North Coast Solar Stocks

December 14, 2009

JA Solar gives sunny forecast for 4th quarter 2010

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

Mon Dec 14, 2009 7:47pm EST

* Shipments in 4th quarter to exceed 210 megawatts

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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JA Solar Announces Share Repurchase Program

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

7:05 pm EST, Monday December 14, 2009

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

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

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

December 10, 2009

Trony pulls IPO

Filed under: STRI, TRO — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 5:08 pm

Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:08pm EST

* Trony Solar IPO postponed indefinitely — underwriter

By Clare Baldwin

NEW YORK, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Chinese thin film solar company Trony Solar Holdings Co Ltd (TRO) postponed indefinitely its IPO due to weak market conditions, an underwriter said.

“Most liquidity is gone for new names. Books are just closed,” said Morningnotes.com founder Ben Holmes.

Holmes said year-end initial offerings often struggle.

A CROWDED MARKET

Shenzhen, China-based Trony Solar posted increased revenue and profits compared with a year ago, but likely postponed its offering amid concerns about future profit growth, analysts said. The offering would have been worth about $241.5 million, according to a regulatory filing.

Despite signs of a pickup in the industry, solar companies trying to go public are still struggling.

In November, Connecticut-based STR Holdings Inc (STRI), which makes products to hold solar modules together and protect them, priced below an already-reduced expected range. And last week Danish wind and solar park developer Scan Energy 18SE.DE canceled its IPO on weak demand from investors.

Chinese solar manufacturers typically have lower production costs, but tough competition in the sector and sluggish sales for the renewable energy systems outside China likely hurt the launch, said IPO Boutique senior managing partner Scott Sweet.

“The playing field is getting extremely crowded,” Sweet said. “Overseas, the sales have been light and some of the subsidies for solar have been pulled.”

Solar companies have struggled this year as prices for their cells and panels have fallen by half because of oversupply in the market. But demand has begun to pick up, raising hopes the industry will resume its steep growth path in 2010.

Simmons and Co analyst Burt Chao said Trony may benefit by waiting.

“It seems like most people are getting pretty excited about solar headed into the first half of next year. It would behoove management teams to wait a little bit for that to materialize to get a little bit of the upswing and the momentum,” Chao said.

JPMorgan Special Situations (Mauritius) Ltd and Intel Capital Corp, which currently own a combined 11.9 percent of the company, had each planned to sell half of their shares. Underwriters were led by J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse.

Three more IPOs are set to price on Thursday evening, including China-based Concord Medical Services Holdings Ltd, Ellington Financial LLC and KAR Auction Services Inc.

(Additional reporting by Steve Eder, Matt Daily and Laura Isensee; editing by Phil Berlowitz and Andre Grenon)

Rumor Revived: AMAT To Buy ENER? Still Doubtful

Filed under: AMAT, ENER — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:00 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Energy Conversion Devices (ENER) shares are trading higher on the dusty old rumor that the solar company could be a target for Applied Materials (AMAT). Both Briefing.com and TheFlyOnTheWall today noted that rumors have lifted ENER shares. The rumor seems to pop up once a month or so; it gave the stock a lift in September, and again in October. And today it is back, in all its illogical glory.

Why would Applied want to do such a thing? ENER lately has been a fount of rotten news, posting rotten earnings, resulting in analyst downgrades and triggering large layoffs. Meanwhile AMAT shares have been pressured by the weak performance of its solar operations; instead, it has been beefing up its semi business. Double-down on solar? That seems unlikely.

So, does this rumor make any sense? Nope.

ENER today is up 43 cents, or 4.1%, to $10.96.

Trony Solar IPO shelves indefinitely-underwriter

Filed under: STRI, TRO — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 11:01 am

Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:01am EST

* Company has no new timetable for launching IPO

* IPO was expected to price in $9-$11 range

By Clare Baldwin

NEW YORK, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Chinese thin film solar company Trony Solar Holdings Co Ltd has postponed its initial public offering indefinitely due to weak market conditions, an underwriter said on Thursday.

The Shenzhen, China-based company had expected shares to sell for between $9 and $11 apiece, according to its most recent prospectus.

There is no new timetable for the launch of the shares, which were to have traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “TRO.”

Solar companies have struggled this year as prices for their cells and panels have fallen by half because of an oversupply in the market. But demand has begun to pick up, raising hopes the industry will resume its steep growth path in 2010.

