Tuesday, July 31, 2007
Don't we know that there is going to be an overreaction in selling FSLR? It seems to me that the overreaction is already happening.
By all means, do what you think best to protect yourself, but I'm thinking: don't forget the pluses.
FSLR Stock taking a long-awaited hit is not going to stop them from completing their new production facilities; it's not going to suddenly wipe out the lessons in efficiency and technical knowledge held by employees of the company. This company is solid; they are leading the pack in producing a product that is in growing demand, and they've got a major jump on any approaching competition in thin films.
Are the Waltons going to just throw in the towel on this company because the company's profits didn't blow away expectations? I don't think so.
Heck, how long will it be before Cramer is clamoring to get back in.
I don't know, but this might be an opportunity for other Solar companies that have been getting less attention. Here's a list of companies: http://www.americansolareconomy.com/MarketDataMain.aspx (takes a few seconds to load data), or it could be an opportunity for other cleantech as green investors look elsewhere for a time to put their money.
In any case, good luck all.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
Based on some news searches, I've come up with some rough estimates of upcoming solar capacity.
Feel free to correct me if you have corrections or additions.
Note: This list includes only public companies listed on American Exchanges. It does not include any of the numerous foreign public companies, and no private manufacturers.
This also only includes PV annual capacity, and do not include other solar technologies like Solar Concentration or Direct Heating systems.
LDK 1,600 MW End 2009 Reference
SPWR 400 MW End 2009 Reference
JASO 175 MW Unknown Reference
FSLR 275 MW FY08 Reference
ESLR 100 MW End 2007 Reference
KYO 500 MW End March 2011 Reference
STP 1 GW End of 2010 Reference
SOLF 50 MW Current Reference
CSIQ 250 MW Nov 2007 Reference
I'd put a rough total on this as 3.75 Annual GW by the end of 2010.
Let's look for more capacity in private or foreign companies:
Sharp 600 MW Current Reference
Ovonic 300 MW 2008 Reference
Shell 25 MW Current Reference
E-Ton 260 MW End 2008 Reference
Honda 27.5 MW End 2007 Reference
Mitsubishi 230 MW Current Reference
Aleo 10 MW Current Reference
Equation 60 MW 2010 Reference
Photowatt 60 MW Current Reference
PowerFilm 24 MW 2010 Reference
Nevada One Concentrator 64 MW Current Reference
Add these up for 1.66 Additional Annual GW by the end of 2010.
So, the total is 5.41 Annual GW Capacity by 2010.
Note: This is very rough.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
(Wording placed here for future reference and use)
I wanted to point out a company, called Composite Technologies (CPTC).
This company has recently bought EU Energy, the makers of DeWind Turbines (up to 2MW).
Understood before I go on, I own stock in this company, and am only providing info and links, with some commentary. I'm not a professional stockpicker, and don't presume to make decisions for anyone but myself. Take a look at this info and other sources, as any decisions are your own.
The other day, Barrons was my first exposure to CPTC, in their list of 5 green stock picks.
( see: http://blogs.barrons.com/techtraderdaily/2007/07/15/in-this-weeks-barrons-green-stocks-indian-internet-plays-flex-ibm-infn-and-more/ )
DeWind's electrical design allows them to sell their turbines in North America without running into GE patents. This is an asset to their business, as they are free to make sales in the US / Canada market, in which competitive forces are depressed by GE patents.
( for technological info, see: http://www.compositetechcorp.com/Press%20Releases%20-%20PDF/CPTC_press%20release_2005_12_19_ver12%20final-b%20EU%20Energy.pdf )
In addition to a limited-competition market, CPTC is in a market where the existing turbine manufacturers are not able to meet demand. There are projects waiting for turbines.
( see WSJ article on turbine shortage: http://www.charleston.net/news/2007/jul/15/turbine_shortage_knocks_wind_out_projects/ )
CPTC is not listed on a major exchange, they are a bulletin board stock. On the other hand, if you look around you might come to a similar conclusion that I did, which is that they are a solid company. Their turbines just recieved certification in Germany. From the below link: "This is an independent third party assessment that these turbine components are expected to achieve a 20 year design life under conditions that are a close approximation to IEC Class IIA wind conditions."
( see: http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stories.pl?ACCT=104&STORY=/www/story/07-16-2007/0004625919&EDATE= )
Anyway, check them out if you'd like. Personally, I've been looking to own a piece of wind since reading up on German Developments in wind after 9/11. It's a tough market for a company to get into, though, because GE has so much control over the market through their patents, so the investment options have amounted to buying stock in GE, or in the various foreign companies like Vestas. Now Composite Technology is another option for those interested in investing in Wind.
Of course, maybe this is old news to some. :)
Friday, July 27, 2007
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I'm going to buy.
I know that alot of people buying today have no plans to keep the stock for any length of time. They sell at various points and put downward pressure on the stock. On the other hand, there will be many tomorrow for whom this is still news, and they're going to buy in on the long term future.
