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.

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)

JA Solar Announces Share Repurchase Program

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

7:05 pm EST, Monday December 14, 2009

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

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

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

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

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

4:05 pm EST, Monday December 14, 2009

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

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

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

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

MEMC Electronic Materials: Citi Cuts Target, Estimates On Lower Poly Prices

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:19 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

Citigroup analyst Timothy Arcuri today trimmed his price target on MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) to $16, from $20, and cut his EPS estimates to reflect lower spot market pricing for polysilicon. He now sees the poly and silicon wafer posting a 2009 loss of 22 cents a share, worse than his previous forecast of a loss of 5 cents. For 2010, he goes to 44 cents, from 57 cents.

Arcuri keeps his Hold rating on the stock.

WFR today is off 7 cents at $12.50.

Akeena Solar’s Andalay AC Solar Panels Offered By Lowe’s

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 8:13 am

December 14, 2009 (FinancialWire) — Akeena Solar Inc. (AKNS) Andalay AC panels are available at 21 Lowe’s (LOW) home-improvement stores throughout California. The panels, which were recently honored with a 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product award, are featured as part of Lowe’s Energy Center at the stores.

The Lowe’s Energy Center offers an information kiosk to help customers evaluate their home’s solar and wind potential, and the Energy Center features products that help them measure their energy use, reduce energy consumption and generate clean energy. Lowe’s is the first major retailer to offer many of these products in one place, products that range from power monitors and small solar chargers to a solar panel system. The Energy Center will be in additional U.S. and Canadian stores in 2010.

Andalay AC panels, developed by Akeena Solar in Silicon Valley, have integrated racking, wiring and grounding, reducing the overall parts count by 80 percent and protecting against performance-threatening breakdowns that could happen with ordinary DC power systems.

Andalay panels also have built-in inverters that produce household AC power, so there is no high-voltage DC wiring. These safety and reliability benefits are achieved without compromising performance. In fact, Andalay AC panels produce 5 to 25 percent more energy output compared with ordinary DC solar panels. Because of the modular design of Andalay AC panels, homeowners could install a few panels now and gradually add on later, unlike DC systems that require a complete redesign when adding panels.

Ordinary DC solar power systems also require special installation skills. The innovations provided by Andalay’s AC solar system deliver simplicity and safety so that for the first time, electricians, HVAC contractors and experienced do-it-yourselfers can install a solar power system without specialized training.

Participating Lowe’s stores will stock the accessories required for installation, eliminating the need for do-it-yourselfers and contractors to pre-order components and enabling them to pick up what they need on the way to the installation.

December 10, 2009

Akeena to sell solar panels at retailer Lowe’s

Filed under: AKNS, SPWR, STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 5:59 pm

Thu Dec 10, 2009 5:59pm EST

* All-in-one panels to sell at 21 Lowe’s stores for $893

* Part of company’s strategy to boost revenue

* Akeena shares close up 56 cents, or about 57 pct

By Laura Isensee

LOS ANGELES, Dec 10 (Reuters) – Akeena Solar Inc (AKNS) will start selling its all-in-one solar panels at Lowe’s Cos Inc (LOW) retail stores in California, Akeena said on Thursday, as the company looks to boost revenue.

The Los Gatos, California, company hopes to break even by selling panels at retail stores and to installers outside its home state, in addition to its traditional installation business. The move puts the company in competition with the likes of SunPower Corp (SPWRA, SPWRB) in selling panels.

“The key for us to get to the break-even level is to work on top-line revenue … This Lowe’s distribution gives us another channel where we can build that top line,” Akeena’s chief executive, Barry Cinnamon, said in an interview.

Cinnamon declined to say when Akeena expects to break even or how much revenue is expected from the new retail sales. But the executive said that Akeena expects a 15 percent gross margin on panels sold through Lowe’s.

Akeena’s panels hit the shelves on Thursday at 21 Lowe’s home-improvement stores in California. Each panel will sell for $893 and can plug into a regular electrical outlet, generating 175 watts or enough electricity to power a computer or 42-inch flat screen television.

The panel’s price falls to $625 after federal tax credits and could drop more depending on state incentives.

“The biggest significance is that now people can buy one panel or three or four panels (and spend) a few thousand dollars as opposed to tens of thousands of dollars,” Cinnamon said.