Despite the pickup, solar companies trying to go public are still struggling. In November, Connecticut-based STR Holdings Inc (STRI), which provides encapsulants that protect a solar module’s semiconductor circuit, priced below an already-reduced expected range.

Chinese solar manufacturers typically have lower production costs, but tough competition in the sector and sluggish sales for the renewable energy systems outside China likely hurt the launch, said IPO Boutique senior managing partner Scott Sweet.

“The playing field is getting extremely crowded,” Sweet said. “Overseas, the sales have been light and some of the subsidies for solar have been pulled.”

Trony Solar reported revenue of 254.6 million yuan ($37.3 million) for the three months that ended Sept. 30, up 44.8 percent from a year before, and net profit of 72.5 million yuan, up 61.5 percent.

Trony Solar said in a regulatory filing the company planned to sell 15 million American Depositary Shares and shareholders would sell an additional 4.5 million shares, for a total of 19.5 million shares.

JPMorgan Special Situations (Mauritius) Ltd and Intel Capital Corp, which currently own a combined 11.9 percent of the company, are each selling half of their shares.

The offering is being led by J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse.

(Reporting by Clare Baldwin, Steve Eder and Matt Daily; editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek)

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)

LDK Solar Reportedly Plans Polysilicon Spinout

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 9:28 am

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

LDK Solar (LDK) plans to spin off its polysilicon business as an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, according to JLM Pacfiic Epoch, which cites a report on the Chinese site 163.com that quoted LDK CEO Peng Xianfeng.

Peng reportedly said that he believes poly prices will in the future not exhibit the large fluctuations that have characterized the markets in the recent past.

LDK in November sold a 15% stake in its its polysilicon plant in Xinyu City, China, to Jiangxi International Trust for about $219 million.

LDK this morning is up 25 cents, or 2.8% to $9.30.

December 8, 2009

Applied Materials Announces Cash Dividend

Filed under: AMAT — Tags: , , — Jason @ 6:16 pm

6:16 pm EST, Tuesday December 8, 2009

SANTA CLARA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Applied Materials, Inc. (AMAT) today announced that its Board of Directors has approved a quarterly cash dividend of $0.06 per share payable on the company’s common stock. The dividend is payable on March 17, 2010 to stockholders of record as of February 24, 2010.

December 7, 2009

STR Announces Partial Exercise of Over-Allotment Option

Filed under: STRI — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 4:00 pm

4:00 pm EST, Monday December 7, 2009

ENFIELD, Conn.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–STR Holdings, Inc. (STRI) today announced that the underwriters of its initial public offering of 12,300,000 shares, which closed on November 12, 2009, have partially exercised the over-allotment option granted by the selling stockholders and have purchased an additional 1,695,000 shares at the initial public offering price of $10 per share. The closing of the over-allotment option occurred today. STR will not receive any of the proceeds from the sale of the shares as a result of the exercise of the over-allotment option.

Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC and Goldman, Sachs & Co. acted as joint book-running managers for the offering. Cowen and Company, LLC, Jefferies & Company, Inc., Lazard Capital Markets LLC and Macquarie Capital (USA) Inc. acted as co-managers of the offering.

The offering of these securities is being made only by means of a prospectus, copies of which may be obtained from Credit Suisse Securities (USA) LLC, Attn: Prospectus Department, One Madison Avenue 1B, New York, New York, 10010; telephone (800) 221-1037; or Goldman, Sachs & Co., Attention: Prospectus Department, 85 Broad Street, New York, New York 10004; telephone (866) 471-2526, facsimile (212) 902-9316 or by emailing prospectus-ny@ny.email.gs.com.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed and declared effective by the Securities and Exchange Commission. This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy, nor shall there be any sale of these securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such an offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

December 4, 2009

Solarfun Signs Agreement to Build 100MW Solar Power Plant in Jiayuguan City, Gansu Province

Filed under: SOLF — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 4:00 am

4:00 am EST, Friday December 4, 2009

SHANGHAI, Dec. 4 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (“Solarfun” or “the Company”) (SOLF), a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots and photovoltaic cells and modules in China, today announced that Jiangsu Linyang Solarfun Co., Ltd., a wholly owned subsidiary of Solarfun, has signed an agreement with the government of Jiayuguan City, Gansu Province, under which Solarfun agreed to build a 100MW solar power plant. To support this project, Solarfun agreed to construct a module production facility in Jiayuguan City.

