,” said Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “Thanks to our strong track record, which we have built on our high quality products, excellent after-sales service and continuous brand promotion efforts, our “Yingli Solar” branded modules are recognized as bankable, reliable products by customers, investors and commercial banks in major PV markets. We are committed to sustaining our customers’ loyalty and confidence by continuing to deliver reliable products and run an ethical, socially responsible business.”

Mr. Jorg Truelsen, Chief Executive Officer of Payom Solar AG, commented, “We have had many good experiences during our years of partnership with Yingli Green Energy, whose high quality products have helped us consistently deliver great solutions to our customers. This 51 MW sales contract is the largest PV module purchase agreement in our history, and demonstrates our confidence both in Yingli Green Energy and in the market outlook for 2010. We expect to continue our solid growth in the coming year with the help of Yingli Green Energy’s reputable, reliable products, which we believe will enable us to generate additional value for our customers.”

About Payom Solar AG

Payom Solar AG is a system supplier of solar equipment, independent of any manufacturer. The company plans, installs and sells in-roof and on-roof solar-energy systems, from home equipment to major industrial plants, and hands them over, ready to use, to institutional or private investors and operators.

December 3, 2009

Yingli Green Energy Receives Social Accountability System SA 8000 Certification

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 5:57 am

5:57 am EST, Thursday December 3, 2009

BAODING, China, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE; “Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced it has received the Social Accountability System SA 8000 certification for its design, manufacture, selling and supply of PV modules and systems and the manufacture of upstream products, including polysilicon, ingots, wafers and cells.

“As a leading global PV manufacturer, Yingli Green Energy has long been dedicated to a vision of a world with clean, renewable energy,” said Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “In pursuing this vision we strive to create a healthy, safe and supportive working environment for all of our employees. We are very pleased to receive the SA 8000 certification, which serves as a testament to our ongoing commitment to social responsibility.”

SA8000, created in 1997 by Social Accountability International (SAI), is an international standardized code of conduct for improving working conditions around the world. Based on the principles of thirteen international human rights conventions and developed through a multi-stakeholder process, SA8000 is a tool to help apply these norms to practical work-life situations. SA8000 contains eight core elements including health and safety, working hours, child labor, forced labor, discrimination, freedom of association and collective bargaining, wages, and discipline. The management system requirements of SA8000 move beyond a checklist approach, encouraging managers to make sustainable systemic changes in how they run their businesses.

December 2, 2009

SunPower to pick site for U.S. plant by early 2010

Filed under: SPWR, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 7:21 pm

Wed Dec 2, 2009 7:21pm EST

* SunPower to choose site by early 2010

* Co’s CEO says California, Arizona, Florida top choices

SAN JOSE, California, Dec 2 (Reuters) – Solar power company SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB) is close to finalizing a site for its U.S. manufacturing plant and expects to make a decision by early 2010, the company’s chief executive said on Wednesday.

California, Arizona and Florida are top contenders for the plant’s location, SunPower Chief Executive Officer Tom Werner told Reuters in an interview on the sidelines at a gathering of Silicon Valley executives.

“We have not made a decision yet,” Werner said.

The San Jose, California-based company plans to make up to a quarter of its solar panels in the United States beginning in about a year and is seeking federal funds for the site.

Previously, Werner said that New Mexico and Texas were also on the list of possible locations.

SunPower and other solar panel makers expect U.S. demand for solar power to flourish in the coming years despite the recent financial crisis that has hampered development of renewable energy projects in the last year.

Chinese solar power heavyweight Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) recently picked Arizona as the site for its first U.S. panel assembly plant while Chinese panel maker Yingli Green Energy Holding Co (YGE) also plans to open a U.S. manufacturing site.

Shares of SunPower closed down 0.4 percent at $21.53 on Wednesday in Nasdaq trading.