In October, the executive told Reuters the company was actively trying to sell its solar panels through big-box retailers.

The company says its panels — branded Andalay and manufactured by Suntech Power Holdings Co Ltd (STP) — have 80 percent fewer parts to install than comparable products, reducing inventory logistics.

The panels include inverters — supplied by privately held Enphase Energy — that convert the direct electrical current to the alternating current used by household appliances.

Akeena has struggled to turn a profit and posted a narrower-then-expected quarterly loss in October.

The news sent the shares of the solar company soaring on Thursday. Shares of Akeena closed up 56 cents, or about 57 percent, at $1.55 each on the Nasdaq.

The company’s shares have climbed 167 percent since hitting a year-low of 58 cents in March.

Shares of Lowe’s Cos closed up 1.23 percent at $23.09 on Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee; editing by Andre Grenon and Steve Orlofsky)

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)

Akeena Solar stock jumps nearly 54 percent after announcing Lowe’s deal

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 2:29 pm

2:29 pm EST, Thursday December 10, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Akeena Solar, Inc. (AKNS) stock jumped nearly 54 percent Thursday after the company announced that Lowe’s is now stocking its solar panels in California.

Akeena stock added 53 cents to $1.52 a share in afternoon trading. Company stock has traded between 58 cents and $2.61 a share during the past year.

The company, which has headquarters in Los Gatos, Calif., develops a user-friendly solar panel that Lowe’s agreed to carry on store shelves. The home improvement retailer said it would stock Akeena products in 21 California stores this week, followed by other states and Canada next year.

The deal could bring Akeena’s panels to a large audience of do-it-yourselfers.

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.

Solar power coming to a store near you

Filed under: AKNS — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:19 pm

New territory for solar power and DIYers, panels now for sale at retail stores

By Chris Kahn, AP Energy Writer
12:19 am EST, Thursday December 10, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Solar technology is going where it has never gone before: onto the shelves at retail stores where do-it-yourselfers can now plunk a panel into a shopping cart and bring it home to install.

Lowe’s has begun stocking solar panels at its California stores and plans to roll them out across the country next year.

This shows how far the highest of the high-tech alternative energy technologies has come. Solar power is now accessible to anyone with a ladder, a power drill, and the gumption to climb up on a roof and install the panels themselves.

For Lowe’s, it’s an opening into a new and potentially lucrative DIY business.

“There’s definitely a growing market for this with the number of people moving toward energy efficient homes,” spokesman Steven Salazar said.

Buyer be warned, however. The DIY part of solar goes beyond installation.

Professional installers typically handle all the necessary paperwork, like clearance from the local utility and applications for a bevy of government subsidies that can make the system a whole lot cheaper.

“You put solar panels on your roof without a permit, bad things happen to you,” said Jeff Wolfe, CEO of solar installer groSolar. “The utility could shut off the power.”

Lowe’s will staff a kiosk near the panels that provides information on how to apply for rebates.

For anyone willing to tackle the paperwork, Akeena Solar (AKNS) promises a hassle-free installation that will immediately reduce the power you need to buy from the local utility.

Akeena Solar, Inc., based in Los Gatos, Calif., said it designed a system with the novice in mind.

“It’s really not a big deal,” said CEO Barry Cinnamon. “The most dangerous thing is learning about ladder safety.”

The rectangular panels retail at $893 a piece. They produce the same AC power that runs in homes and plug directly into a circuit breaker.

During the day, the solar panels will act like a large battery, producing energy from the sun and pumping it through the circuit breaker to appliances inside. On cloudy days or at night, of course, homeowners will again draw 100 percent of their power from the grid.

(more…)

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)

Akeena Solar’s Andalay AC Solar Panels Now Available at Lowe’s Home Improvement Stores

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

Plug-and-Play Panels Hit Shelves at Lowe’s Energy Center in 21 Locations

7:00 am EST, Thursday December 10, 2009

LOS GATOS, Calif., Dec. 10, 2009 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — For the first time, homeowners can purchase high-performing, easy-to-install solar panels off the shelves of a major retailer, announced Akeena Solar Inc. (AKNS), a leading installer and manufacturer of solar power systems. The Andalay AC panels are available at 21 Lowe’s home-improvement stores throughout California. The panels, which were recently honored with a 2009 Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Product award, are featured as part of Lowe’s Energy Center at the stores.