Jingchang Zhang, Vice Mayor of Jiayuguan City, commented, “Jiayuguan is a famous tourist attraction in western China. Its abundant sunshine makes it an attractive location for solar projects. We have interviewed many solar module suppliers in China and are confident that Solarfun will be a good partner for our development.”

Peter Xie, President of Solarfun, commented, “We continue to make progress in building a meaningful presence in the rapidly developing China market. We appreciate the opportunity to partner with Jiayuguan City towards their firm commitment to renewable energy development.”

The commencement of this project is subject to feasibility studies, financing and further government approval.

December 3, 2009

Energy Conversion Devices Announces Restructuring Plan

Filed under: ENER — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 6:14 pm

6:14 pm EST, Thursday December 3, 2009

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich., Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (ECD) (ENER), the leading global manufacturer of light weight, thin-film flexible solar laminate products for the building-integrated and commercial rooftop markets, announced today that it has initiated a restructuring plan to better align operating expenses with near-term revenue expectations while positioning the company to more efficiently leverage future growth opportunities.

The specific restructuring actions include additional workforce reductions and the previously announced restructuring related to ECD’s acquisition of Solar Integrated Technologies. In connection with all restructurings, employees will be reduced by approximately 400, representing approximately 20 percent of ECD’s combined workforce.

These actions are expected to create annualized savings of approximately $17 million, with half to be realized in fiscal 2010.

ECD expects to record related charges of approximately $9 million in fiscal year 2010, including the previously announced restructuring costs related to ECD’s acquisition of Solar Integrated Technologies. This restructuring plan will be completed in fiscal 2010.

“We are committed to reducing our cost structure, while still satisfying the increasing demand for our products in the marketplace,” said Mark Morelli, ECD’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “We expect our business will strengthen in the second half of our fiscal year, and these steps should lower our overall operating costs for both the near and long terms, and position our company to better capitalize on growth opportunities in our rooftop solar markets.”

Canadian Solar Announces Intention to Build Solar Panel Manufacturing Facility in Ontario

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

Two year, C$24 million investment in the province is expected to result in 500 new direct manufacturing jobs and annual capacity to supply electricity to 60,000 homes

7:30 am EST, Thursday December 3, 2009

KITCHENER, Canada, Dec. 3 /PRNewswire-Asia-FirstCall/ — Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ), a leading vertically integrated provider of solar cells, solar module, custom-designed solar application products and turnkey solutions for the residential, commercial and solar farm markets, today announced that it is commencing the site selection and approvals process to establish a 200 megawatt (MW) module manufacturing facility in Ontario.

Canadian Solar has recently submitted a significant number of FIT applications to Ontario Power Authority and has also received considerable customer interest for “Made in Ontario” solar systems. Canadian Solar expects to make definite decisions about the plant site, cost and ultimate size in Q1 2010.

The new facility is expected to result in 500 new direct manufacturing jobs in Ontario and sufficient capacity to supply electricity to 60,000 homes per year. The estimated cost of the plant will be C$24 million, and once completed, it will be one of the largest solar panel manufacturing facilities in North America, further strengthening Canadian Solar’s position as the country’s leading, Canadian-owned manufacturer of solar modules. The plant will be completed in stages, with the first phase of operations expected to commence in 2010.

Canadian Solar’s manufacturing facility is expected to help drive Ontario’s emerging solar industry, which is growing rapidly as a result of the provincial government’s recently launched feed-in-tariff (FIT) program. “Our new facility will help expand “green” skilled jobs and investment in Ontario as well as the rest of Canada,” said Dr. Shawn Qu, Chairman and CEO of Canadian Solar Inc. “Additionally, with this facility, our leading-edge photovoltaic technology will be manufactured and readily available in Ontario for those who are ready to take advantage of the FIT programs.”

Canadian Solar will be exploring federal and provincial programs that can help us build an Ontario based manufacturing facility. “When considering Ontario for our next investment in manufacturing, we looked at the strength of R&D and the governments’ commitment to investing in a low carbon economy. We are looking forward to working with government representatives in creating jobs and a viable solar market in Ontario and across Canada,” said Milfred Hammerbacher, President of the subsidiary, Canadian Solar Solutions Inc.