(Reporting by Poornima Gupta; Writing by Laura Isensee; Editing by Christian Wiessner)

November 25, 2009

Yingli Green Energy Receives Multiple Business Awards

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 6:13 am

6:13 am EST, Wednesday November 25, 2009

BAODING, China, Nov. 25 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE; “Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced that it has recently received awards recognizing the Company’s growth, business prospects and competitiveness from Deloitte, The Asset magazine and the Institute of Industrial Economics of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

“These awards are recognition of our leading position in the fast growing China market,” Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy, commented. “2009 has been another remarkable year for us. During the year, we successfully expanded our annual capacity to 600 MW, continued to increase our market share in established markets and raise recognition in emerging markets as well as achieved substantial progress on Project PANDA and the construction of Fine Silicon, our own polysilicon manufacturing plant. We expect to deliver continued growth and innovation in the years to come.”

Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China

Yingli Green Energy has been ranked by Deloitte among its “Technology Fast 50 China” companies for the second time since 2007. The Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China program ranks leading companies in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors based on their average revenue growth rates over the last three years. Winners of the Deloitte Technology Fast 50 China program will automatically qualify for the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific Program, which is regarded as one of the most established and objective ranking programs of fast growing technology companies in the Asia Pacific Region, with results to be announced in December 2009.

The Asset China’s Most Promising Companies 2009

The Company has been named one of the most promising companies in the energy sector as part of The Asset China’s Most Promising Companies 2009 award by The Asset magazine, an Asia-based financial publication delivering authoritative coverage and independent research of Asia’s financial industry. The winners are selected from 300 China-based companies listed on stock exchanges worldwide by investment professionals and research analysts.

The Institute of Industrial Economics of CASS – 2009 Top 10 Most Competitive Overseas Listed Companies of China

The Company has been ranked among “2009 Top 10 Most Competitive Overseas Listed Companies of China” by the Institute of Industrial Economics, a branch of The Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (“CASS”) and China Business, one of the leading economic and management newspapers in China. The Top 10 companies were selected from China-based overseas listed companies based on management capabilities, brand recognition and financial strength.

November 24, 2009

Yingli Slips As Broadpoint Downgrades

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 10:58 am

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Yingli Green Energy (YGE) Shares are trading lower this morning after Broadpoint.Amtech analyst John Hardy cut his rating on the stock to Neutral from Buy.

Hardy says a beat-and-raise solar earnings season is now finished; with “big guidance for Q1,” he writes, the risk is now that the 2010 first half will disappoint.

In particular, he sees risks for Yingli as it gets ready to turn on significant polysilicon manufacturing capacity. “With commercial production expected to begin in Q4, we believe this will likely become an even bigger focus for investors,” he writes. Hardy notes that early cost targets are in line current spot poly pricing at $60/kg, creating risks to margins in the early stages of the project.

Hardy also says that the company’s balance sheet “remains an eyesore,” with $389 million in cash against $820 million in debt. But the stock nonetheless trades in line with other solar companies at about 17.5x 2010. He says paying more than 15x-16x is not warranted ahead of the poly ramp.

“Despite our view that the industry will enjoy a strong [2010 first half] and that YGE will benefit through volumes and firming ASPs, we do not see the risk/reward as favorable ahead of significant poly
manufacturing ramp coupled with current state of the balance sheet,” he writes.

YGE today is down 57 cents, or 4.1%, to $13.29.

November 17, 2009

Yingli Green Energy Announces the Attainment of TUV Rheinland ‘Power Controlled’ Certification at its 2009 Annual Global Customer Conference

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 7:22 am

7:22 am EST, Tuesday November 17, 2009

BAODING, China, Nov. 17 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE; “Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced that its “Yingli Solar” brand modules have attained the “Power Controlled” certification from TUV Rheinland Group (“TUV Rheinland”), a leading global service provider in the testing of photovoltaic modules and components, at its 2009 Annual Global Customer Conference which kicked off today in Baoding. Present at the conference were more than 300 customers, business partners, PV association representatives and selected journalists.

“Power Controlled” certification provides independent verification and assurance that the real rated power of Yingli Solar brand modules lies within the specified tolerance as stated in the Company’s datasheets. The certification reduces risk and uncertainty in the real power installed in PV systems and therefore further reduces financial return risk for investors. The Company believes the attainment of this certification further reinforces the bankability of its “Yingli Solar” brand modules.