“The PC revolution in the computer industry occurred when new technology made PCs easy to use and affordable,” said Barry Cinnamon, CEO of Akeena Solar. “Likewise, with panels becoming plug-and-play appliances, the solar revolution has started. The availability of solar panels in Lowe’s stores makes it easy for homeowners to go solar and is a big step toward getting solar on every sunny rooftop.”

The Lowe’s Energy Center is a one-stop, easy-to-shop destination that empowers customers to create an energy plan that fits their budget and home-improvement goals. An information kiosk offers a touch-screen display to help customers evaluate their home’s solar and wind potential, and the Energy Center features products that help them measure their energy use, reduce energy consumption and generate clean energy. Lowe’s is the first major retailer to offer many of these products in one place, products that range from power monitors and small solar chargers to a solar panel system. The Energy Center will be in additional U.S. and Canadian stores in 2010.

Breakthrough Andalay AC Panels are Safer, More Reliable and Simpler to Install

Andalay AC panels, developed by Akeena Solar in Silicon Valley, have integrated racking, wiring and grounding — reducing the overall parts count by 80 percent and protecting against performance-threatening breakdowns that could happen with ordinary DC power systems.

Andalay panels also have built-in inverters that produce household AC power, so there is no high-voltage DC wiring. These safety and reliability benefits are achieved without compromising performance. In fact, Andalay AC panels produce 5 to 25 percent more energy output compared with ordinary DC solar panels. Because of the modular design of Andalay AC panels, homeowners could install a few panels now and gradually add on later, unlike DC systems that require a complete redesign when adding panels.

Ordinary DC solar power systems also require special installation skills. The innovations provided by Andalay’s AC solar system deliver simplicity and safety so that for the first time, electricians, HVAC contractors and experienced do-it-yourselfers can install a solar power system without specialized training.

“Buying panels off the shelf at Lowe’s offers solar options to homeowners that they didn’t have,” continued Cinnamon. “Homeowners now can get a system as small as one panel. With Andalay’s safe household AC power design, they are the only real choice for do-it-yourselfers.”

Participating Lowe’s stores will stock the accessories required for installation, eliminating the need for do-it-yourselfers and contractors to pre-order components and enabling them to pick up what they need on the way to the installation.

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)

Huge Poly Glut Coming In 2010, Soleil Analyst Says

Filed under: none — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 12:04 pm

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

The solar industry should brace for a huge glut of polysilicon in 2010, Soleil Securities analyst Paul Lemming warns today, with prices likely to head sharply lower.

Over the next three quarters, he calculates, the amount of polysilicon available to the solar market is going to increase by about 70%. He says it is true that the poly market became “snug” in the third quarter due to a jump in seasonal installations, but adds that conditions will change in the 2010 first half “as every major producer of polysilicon ramps new capacity.”

He thinks the industry is facing the prospect of 60%-80% over supply next year, with no hope of a more balanced market before sometime in 2011 at the earliest.

In Lemming’s view, the spot price of polysilicon is heading to the mid $30s per kg over the next six months – from $50-$55 range – with prices below $30 “not out of the question.” The analyst notes that there is a widespread notion that pricing will hold at current levels over the nest year, but adds that is likely only if things are different this time – “and this time is never different.”

He notes that prices at $55/kg provide “reinvestment level economics for established producers,” and would make polysilicon “the first commodity we are aware of to have pricing – in a grossly over-supplied market – remain at or above reinvestment level pricing.” Lemming notes that “commodity after commodity sees the spot price move to the cash cost of production of the high-cost plant whose output is needed to supply the last kilogram of demand.” He finds that all poly demand can be supplied by plants with cash costs at or below $35/kg. Lemming notes that five years ago, the spot price of poly for the solar market was below $30, and that some business took place at prices below $25. The implication: we could end up at those price levels again in 2010.

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.