Canadian Solar designs complete, turnkey solution packages for the residential, commercial and solar farm markets in Ontario. The solutions enable the installations to take place rapidly, at a lower cost and at a higher level of quality and reliability. Canadian Solar panels are silicon-based, have a 25-year warranty backed by one of the most reputable brands in the industry. They have been installed and tested amid extreme weather conditions around the world with outstanding results in terms of performance, resistance and reliability. Canadian Solar is compliant with FIT commercial rooftop solar and microFIT 10 kilowatt solar Ontario content requirements.

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 23, 2009

First Solar sells California project to NRG

Filed under: EIX, FSLR, NRG — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 1:25 pm

Mon Nov 23, 2009 1:25pm EST

* NRG to buy 21-megawatt solar project in Blythe

* Financial terms of deal not disclosed

LOS ANGELES, Nov 23 (Reuters) – U.S. solar power leader First Solar Inc (FSLR) said on Monday that it was selling the first of its utility-scale solar power projects in California to national power plant operator NRG Energy Inc (NRG).

The companies did not disclose financial terms of the deal.

First Solar will operate the 21-megawatt solar power project for NRG Energy under a long-term contract, the company said in a statement.

Macquarie Securities analyst Kelly Dougherty said in a note to clients that the news “is an incremental positive” for First Solar and will likely add to the company’s revenue for the fourth quarter.

Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar started building the project in September. The plant, about 200 miles east of Los Angeles in Blythe, California, is expected to be finished by the end of the year. Electricity from the plant will be sold to Southern California Edison, a unit of Edison International (EIX).

First Solar is one of the world’s largest producers of photovoltaic cells, which turn sunlight into electricity. Its production costs are the lowest in the industry, although its thin-film cadmium telluride cells are not as efficient in capturing sunlight as more traditional silicon-based cells.

The sale follows another recent deal for First Solar. In October, the company sold a 20-megawatt solar power project in Ontario to Enbridge Inc (ENB), Canada’s largest oil pipeline company.

Princeton, New Jersey-based NRG has mostly fossil fuel-heavy power plants that generate enough electricity to serve 20 million U.S. households, but plans to add a range of renewable energy technologies.

The company owns three land-based wind farms in Texas and invested in solar thermal start-up eSolar earlier this year.

Shares of First Solar were up half a percent at $121.84 each in trading on Monday on the Nasdaq.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)

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…)

NRG buys Blythe solar project from First Solar

Filed under: EIX, FSLR, NRG — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 11:51 am

NRG buys largest utility-scale solar project in California from First Solar; terms undisclosed

11:51 am EST, Monday November 23, 2009

PRINCETON, N.J. (AP) — NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) on Monday said it bought the 21 megawatt Blythe solar energy project in California from First Solar Inc. (FSLR) for an undisclosed amount.

The New Jersey-based power plant owner said the site — located in Riverside County in southeastern California — is the first and largest utility-scale photovoltaic solar project in the state.

The Blythe plant will be connected to Southern California Edison’s (EIX) electrical distribution grid, and electricity will be sold to SCE under a 20-year power purchase agreement. At peak capacity, the site will be able to power almost 17,000 homes, NRG said.

Using First Solar’s thin film photovoltaic panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity, the project will generate more than 45,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year, displacing more than 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year. That’s the equivalent of taking 2,200 cars off the road.

The plant uses about 350,000 solar modules, each measuring 2 feet by 4 feet, which cover about 200 acres. The project uses no water during normal operation, the company said. Construction began in September and is expected to be completed by year-end.

First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services at Blythe under a long-term contract with NRG.

Shares of NRG rose 20 cents to $24.01 in morning trading. First Solar shares rose $1.48 to $122.67.

First Solar Sells California Solar Power Project to NRG

Filed under: EIX, FSLR, NRG — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:00 am

21 Megawatt Blythe Project is California’s Largest Photovoltaic Facility

8:00 am EST, Monday November 23, 2009

TEMPE, Ariz.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), today announced the sale of the 21 megawatt (MW) AC solar energy project it has developed and constructed in Blythe, Calif., to NRG Energy, Inc (NRG).

Located in Riverside County about 200 miles east of Los Angeles, the Blythe project is California’s first and largest utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar generation facility, and among the largest in North America. Construction began in September and is expected to be completed by year-end. Electricity from the plant will be sold to Southern California Edison (EIX) under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

“First Solar is very pleased that the first of our utility-scale solar projects in California will be coming on line with a leading power producer like NRG,” said Bruce Sohn, president of First Solar. “This clean, affordable, and sustainable energy will help California meet the goals of its Renewable Portfolio Standard.”