“We are pleased to be among the first companies to receive ‘Power Controlled’ certification,” Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and CEO of Yingli Green Energy, commented. “At Yingli Green Energy we are focused on continuously improving our product quality, and we strive to underpin our innovations with certifications from leading independent third parties. With the ‘Power Controlled’ certification we can offer our customers and investors an additional level of assurance that our modules deliver the power that we promise, and by reducing the uncertainty in PV system performance we are helping lay the foundation for grid-parity PV solutions in the future.”

Willi Vaassen, TUV Rheinland Business Field Manager of Renewable Energy, commented, “We are pleased that Yingli Green Energy is one of the first recipients of the ‘Power Controlled’ certification, which we have designed to drive the development of a reliable power rating system for PV modules. As the leading global service provider in the testing of photovoltaic modules and components, we are committed to boosting market access and reducing investment risk for PV systems around the world through rolling this program out to leading global PV-module manufacturers.”

TUV Rheinland “Power Controlled” certification includes periodic third-party assessment of Yingli Green Energy’s pulsed solar simulators, measurement procedures, maintenance and calibration intervals and power output verification testing of PV modules through random sampling and evaluation of flash-test data from the production line. The measurement procedures and calibration are traceable to the highest standards of World PV Scale (WPVS).

About TUV Rheinland Group

TUV Rheinland is a leading group for the provision of technical services worldwide. It has over 490 locations in 61 countries on all five continents. TUV Rheinland is over 130 years old and its headquarters are in Cologne, Germany. As the leading global service provider in the testing of Photovoltaic modules and components, TUV Rheinland Group tests and provides certification of about 70% of PV products worldwide. We have more than 100 PV-experts worldwide with up to 25 years of expertise in the PV field.

November 16, 2009

Solar Stocks Rally As Yingli Forecasts Stable Pricing

Filed under: CSIQ, ESLR, FSLR, LDK, SPWR, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 3:37 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Solar stocks are flying today after some bullish comments Friday on pricing in the solar sector by Yingli Green Energy (YGE) CFO Bryan Li on the company’s Q3 conference call on Friday. Li said he expects Q4 average solar products pricing to be flat to down slightly in Q4 from Q3, with flat to up pricing in Q1 of next year.

Merrill Lynch/Bank of America analyst Lu Yeung wrote in a Friday research note that the ASP forecast “bodes well for the broader industry group.”

Barclays Capital Vishal Shah likewise noted in a report today that the comments from YGE management suggest that “the price war in the solar industry may be temporarily over.” He added that while weather, Germain feed-in-tariff reductions and development of non-German markets will be important in how 2010 plays out, “YGE’s comments increase the prospects of potential upward earnings revisions for the sector in the near term.”

Janney Capital Markets analyst John Roy today upped his rating on on YGE to Buy from Neutral, “as the outlook for pricing and thus margins have improved.” He contends that “Yingli is a major price setter, and they are guiding to a more benign pricing environment in 2010.” He adds that “there is other evidence that prices are beginning to stabilize,” and that the trend should continue.

Ergo, most solar stocks are sharply higher:

* Suntech (STP) is up $1.75, or 12.8%, to $15.47.
* Sunpower (SPWRA) is up 63 cents, or 2.4%, to $27.05.
* Canadian Solar (CSIQ) is up 74 cents, or 4%, to $19.19.
* Yingli is up 54 cents, or 4%, to $13.99.
* First Solar (FSLR) is up $4.74, or 4%, to $123.04.
* Evergreen Solar (ESLR) is up 8 cents, or 5.4%, to $1.56.
* LDK Solar (LDK) is up 58 cents, or 9.1%, to $6.97.

Suntech hopes Arizona plant to ease US job worries

Filed under: STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 3:03 pm

Mon Nov 16, 2009 3:03pm EST

* Plant to start at 30 MW in third quarter of 2010

* Co expects to keep same margins for U.S.-made panels

* Co hopes new plant will ease worries on green jobs

By Laura Isensee

LOS ANGELES, Nov 16 (Reuters) – Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP), China’s largest solar panel maker, hopes its first U.S. manufacturing plant in Arizona will ease worries that China may be taking green jobs from the United States, an executive said on Monday.