Suntech Signs Long-term Supply Agreements for Up to 490MW in Europe

Filed under: STP — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 9:00 am

9:00 am EST, Wednesday December 9, 2009

SCHAFFHAUSEN, Switzerland, Dec. 9 /PRNewswire-Asia/ — Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (STP), the world’s leading manufacturer of crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) modules, today announced it has signed three long-term supply agreements for up to 490MW of high performance solar modules to be delivered over the next three years. Three of Suntech’s strategic long-term partners in Europe including a value-added reseller, an EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) company, and a project developer, signed the agreements to secure access to Suntech’s market leading solar modules and to develop closer collaboration on market information, shipment planning, and new product roll-outs.

“Customers choose to partner with Suntech because of our proven commitment to quality, reliability and performance, which is backed up by over 1.5GW of installations,” said Jerry Stokes, Suntech’s VP of Strategy and Business Development. “With the solar market expected to resume strong annual growth in 2010 and beyond, it is essential for both our partners and Suntech to gain a clearer understanding of future market drivers and project pipelines. This will enable us to align product specifications, performance and market demand with capacity expansion and to differentiate our products and the solutions offered by our partners.”

Under the terms of the agreements, 115MW is planned to be supplied in 2010, 155MW in 2011 and 220MW in 2012, with the option to increase volumes. Suntech anticipates concluding additional long-term supply agreements during the next few months reflecting a “flight to quality” solar companies that have bankable products, and the capability and credibility to support long-term growth.

David Hogg, Head Suntech Europe, added, “Suntech is a continually innovating, technology driven company. One example of this is our recently launched HiPerforma module incorporating Pluto cell technology, which holds the world record conversion efficiency for a polycrystalline PV module. Advance knowledge of such new product roll-outs and enhancements will enable our partners to specify Suntech products early in the design process, leading to superior system performance and stronger financial returns. This is especially important for large-scale project development that may take over 12 months from initial design through permitting and construction.”

December 8, 2009

SunEdison and SkyPower Receive Canadian Solar Award

Filed under: WFR — Tags: , , , , , — Jason @ 10:27 pm

Canadian Solar Industries Association Honors First Light Solar Energy Park in Stone Mills, Ontario

10:27 pm EST, Tuesday December 8, 2009

TORONTO, Ontario–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SunEdison, a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic materials (WFR) along with project partner, SkyPower, have been awarded the “Solar PV Project of the Year for Ground Mount” by CanSIA, the leading solar association in Canada. The award was presented for the 9.1-megawatt (MW) First Light Solar Energy Park in Stone Mills, Ontario, the largest solar energy park built to date in Canada. Ontario Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy & Infrastructure, Honourable George Smitherman presented the award.

In presenting the award Minister Smitherman said, “The First Light Solar Energy Park’s grand opening made solar dreams real for a lot of people in the industry – not just in Ontario – but across the country. For being the spark that is without question the very first big bright light of solar in Canada – but certainly not the last, we offer our congratulations.”

The system, covering 90 acres of land, approximately the size of 50 Canadian football fields, began transmitting energy to Hydro One Networks, the largest electricity transmission and distribution company in Ontario, on September 30. SunEdison and SkyPower expect First Light to generate more than 10 million kilowatt hours (kWhs), enough electricity to power approximately 1,000 homes in its first year of operation, the equivalent of taking almost 1,800 cars off the road and removing 8,000 metric tons of carbon from the atmosphere.

Commenting on the award, SunEdison President and Executive VP of MEMC Carlos Domenech said, “We are honored that we have been recognized along with our partner, SkyPower, with such a prestigious award from CanSIA. It is a reflection of SunEdison’s commitment to Canada, and underscores the opportunities for renewable energy made possible in Ontario. SunEdison looks forward to continued development of rooftop and ground mount solar systems throughout the Province, and throughout Canada.”

During construction of First Light, SunEdison and SkyPower worked closely with Ontario’s Ministry of Natural Resources to successfully preserve habitat for the endangered Eastern Loggerhead Shrike. First Light was built on bedrock that would have had limited use for other development, meeting the priority for protecting agricultural lands.

About SunEdison

SunEdison is North America’s largest solar energy services provider. The company finances, installs and operates distributed power plants using proven photovoltaic technologies, delivering fully managed, predictably priced solar energy services for its commercial, government and utility customers. In 2008, SunEdison delivered more kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy than any other solar services provider in North America. For more information about SunEdison, please visit http://www.sunedison.com. SunEdison is a subsidiary of MEMC Electronic Materials.