Using First Solar’s industry-leading thin film PV panels that convert sunlight directly into electricity with no water consumption during operation, the project will generate over 45,000 megawatt-hours of electricity per year. The solar generation displaces over 12,000 tons of carbon dioxide emissions per year—the equivalent of taking 2,200 cars off the road. The construction of this project created 175 green jobs.

First Solar will provide operations and maintenance services at Blythe under a long-term contract with NRG. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

First Solar is developing 1,300 megawatts of PV solar projects under contracts with utilities in California and the Southwest.

MEMC Completes Acquisition of SunEdison

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

8:00 am EST, Monday November 23, 2009

ST. PETERS, Mo., Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (WFR), a leading provider of silicon wafers to the semiconductor and solar industries, has completed the acquisition of privately held Sun Edison LLC, a developer of solar power projects and North America’s largest solar energy services provider.

As previously disclosed, the purchase price of $200 million was paid 70% in cash and 30% in MEMC stock, plus certain retention payments, transaction expenses, and the assumption of net debt.

“This acquisition further enhances our positioning in the solar industry,” said Ahmad Chatila, Chief Executive Officer of MEMC. “Renewable, clean solar energy is still in its infancy as a growing global industry. Our role in reducing costs in both the components of solar modules and well as the actual solar plants will help to further accelerate this growth.”

“Our strategy is to drive revenue growth for our wafer business while SunEdison produces a recurring revenue stream from solar generated electricity. At the same time, SunEdison can directly benefit from the technological and cost advances that we are helping to create with continuing improvements in silicon wafer technology. This acquisition is the beginning of an exciting new chapter in the successful 50 year history of MEMC.”

SunEdison is based in Beltsville, Maryland and employs approximately 300 people worldwide. It “simplifies solar” by managing the development, financing, operation and monitoring of solar power plants for commercial customers, including many national retail outlets, government agencies, and utilities. In a typical structure, SunEdison arranges third party, non-recourse financing for the facility and the customer has no upfront capital outlay.

With one of the strongest brands in solar, SunEdison will continue to operate with the SunEdison name, as a subsidiary of MEMC.

Other Events

The Company announced that, in connection with the acquisition of Sun Edison LLC, the Company granted special inducement grants under its 2009 Special Inducement Grant Plan to retain certain SunEdison employees (224_ in total) as employees of MEMC and its newly acquired SunEdison business unit. The Company granted an aggregate of 584,372 restricted stock units, which vest on the first anniversary of the Closing, subject to such employees being employed by MEMC and/or the SunEdison business unit on such date.

The Company also granted an aggregate of 1,644,529 restricted stock units, which are subject to vesting requirements based on both performance and time. The performance requirements are tied to the same metrics as the earnout contemplated by the merger agreement. Assuming the performance requirement is achieved, (i) 34% of such earned grants will vest on the date that MEMC determines to be the issue date following the end of the earnout period; (ii) 33% of such earned grants will vest on December 31, 2011; and (iii) the remaining 33% of such earned grants will vest on December 31, 2012, assuming that the subject employee is employed by MEMC or the SunEdison business unit as of those dates.

The Company’s Board of Directors approved the 2009 Special Inducement Grant Plan based on the employment inducement exemption provided under the NYSE listing standards. As a result, the Plan did not require shareholder approval, and this press release is being issued pursuant to applicable NYSE guidance.

LDK Solar Reports Financial Results for Third Quarter 2009

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

7:00 am EST, Monday November 23, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 23 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (“LDK Solar”; LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today reported its unaudited financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2009.

All financial results are reported in U.S. dollars on a U.S. GAAP basis.

Recent Highlights:

* Third quarter 2009 revenue was $281.9 million;
* Shipped 320.5 MW of wafers, up 26.8% year-over-year;
* Gross margin for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was 20.1%;
* Net income was $29.4 million, or $0.27 per diluted ADS;
* Increased wafer capacity to 1.7 GW and started pilot production at first 5,000 metric ton (MT) train in 15,000 MT polysilicon plant; and
* Sold a 15% ownership stake in 15,000 MT annualized capacity polysilicon plant to Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co., Ltd. for RMB1.5 billion (equivalent to approximately US$219 million)

Net sales for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 were $281.9 million, compared to $228.3 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2009, and $541.8 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

For the third quarter of fiscal 2009, gross profit was $56.8 million, compared to negative $205.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2009, and $122.9 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Gross margin for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was 20.1%, compared to negative 90.0% in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 and 22.7% in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Income from operations for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $37.1 million, compared to a loss of $235.0 million for the second quarter of 2009, and compared to income from operations of $107.8 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Operating margin for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was 13.2% compared to negative 102.9% in the second quarter of fiscal 2009 and 19.9% in the third quarter of fiscal 2008.