Suntech said on Sunday that it picked Arizona as the site for its U.S. panel assembly facility, which will use solar cells shipped from China.

Shares of Suntech, which is set to report quarterly results on Thursday, were up nearly 13 percent at $15.47 in trading on Monday on the New York Stock Exchange.

“This is truly an international marketplace, especially when you’re talking about solar. It always has been. It makes a very positive statement — here’s a Chinese solar company that’s literally exporting jobs from China to the U.S.,” said Roger Efird, managing director of Suntech.

“We’re hoping that this kind of action helps to alleviate the worries that some people have about alternative energy jobs moving overseas,” Efird said.

Suntech plans to open its new plant in the third quarter of 2010 with an initial capacity of 30 megawatts and a staff of 75 people. The plant is part of its long-term strategy for the United States, which the company expects to be its biggest market in three years.

Piper Jaffray analyst Jesse Pichel said that Suntech’s plans for U.S. manufacturing are primarily political for now but could pay off economically in the future.

“If you want to be a global player, you have to have global production to meet local market demand,” Pichel said.

“In the future if the U.S. can be the size of the German market, then putting (manufacturing) in the States will have some economic benefit. But clearly right now, it’s a political move. Everyone wants jobs,” Pichel said.

He noted that federal buildings may require U.S.-made solar panels. “Given that Suntech uses a lot of silicon made in Texas and with module assembly in Arizona, they would be as ‘Made in the USA’ as anybody,” Pichel said.

(more…)

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

Solar panel supply glut past peak – research

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:51 pm

Fri Nov 13, 2009 3:51pm EST

* Supply of panels to exceed demand by 66 pct in 2009

* Previous forecast in August was nearly 92 pct

* Strong demand in Germany eating up excess supply

LOS ANGELES, Nov 13 (Reuters) – The global glut of solar panels that has overwhelmed the industry for much of 2009 is past its peak as strong demand from Germany, the world’s largest solar market, eats up extra supply, according to a report issued on Friday by industry research firm iSuppli.

Solar panels have piled up and prices have tumbled this year since the financial crisis and pullbacks in government incentives in Spain triggered a drop in demand.

The research group previously forecast the oversupply of panels to last through 2010, but said it estimates the glut could be resolved next year.

“Solar-panel installations in Germany began surging to record levels in July as prices for photovoltaic systems plunged,” said Henning Wicht, senior director of photovoltaics research for iSuppli, in a statement.

“This phenomenon has boosted the global solar panel business and mitigated the severe oversupply situation that has stung the industry throughout this year.”

The global supply of solar panels is expected to exceed demand by nearly 66 percent in 2009, down from the previous forecast in August of about 92 percent overage, iSuppli said.

The report echoes some positive forecasts given by solar power companies that have reported financial results recently.

Chinese solar panel maker Yingli Green Energy Holding Co Ltd (YGE) posted better-than-expected quarterly profit on Friday and said that demand in Europe is outstripping supply.

European renewable energy companies — such as Germany’s Q-Cells AG, one of the world’s largest solar cell makers — sounded upbeat for 2010 as cost cuts and an expected pickup in demand helped lift profits after a difficult year.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee)

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)

Yingli Green Energy Reports Third Quarter 2009 Results

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 4:07 am

Shipment Volume Reached Record High and Increased More Than 80% Quarter over Quarter
Income from Operations Increased 127% Quarter over Quarter
Non-GAAP EPS Increased to RMB 1.20 from RMB 0.91 Quarter over Quarter

4:07 am EST, Friday November 13, 2009

BAODING, China, Nov. 13 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (YGE; “Yingli Green Energy” or the “Company”), one of the world’s leading vertically integrated photovoltaic (“PV”) product manufacturers, today announced its unaudited consolidated financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2009.