About SkyPower Corp.

SkyPower is the leading independence renewable energy developer in Canada, and possesses proven expertise in developing, building and managing both large-scale and micro-generation wind and solar power projects. SkyPower has developed a national footprint, with a substantial number of projects at various stages of development across Canada, in select U.S. States, India and Panama representing thousands of mega watts (MW) of potential nameplate capacity. SkyPower continues to help many different jurisdictions meet their increasing demand for cleaner, non-emitting renewable energy solutions. For more information, visit http://www.skypower.com.

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.

Constellation Energy to build 16 MW solar project

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 5:59 pm

Tue Dec 8, 2009 5:59pm EST

* Company to use thin film photovoltaic solar panels

* Shares of company flat in after-hours trading

LOS ANGELES, Dec 8 (Reuters) – Utility owner Constellation Energy Group (CEG) will build a solar power project of nearly 16 megawatts in Maryland and will sell the electricity generated to the state under a 20-year agreement, the company said on Tuesday.

The project accounts for the bulk of a $60 million, 17 MW solar facility that Constellation will build, own and operate on 100 acres of land leased from Mount St. Mary’s University in Emmitsburg, Maryland.

The company plans to use thin film photovoltaic solar panels that convert sunlight into electricity but did not
specify a particular supplier.

Tempe, Arizona-based First Solar Inc (FSLR) is the industry’s leading supplier of thin film solar technology as
its cadmium telluride-based panels are cheaper to produce.

Constellation plans to finish the project by December 2012, currently set to be the largest solar facility in Maryland. It will also sell 1.2 MW of the electricity to the university.

Constellation Energy also is working to develop a $140 million, 70-megawatt wind power project in Maryland.

Shares of Constellation Energy were flat in after-hours trading after closing down 1.4 percent at $33.02 on the New York Stock Exchange on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee, editing by Matthew Lewis)

Hoku sets payment dates with Solarfun, shares rise

Filed under: HOKU, SOLF — Tags: , , , , — Jason @ 1:10 pm

Hoku shares rise after setting payment plan with Solarfun for polysilicon supply deal

1:10 pm EST, Tuesday December 8, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) — Shares of solar products maker Hoku Scientific Inc. (HOKU) soared in morning trading after it said it set payment dates for a polysilicon supply deal it holds with Solarfun Power Holdings Co. Ltd (SOLF).

Shares of Hawaii-based Hoku jumped 42 cents, or 18 percent, to $2.77 in midday trading. Solarfun shares fell 15 cents to $7.32 per share.

In May 2008, Hoku’s subsidiary Hoku Materials Inc. agreed to supply polysilicon to Solarfun unit Solarfun Power Hong Kong Ltd. over a ten-year period. Polysilicon is a key material used in making solar energy products.

Hoku plans to supply the product once construction is completed at its Idaho polysilicon manufacturing plant. In September, Hoku said construction was scheduled to be completed two phases. A 2,500 metric tons of polysilicon production capacity should be completed by March 2010 and the full 4,000 metric tons of capacity should be completed by the end of 2010.

Under the agreement, Solarfun had paid $37 million as a prepayment for future polysilicon deliveries. As of last week Solarfun still held a $13 million past-due balance that was due between July and October. Hoku said last Friday Solarfun paid $8 million of its past-due balance and agreed to pay $4 million in March 2010 and $1 million when Hoku begins its shipment of polysilicon to the China-based solar cell maker.

Solarfun agreed to pay a remaining $5 million balance due January 2010 in $1 million monthly increments in each of the five subsequent months after the month of the first shipment.

JASO, STP Upgraded By Weisel To Market Weight

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

By Eric Savitz
barrons.com

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

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

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

In today’s trading:

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

Enbridge and First Solar Agree on 60 MW Renewable Energy Expansion at Sarnia

Filed under: FSLR — Tags: , , , — Jason @ 9:00 am

Initial 20 MW Sarnia Solar Project achieves commercial operations

9:00 am EST, Tuesday December 8, 2009

CALGARY, ALBERTA AND TEMPE, ARIZONA–(Marketwire – 12/08/09) – Enbridge Inc. (ENB) and First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) announced today that they have entered into an agreement to expand the Sarnia Solar Project from 20 megawatts of capacity to 80 megawatts (MW), with a total system cost of approximately CDN $300 million for the expansion. When completed in the second half of 2010, it is expected to be the largest photovoltaic solar energy facility in North America.