Income tax expense for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $6.6 million, compared to income tax benefit of $29.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2009.

Net income for the third quarter of fiscal 2009 was $29.4 million, or $0.27 per diluted ADS, compared to a net loss of $216.9 million, or $2.03 per diluted ADS for the second quarter of fiscal 2009.

LDK Solar ended the third quarter of 2009 with $67.8 million in cash and cash equivalents and $72.7 million in short-term pledged bank deposits.

“We were pleased to see wafer demand strengthen across multiple geographies during the quarter, rebounding from the lower levels seen earlier this year. Our financial results for the third quarter reflect the recent improvement in the operating environment for the solar industry,” stated Xiaofeng Peng, Chairman and CEO of LDK Solar. “During the third quarter, we continued to take steps to further strengthen our business. In addition to reaching important milestones for ramping our polysilicon production, we made great strides to further diversify and grow our business and improve our operating flexibility by increasing our near-term financial resources, while we continued to closely manage costs.

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November 22, 2009

First Solar plant re-energized

Filed under: AEP, FSLR, PCG, SRE — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 10:00 am

Expansion reflects growth in demand across North America

First Solar Inc., which began in Toledo and is headquartered in Arizona, has its only North American factory in Perrysburg Township. The plant is expanding.

By GARY T. PAKULSKI
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER

A huge expansion of a solar panel manufacturing plant in Perrysburg Township is nearing completion just in time for a massive planned increase in solar energy use across the United States and Canada.

Utility-scale solar fields, mostly in the West and South, will consume the output of the First Solar Inc. (FSLR) plant through 2015 and probably will cause the company to import panels from its factories in Europe and Asia, an official said.

“We definitely have created demand in the United States far beyond what that single plant can supply and will need to supplement that with product from other plants,” said Alan Bernheimer, a company spokesman.

Executives launched an initiative two years ago to boost U.S. sales to correspond with the company’s growing manufacturing capacity and offset any cooling of a solar energy-building boom in Europe that consumed millions of Perrysburg Township-made panels. Those efforts are now bearing fruit.

Massive solar fields built by First Solar have been completed or are nearing completion outside Las Vegas, in southern California, and in Ontario along Lake Huron.

Five other big First Solar projects that probably will use panels from the suburban Toledo plant are under way or have been announced. They include one that would become the largest solar array in the nation, covering nearly seven square miles and producing enough electricity for 160,000 homes.

All of the projects are multiple-acre solar fields that will be connected to the nation’s electric grid.

An evolution
If the company moves forward on already-announced projects, the work would consume more than 18 million of the 2-foot-by-4-foot panels that First Solar produces.

“That’s great news,” said Steve Weathers, president of Toledo’s Regional Growth Partnership. “What we like to see with any company is growth in their customer base.”

He said the local plant’s growth demonstrates an evolution in the local economy as northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan shift to other industries and away from heavy reliance on jobs in auto manufacturing.

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November 21, 2009

Trony Solar raises IPO target to $241.5 mln

Filed under: TRO — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 5:51 pm

Sat Nov 21, 2009 5:51pm EST

* Raises amount of IPO to $241.5 mln from $200 mln

* Selling total of 19.5 mln shares

* Expects shares to price between $9 and $11

NEW YORK, Nov 20 (Reuters) – Chinese thin film solar company Trony Solar Holdings Company Limited raised the amount of its initial public offering on Friday, adding to the buzz around the many U.S.-based publicly traded solar companies.

The firm said in a regulatory filing that it would raise as much as $241.5 million in its IPO, up from the $200 million it filed for last month. The Shenzhen-based company said it plans to sell 15 million American depositary shares while shareholders sell an additional 4.5 million shares.

It said in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission it expects the shares to price between $9 and $11.