Third Quarter 2009 Consolidated Financial and Operating Highlights
— Total net revenues were RMB 2,225.2 million (US$326.0 million) and PV module shipment volume increased more than 80% quarter over quarter.
— Gross profit was RMB 447.6 million (US$65.6 million), with a gross margin of 20.1%.
— Operating income was RMB 242.8 million (US$35.6 million), with an operating margin of 10.9 %.
— Net income(1) was RMB 120.8 million (US$17.7 million) and diluted earnings per ordinary share and per American depositary share (“ADS”) was RMB 0.79 (US$0.12).
— On an adjusted Non-GAAP(2) basis, net income was RMB 184.2 million (US$27.0 million) and diluted earnings per ordinary share and per ADS was RMB 1.20 (US$0.18).

“I am pleased to announce strong results for the third quarter, with record highs in shipment volume and net revenues and healthy growth in net income,” said Mr. Liansheng Miao, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Yingli Green Energy. “The main driving force for these results was increased market demand for our ‘Yingli Solar’ brand products as the solar project financing environment continued to improve and as we began to see the benefits of our recently implemented competitive pricing strategy, which leverages our favorable cost structure. Additionally, our continuous focus on high quality products and customer service enabled us to continue to expand our market share and raise recognition of our products in both established and emerging solar markets during the quarter, which we expect will help drive growth in the quarters to come.”

“I am also very pleased to report that our gross margin continued to increase, reaching 20.1% in the third quarter from 18.3% in the second quarter of 2009 and 15.3% in the first quarter of 2009, underlining our ability to improve profitability by reducing both polysilicon and processing costs while achieving significant shipment volume growth,” Mr. Miao continued.

(more…)

October 26, 2009

Solar Stocks Ready For A Big Move

Filed under: ENER, FSLR, SPWR, TAN, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:19 pm

Posted: Oct 26, 2009 16:19 PM by Joey Fundora

The solar stocks continue to be one of the more volatile groups in the markets. Traders often fear high levels of volatility, but if these are properly planned for, volatile stocks can offer outstanding trading opportunities. The solar stocks have been in a large range over the past year, and many of these stocks actually set their lows in November rather than March. This group has often been cited by the current administration as a focal point in helping to reduce the U.S. dependence on oil-rich countries, and while it has threatened to fall apart several times, it has continually found a floor.

This group is once again under pressure as a poor earnings report from SunPower Corporation (SPWRA, SPWRB) kicked off this earnings season, as the markets reacted poorly to the company’s guidance number. While this stock individually came under pressure, as a group there wasn’t major technical damage done. In looking at the Claymore/MAV Global Solar Energy Index ETF (TAN), which can be used as a proxy for the sector, you can see that TAN held up last week, despite the weak report by SPWRA. In looking at the chart, there is an interesting pattern developing. Overall, TAN remains in a trading range, but it was able to clear a descending wedge in September, and is currently trading in a small symmetrical triangle. Both of these patterns are simply consolidation patterns, but with TAN clearing the first to the upside, it may hint at a break to the upside from the second pattern as well. The descending trendline touching the last two price highs should be watched as a level of importance.

Source: StockCharts.com

The largest component in TAN is First Solar, Inc. (FSLR). With FSLR reporting on Wednesday, it could be the catalyst for a move in either direction for the group. The company’s last earnings report was met with steep selling, as FSLR pulled back from $176.05 to $112.09 in a few weeks’ time. FSLR did stabilize, and rallied back to a declining trendline, marking the tops of prior rally attempts. It recently cleared this trendline, and it continues to trade in a tighter consolidation leading into the earnings report. More than likely, FSLR will have a large move this week, but with earnings coming out, which direction it’s headed is anyone’s guess. However, this stock will likely impact the entire sector, so it is worth watching to help gauge the direction for the next quarter.

Source: StockCharts.com

Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ENER) is another solar that has been showing weakness for a few months, but recently cleared a declining trendline that halted recent rally attempts. It just cleared this area, and has been experiencing an uptick in volume. Earnings are not due until November, so this is a stock that could benefit from a positive FSLR report. A move above $13.62 could signal a test of $14.21 and possibly a test of the 200-day moving average near $16.