Enbridge and First Solar announced in October an agreement for Enbridge to acquire the initial 20 MW solar energy project that First Solar developed at the Sarnia site. This project achieved full commercial operation on December 7, 2009.

“We’re delighted to further strengthen our relationship with First Solar,” said Patrick D. Daniel, President and Chief Executive Officer, Enbridge, Inc. “First Solar has delivered the initial 20 MW as committed – demonstrating their strong technical competence combined with attention to meaningful community engagement and corporate social responsibility practices that align with our own values.

“Enbridge has made significant strides in growing its green energy business in 2009. With this investment, we will have interests in more than 470 megawatts of green power capacity from our five wind energy projects, expanded solar facilities, four waste heat recovery facilities and the world’s first commercial application of hybrid-fuel cell technology.”

“We welcome this new investment from Enbridge to expand the Sarnia project,” said Bruce Sohn, President of First Solar. “It demonstrates confidence in First Solar’s Engineering, Procurement and Construction team, which has recently completed the first 20 MW at Sarnia.”

Mr. Daniel noted that solar energy is a key component of Enbridge’s environmental performance strategy to invest in renewable and alternative energy sources that complement Enbridge’s core operations and provide environmental benefits.

“Our increased investment in the Sarnia Solar Project maintains risk and return characteristics which are fully consistent with Enbridge’s low-risk business model, and similar to our crude oil pipeline business,” said Mr. Daniel. “The expansion of the Sarnia Solar Project will take advantage of the capacity of the Sarnia site to accommodate additional capacity. Following on our recently announced wind energy project, the Sarnia solar expansion provides a good balance in our renewable energy portfolio between solar and wind.”

Subject to the satisfaction of certain conditions precedent, First Solar will construct the solar project for Enbridge under a fixed price engineering, procurement and construction contract, utilizing its thin film photovoltaic technology. First Solar’s advanced thin film technology has been deployed in 1.5 gigawatts of installations in the U.S. and Europe.

The 60 MW phase of the project is expected to begin construction in December and be completed by December 2010. At 80 MW, Enbridge expects the Sarnia Solar Project will generate enough power to meet the needs of over 12,800 homes and help to save the equivalent of approximately 39,000 tonnes of CO2 per year.

First Solar will also provide operations and maintenance services to Enbridge under a long-term contract. The power output of the 80 MW facility will be sold to the Ontario Power Authority pursuant to 20-year Power Purchase Agreements under the terms of the Ontario Government’s Renewable Energy Standard Offer Program.

“Our recent investments in green energy projects in Ontario – including the 99 MW Talbot Wind Energy Project, our 190 MW Enbridge Ontario Wind Project, and the Sarnia Solar Project – are evidence of Enbridge’s commitment to advancing environmentally preferred energy solutions, and of the value of the Ontario government’s proactive support and encouragement of investment within the province,” said Mr. Daniel.

Sarnia Solar Energy at a glance:

Capacity peak: approx. 80,000 kilowatts

Module surface area: approx. 973,000 m2; approx. 1.3 million thin film modules (First Solar)

Annual yield: approx. 120 million kWh (corresponding to the annual consumption of over 12,800 households)

CO2 saving: over 39,000 tonnes per year

About Enbridge

Enbridge Inc., a Canadian company, is a North American leader in delivering energy. As a transporter of energy, Enbridge operates, in Canada and the U.S., the world’s longest crude oil and liquids transportation system. The Company also has a growing involvement in the natural gas transmission and midstream businesses, and is expanding its interests in renewable and green energy technologies including wind and solar energy, hybrid fuel cells and carbon dioxide sequestration. As a distributor of energy, Enbridge owns and operates Canada’s largest natural gas distribution company, and provides distribution services in Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick and New York State. Enbridge employs approximately 6,000 people, primarily in Canada and the U.S. Enbridge’s common shares trade on the Toronto and New York stock exchanges under the symbol ENB. For more information, visit enbridge.com.

December 7, 2009

Solar ETFs Rally As Climate Talks Start

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Industry Developments

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

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

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

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

(more…)

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.

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