JPMorgan Special Situations (Mauritius) Limited and Intel Capital Corp, which currently own a combined 11.9 percent of the company, are each selling half of their shares.

The firm reported revenue of 254.6 million yuan ($37.1 million) in the three months ended Sept. 30, up 44.8 percent from a year ago, and net profit of 72.5 million yuan, up 61.5 percent from a year ago.

Trony Solar plans to debut on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker “TRO.” Lead underwriters for the deal are J.P. Morgan and Credit Suisse. The underwriters may purchase an additional 2.925 million shares.

(Reporting by Clare Baldwin, editing by Matthew Lewis)

November 20, 2009

LDK Solar Completes Sale of 15% Ownership Stake in its 15,000 MT Polysilicon Plant

Filed under: LDK — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 3:15 am

3:15 am EST, Friday November 20, 2009

XINYU CITY, China and SUNNYVALE, Calif., Nov. 20 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — LDK Solar Co., Ltd. (LDK), a leading manufacturer of multicrystalline solar wafers, today announced that it completed the sale of a 15% ownership stake in its 15,000 metric ton (MT) annualized capacity polysilicon plant to Jiangxi International Trust and Investment Co., Ltd. for RMB1.5 billion. The proceeds from the sale have been received by LDK Solar.

November 19, 2009

Suntech Reports Third Quarter 2009 Financial Results

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , , , — Jason @ 6:30 am

Shipments Grow More Than 60% Sequentially
Full Year 2009 PV Shipment Target Increased from 600MW to a Range of 640MW to 660MW

6:30 am EST, Thursday November 19, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO and WUXI, China, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s largest crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) module manufacturer, today announced financial results for its third fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2009.

Third Quarter 2009 Highlights
— Total net revenues increased 47.4% sequentially to $473.1 million in the third quarter of 2009

— Gross profit margin for the core wafer to module business was 20.0% in the third quarter of 2009, compared with 19.1% in the second quarter of 2009

— Consolidated gross profit margin was 17.8% in the third quarter of 2009, compared with 18.6% in the second quarter 2009

— Net income attributable to holders of ordinary shares was $29.8 million, or $0.16 per diluted American Depository Share (ADS). Each ADS represents one ordinary share

— Suntech’s multi-crystalline Pluto-powered module achieved world record conversion efficiency of 16.53%

— Full-year 2009 PV shipment target increased from 600MW to a range of 640MW to 660MW

— Suntech targets to increase total PV cell and module production capacity to 1.4GW by the middle of 2010, of which 450MW will be Pluto-enabled

“We are very pleased to announce strong revenue growth and a healthy bottom line for the third quarter of 2009,” said Dr. Zhengrong Shi, Suntech’s Chairman and CEO. “The significant pick up in demand was largely due to a seasonal rush before end-of-year policy adjustments and improving customer returns on investments in solar projects. It was also due to customer recognition of Suntech’s attractive value proposition of exceptional product performance at a reasonable price.

“Complementing strong growth in the German market, we are particularly pleased to see 100% sequential shipment growth in the U.S. market and the rapid development of a number of non-traditional PV markets such as the Czech Republic, Benelux, China. This demonstrates the ongoing diversification of the solar industry and Suntech’s ability to enter emerging markets.

“During the third quarter we continued to develop Suntech’s industry-leading sales and service infrastructure and to differentiate our products through innovation. In Europe, we strengthened our local team with the addition of four new senior executives; in the U.S. we launched our North American Partner Program; and in China we continued to build one of the nation’s most capable system installation and project development teams.

“On the technology front, our proprietary Pluto technology set another world record conversion efficiency of 16.53% for a commercial grade multi-crystalline silicon module. This record beat all previous records for multi-crystalline silicon modules made in the lab or on commercial production lines and reinforces our dedication to providing the most advanced and cost-effective solar solutions. In addition, we introduced Reliathon(TM), an industry-first integrated utility-scale solar platform combining product and business-term innovations to lower costs and accelerate the path to grid parity.

“Looking forward, we expect the sales momentum to carry into the new year and see potential for at least 75% shipment growth in 2010. To support the increased volume we have decided to move forward with expansion plans and target to reach 1.4GW of PV cell and module production capacity by the middle of 2010. With our commitment to delivering premium quality products at a reasonable price, expanding our global service platform and delivering world-class innovation, we believe we are extremely well positioned to continue to build market share and serve a growing base of solar customers,” concluded Dr. Shi.