Though Akeena might dip below today's levels at some point, I'm neither going to count on it, nor wait for it. It'll be up in the end.
In the long term, Akeena is going to have many opportunities to get rich. As it is, they are getting efficient at what they do, they are developing a specialized installation force just by their existance, they're able to be picky about who they buy from, and they get to choose smart expansion into US States as those states become beneficial to them.
I woke up this morning in a hurry. I had to take a kitty to the vet and get to work, so when I got up I was in a rush, I saw that Sunpower was down, which was exactly what I was counting on not happening, and I immediately sold it all. It was about a wash. I didn't have time to look at the details, and I wanted to minimize loss.
I'm really bummed that I missed out on the Akeena news. If I had seen "NASDAQ" and "Akeena" together, I'd have been all over it. I don't know what to do about Akeena tomorrow. If I do anything, it will be on margin, so not ideal.
So, now I'm spread out between COMV, ASTI, CPTC, and LDK.
As it is, it looks like Sunpower is holding up nicely. That's good news. If I had infinite funds at this point, I'd be buying Sunpower Panels, but it seems that Sunpower isn't showing the kind of growth that's getting investors in other companies excited. I think they're definately building a base for the future, but they've got stiff competition in a market that's driving for affordability.
I heard about COMV at about $30, but couldn't get it at the time. I've been watching it drop for the last couple days, and figured that it was at a fair price, and well, since I had the money...
I've done very well with ASTI a little while ago, and was a little unhappy that I had sold it. I snatched up a bit of it.
Looking at the chart for CPTC, I was thinking, I don't like the idea of buying in on the kind of slope that I was buying on, but then thinking about it, I'm buying into American wind. I've been wanting that for a very long time, since 2001, really. At $2 per share for an apparently very solid little company in a market that is currently incapable of meeting demand, it seems to me that the only way to go is up.
So, that's my thinking for now.
Wednesday, July 18, 2007
Composite Technology Corporation
They build wind Turbines.
Here's an article on Wind Turbines and their current shortage from the WSJ.
I'm not buying any yet, but it's on my list.
I hesitate to publically guess what earnings for Sunpower will be like tomorrow.
However, I've been buying up SPWR over the last 3 weeks or so, so I'm hopeful.
Here's a good article from Forbes, which gives a briefing on Sunpower's business.
I like efficiency, and I believe so will corporate decision-makers when choosing to implement future solar projects.
Whatever tomorrow's earnings are like, Sunpower is serious about their business. On top of highly efficient panels, they've just ordered up enough silicon to make 2 Gigawatts worth of them over 10 years starting in 2010.
In any case, no matter what happens to Sunpower tomorrow, I think we're going to have an exciting batch of earnings reported throughout the Solar Industry. Alot of companies are going to demonstrate the nature of that real growth, which in the end, is what supports the prices of the stocks.
Monday, July 16, 2007
Sunday, July 15, 2007
Thursday, July 12, 2007
My house is 100 years old. They weren't thinking about mounting Solar Panels on the roof when they decided on the direction of the face. We do, however, have a good chunk of land.
On the bigger picture, I think that there could be a heck of a market for pole mounted systems because they are so easy to install (relatively), and thus much cheaper than a major roof job. Also, I know that there are many houses that do not have ideal roofs for a solar installation, and for some, the pole mounted option would be the right solution.
They are also nicely scaleable, as you could add more as long as you have the land and the inverter capacity.
I'd want to not skimp on panels, though. The most efficient per unit area would be the way to go.
EDIT: I think another advantage of these where possible would be due to the fact that rooftop systems collect heat, which lower the panel efficiency, whereas these wouldn't have that problem. For the rooftop systems it looks like cogeneration is in order, where the panels generate electricity and a solar thermal system removes heat in order to heat the home, or water, etc.
Wednesday, July 11, 2007
Compromise Measure Aims to Limit Global Warming
The complex measure, sponsored by Senators Jeff Bingaman, Democrat of New Mexico, and Arlen Specter, Republican of Pennsylvania, would put in place a firm limit on emissions of heat-trapping gases that most scientists say are causing the warming of the planet. Like other so-called cap-and-trade schemes, it would allow companies to buy and sell the right to emit carbon dioxide, which is seen as the chief culprit in global warming.
But to secure labor and corporate support, the measure also places a limit on the price industry would have to pay for such permits. And to win the endorsement of Alaska’s two Republican senators, the bill contains billions of dollars in new money to help their state cope with the effects of climate change on roads, bridges and coastal areas.
I'm torn on this. Of course, I'd rather have a superior bill, like one that we might get after 2008, but on the other hand, this sounds to me like quite a reasonable bill, considering the difficulty in getting the support of the affected unions, as well as many of the affected corporate interests.
I'd be perfectly happy if this passes; to my knowledge this bill is actually separate from the Energy Bill that they've been working on, and that will address much that this one doesn't. On the other hand, if it fails, then we'll just have to wait until there's a new President and a more Democratic Congress.