Source: StockCharts.com

Another stock worth watching is Yingli Green Energy (YGE). This stock has shown relative strength compared to its peers, and has been in a consolidation pattern for a few months. It’s currently looking a little weak, and is resting on its 50-day moving average, but if it can get back over $13.85 it could be ready for a test of the June high near $16.35.

Source: StockCharts.com

Bottom Line
The solar stocks could really go in either direction at this point, but they are worth watching with FSLR reporting this week. They often set the trend for this group, and there could be some great trading opportunities setting up. The levels noted in the charts above are starting points for watching the action objectively. Regardless of the headline news or numbers, the important thing to watch is what the stock price does moving forward. If any of these stocks starts to climb above key levels, there is a good chance they can experience a sharp rally. If they start to lose these levels, the opposite would hold true. With volatile groups like these, it’s worth watching regardless of which direction the move goes.

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 13, 2009

Solar Stocks Slide On Worries Over German Subsidies

Filed under: CSIQ, ENER, ESLR, FSLR, SPWR, STP, WFR, YGE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 2:23 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Uh-oh.

For years, Germany has been by the far the world’s largest solar market, thanks to an extremely lucrative feed-in-tariff program. But the cost of the program has become a political issue in Germany recently. And now a spokesman for the ruling Christian Democrats has warned that the government intends to reduce incentives for generating solar power as early as next year.

According to Bloomberg, Joachim Pfeiffer, the “energy spokesman” for the party, noted that there has been a massive increase in solar capacity in the country, at a time when solar-power panel prices have plummeted. “We will review the overall renewable energy law in 2011 but will undertake reductions in solar subsidies taking effect as soon as next year,” Pfeiffer said. Solar panel owners are paid as much as 43 Euro cents per kilowatt hour of power generated; Bloomberg says, while consumers in Germany generally pay about 20 euro cents per KwH.

In a research note this morning, Citigroup analyst Timothy Arcuri notes that the government’s stance is “decidedly more negative” than original expectations.

Arcuri says the news could be a temporary positive, pulling some solar projects forward to avoid missing the window on the current FIT structure. But longer term, it clearly is not good news.

Arcuri says that of the companies he covers, First Solar (FSLR) has the most exposure, with about 70% of sales in Germany; SunPower (SPWRA, SPWRB) has about 20% exposure. Arcuri writes that he continues to expect 2010 to be a year of “profitless prosperity” for the solar sector, “in which profits contracts even in a year of more significant demand growth.”

Among the solar stocks:

* First Solar is down $3.40, or 2.1%, to $156.60.
* SunPower is down 27 cents, or 0.8%, to $32.55.
* SunTech (STP) is down 63 cents, or 4%, to $15.18.
* Yingli Green Energy (YGE) is down 31 cents, or 2.3%, to $13.29.
* Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) is down 73 cents, or 5.8%, to $11.79.
* Canadian Solar (CSIQ) is down 48 cents, or 2.6%, to $17.57.
* MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) is down 75 cents, or 4.6%, to $15.69.
* Evergreen Solar (ESLR) is down a penny at $1.81.

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…)

Wind, solar execs eye U.S., China for growth

Filed under: YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:21 am

Thu Oct 1, 2009 11:21am EDT

By Gerard Wynn and Victoria Bryan

LONDON, Oct 1 (Reuters) – U.S. and China markets are driving recovery in the global clean energy industry, after a sharp fall in investment this year, but uncertainty over government support is clouding the 2010 outlook.

“There are many uncertainties for 2010 but prices seem to be stabilizing in this half,” Aleo Solar Chief Financial Officer Uwe Boegershausen told a Jefferies clean-tech conference in London.

He sees opportunities for the United States and China but acknowledges that the German election could mean cuts to solar electricity price support — called feed-in tariffs — in the world’s biggest solar market.

“The new government is definitely more supportive of nuclear and there are clear signals they will adjust the feed-in tariff,” he said.