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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.”

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November 18, 2009

Solarfun Reports Third Quarter 2009 Results

Filed under: SOLF — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jason @ 6:57 am

6:57 am EST, Wednesday November 18, 2009

SHANGHAI, Nov. 18 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ — Solarfun Power Holdings Co., Ltd. ( “Solarfun” or the “Company”) (SOLF), a vertically integrated manufacturer of silicon ingots, wafers and photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules in China, today reported its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2009.

THIRD QUARTER 2009 RESULTS

* Total net revenues were RMB 986.8 million (US$144.6 million) in the third quarter of 2009, representing a decrease of 22.6% from RMB 1,274.8 million in the third quarter of 2008 and an increase of 15.5% from RMB 854.6 million in the second quarter of 2009. The sequential increase was primarily related to higher shipment volumes reflecting improved industry demand.
* PV module shipments reached 102.6 MW in the third quarter of 2009, an increase from 41.8 MW in the third quarter of 2008 and from 64.3 MW in the second quarter of 2009. The increase from the second quarter of 2009 was due to increases in both PV module shipments and PV module processing services. PV module processing services represented approximately 40% of the total PV module shipments in the third quarter of 2009. In the third quarter of 2009, excluding module processing, the Company recorded greater geographic diversity in its sales, with Germany accounting for 60% of the Company’s total PV module shipments, down from 83% in the previous quarter. The Czech Republic, a relatively new market for the Company, continued to grow to 9% of total shipments, and a rebound was seen in Portugal and Spain, representing 11% and 6% of total shipments, respectively. Australia, Italy and Korea combined for another 14% of total shipments.
* Average selling price, excluding module processing services, declined, as expected, to US$2.03 per watt in the third quarter of 2009 from US$2.66 per watt in the second quarter of 2009, primarily due to the decrease in the market prices of PV products.
* Gross profit was RMB 204.4 million (US$29.9 million) in the third quarter of 2009, compared to a gross profit of RMB 46.1 million in the third quarter of 2008 and a gross loss of RMB 53.0 million in the second quarter of 2009. Gross margin was 20.7% in the third quarter of 2009, compared to negative 6.2% in the second quarter 2009. No provision for pre-payments on supply agreements were made in the third quarter of 2009, compared to a provision of RMB 236.5 million in the second quarter of 2009. Gross margin in the third quarter of 2009 reflected lower raw material costs primarily as a result of renegotiated supply agreements and increased spot market purchases. Vertical integration to the ingot and wafer level also led to reduced costs from higher utilization and continued process improvements.
* Operating profit was RMB 129.4 million (US$19.0 million) in the third quarter of 2009, compared to an operating loss of RMB 25.9 million in the third quarter of 2008 and an operating loss of RMB 121.9 million in the second quarter of 2009. The operating margin for the third quarter 2009 was 13.1%. The Company continued to maintain tight discipline on operating expenses, which as a percent of revenues should trend lower as revenues grow.
* Interest expense was RMB 40.8 million (US$6.0 million) in the third quarter of 2009, an increase from RMB 21.6 million in the third quarter of 2008, and an increase from RMB 36.1 million in the second quarter of 2009.
* Fair value of the conversion feature of the Company’s convertible bonds increased by RMB 82.4 million (US$12.1 million) in the third quarter of 2009, due to a number of factors including changes in the Company’s ADS prices during the third quarter of 2009. This line item has fluctuated, and is expected to continue to fluctuate quarter-to-quarter in line with standardized accounting practices, of which the Company has no control.
* Net income attributable to shareholders was RMB 136.6 million (US$ 20.0 million) in the third quarter of 2009, compared to a net loss of RMB 44.3 million in the third quarter of 2008 and a net loss of 319.9 million in the second quarter of 2009. Net income per basic ADS was RMB 2.53 (US$0.37) in the third quarter of 2009, compared to a net loss per basic ADS of RMB 0.86 in the third quarter of 2008 and a net loss per basic ADS of RMB 5.95 in the second quarter of 2009.

Peter Xie, President of Solarfun, commented, “We are extremely pleased with the continued progress achieved in the third quarter of 2009. Of particular note were quarterly shipment volumes exceeding 100 MW for the first time in the Company’s history, gross margins reaching 20%, and a return to profitability. We also improved our capital structure by reducing short-term bank borrowings and raising additional equity capital.”

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