Analysts said the main risk for the solar industry was a price war, sparked by Chinese producers such as Yingli Green Energy (YGE), obliterating the margins of higher-cost German producers.

“The optimistic part is that European pricing is holding up,” said Jefferies analyst Michael McNamara, adding that some European producers were comfortably selling out through 2009 at 2 euros ($2.91) per watt peak or more, compared with some Chinese company plans for a year-end price of 1.3 euros.

“The cautious part is that there is no price visibility for 2010,” he added.

The United States and China also offer opportunities for wind energy, the most mature market of the renewables sector.

Iberdrola Renovables, the world’s biggest operator of wind power assets, said it will spend more than half all its capital expenditure through 2012 developing its U.S. business.

China will be the world’s biggest wind market this year, with 10 gigawatts (GW) new installed power, followed by Europe and the United States, said Bernard Schaeferbarthold, chief financial officer of turbine manufacturer Nordex AG.

The emerging British offshore wind market will also be a big opportunity from 2013 — “We want to be there, it will be the next phase in developing wind energy, Iberdrola Renovables Chief Financial Officer Jose Angel Marra told Reuters.

McNamara said threats to the sector generally centered on long-term incentives, such as a possible “paralysis” of a U.S. bill which aims to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 20 percent by 2020 from 2005 levels.

“In the United States we’re seeing lots of signs things are picking up but not big turbine orders yet,” he added.

(Editing by David Cowell)

($1=.6863 Euro)

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 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 24, 2009

Solar Power: Finally, A Reason to Invest Says HSBC

Filed under: LDK, STP, YGE — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:07 pm

By Keith Johnson

After being relentlessly negative about the solar industry since the summer of 2008, investment bank HSBC is starting to warm up to the sector again.

A ray of hope

The upshot: The worst of the solar sector’s woes may be behind us. That doesn’t mean the good times are here yet—but it does open the door to selective investments in companies that can weather the three years of so of storms that still lie ahead, the bank says in a new report.

The thesis of “Global Solar Power: Solar Eclipsed?” is straightforward: The supply glut that has plagued the sector all year will persist until 2012. That will keep pushing prices down—bad news for corporate profits, good news for the sector as a whole as it becomes more competitive with traditional sources of power generation.

HSBC’s winners include Yingli Green Power (YGE), Sharp, Solar World, and REC. The bank doesn’t care as much for Suntech Power (STP) and LDK (LDK), among many others.

What’s really interesting about HSBC’s new report is how solar power stacks up today against other ways of generating electricity—it doesn’t. That is, all the other power-generation technologies are in roughly the same neighborhood, even wind power—but not solar.

For instance, HSBC estimates costs per megawatt for different options: Combined-cycle gas, 43 euros; regular coal, 62 euros; onshore wind, 58 euros; nuclear power, 48 euros; geothermal, 43 euros. Photovoltaic solar power costs 290 euros per megawatt; concentrated solar power 181 euros.

Or put another way: What price would oil or gas have to be for each technology to be break-even without subsidies, using combined-cycle gas turbines as the low-cost yardstick?

Geothermal is the cheapest: It is competitive with natural gas at $5.16 per million BTUs or oil at $57 a barrel. Nuclear power breaks even at $6.26 and $69.

Traditional, onshore wind power breaks even with gas at $8.33 or oil at $92. Offshore wind still needs a push: It requires gas at $17.14 or oil at $189.

In contrast, solar thermal needs to see natural gas at $35.66 or oil at $393. And good old photovoltaic solar, like the kind on rooftops? Natural gas needs to be at $59.61 or oil at $657 a barrel.

Quick reality check: Gas today is at $3.93 and oil is at $66.

That’s not to say there’s no hope for solar power. There’s always the government.

Thanks to price supports, HSBC expects solar power to reach retail “grid parity” in some places—California and New York—as soon as next year. That means solar power will generate electricity that’s competitive with what you pay on your bill every month. It will take another five years or so for solar to reach wholesale grid parity—when it becomes a no-brainer investment for big utilities.

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…)

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