There is one thing that I do find offensive about this bill, though, and that's the "Billions of Dollars" that will go to Alaska in order to "help them cope." Come on. That money is a payoff to the Senators for their support of the bill. Alaska really doesn't need this money, they still have oil, and they're still going to be pumping it. Should coal states get cash in order to "cope?" What about states that have been proactive and have been working hard to invest in and develop clean, renewable energy prior to the US Government forcing that change with legislation.
No, Alaska should not be getting Billions of Charity Dollars in return for supporting Global Warming Legislation. If we don't pay them off, and they kill the bill, how much money is Alaska going to pay to the other states that will be having to "cope" with the environmental affects of Global Warming?
As long as Alaskans can count on their Senators to get away with these kind of counterproductive giveaways they're going to keep voting in the same corrupt breed of person.
It seems that though the State of Alaska only cost $11 Million Dollars to buy, the cost of maintaining the State is in the Billions.
I lost money on SPWR, and TSL. I didn't sell, though. I'll be watchful to see if it looks like I'm going to lose alot of money, but I'd like to hold out until Sunpower announces earnings on the 19th.
First Solar was due to announce at the end of the month but have made noises like they might do it early. I'll be pissed if they do it before Sunpower and take the steam off that one.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Well, the news of the day, of course, is the big move by FSLR. Though I don't make any money off of First Solar right now, I still love to hear the news that they're making a great impact on the market, and the perceptions of those watching. The fact that analysts are starting to really look out 3-5 years into the future in terms of value is a very big deal. Also, the more news FSLR generates in terms of news of outstanding growth, the more eyes in the world focus on the realistic possibility of Solar Energy at a very large scale.
The exciteable person that I am would love to forget the theory that I've been going on, and and jump into the fray by buying some First Solar.
I managed to stay strong.
I did, however, sell my AKNS and my LDK (I may have been hasty on dumping LDK) and convert those funds to Sunpower. Sunpower didn't move much today, but I'm still figuring, even more so now, that when First Solar starts moving down (which it will at some point), some of that money, at least, is going to want to stay in Solar, and will flow downhill to what appears to be a near equivalent, but much cheaper company.
SPWR will be announcing earnings on the 19th, and I'm gambling on good results (I have no reason to believe otherwise based on anything that I've seen).
"Algae only uses water as its source for hydrogen, which allows researchers to produce very high yields per acre — maybe 50 to 100 times more than soy or canola while using 1 percent to 2 percent of the water, Willson said."
If these numbers were to be demonstrated... damn... what a solution.
"Last month, the Senate made NOPEC part of its energy measure by a vote of 70-23. In May, the House approved it 345-72 as a stand-alone bill. NOPEC's inclusion in the House energy bill appears likely because it has the backing of Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the California Democrat who is House speaker."
Wow! This is the first I've heard of this. The reference to the WSJ article is via Huffingtonpost.
This would be a very large level in relating to OPEC, and I'm thankful to see that it has bipartisan support.
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Gore gets the green, so can you
The article contains some good bits of info.
One particular point from the article:
"He (Robert Wilder, cofounder of the WilderHill Clean Energy Index) has few positive things to say about the prospects for fuel cells and hydrogen power, which he says have been grossly over-hyped over the years. He's also skeptical about the environmental benefits of ethanol."
I'd just point out that I agree here, thus my focus on solar investing for the time being).
On the other hand, in a Live Earth Interview (linked on a previous post), Gore states that he believes that cellulosic ethanol techniques are on the way within three years, and that the current infrastructure that's being built is welcome (paraphrased). So, it will definately be worth watching for biotech IPO's that will be providing these technologies.
Though I am writing about solar stocks pretty frequently, I'm not a terribly experienced picker of stocks. I do have some experience over the years, and I've done more than my share of studying of issues of economics, politics, and energy.
I have a BS in Physics, so energy has been one of my biggest area of study, though I don't work in the field; I'm in IT at a Health Insurance company.
They say "invest in what you know," and so that's what I'm doing, and that's what I'm writing about, and continually learning more about.
The last thing I want to do is send someone in the wrong direction.
On the other hand, I feel like right now the opportunity is so great in getting involved in investing in these companies, which, barring some economic meltdown, are going to be tomorrow's behemoth energy corporations.
I can only ask the reader to not ever take my word for it. Of course, they shouldn't take Cramer's word for it, either.
Jim Kramer says "There isn't a price people won't pay for stocks like FSLR, explained Cramer, because when using 2012 estimates on the stock, it is "dirt cheap.""
As I've said before, I'm not going to take Cramer's statements at face value. In fact, I think it's likely that more often than not, he's full of crap. At the very least, he talks to his audience as if they were children, which is insulting.
In any case, he is saying something interesting here. He's jumped from looking at these stocks not as they are valued now, but in 2012, and he's very optimistic. I can't say that I know his reasoning, but that's an important change in perception.
In any case, I'm still not going to buy First Solar. I'm in SPWR, TSL, LDK, and AKNS, and I figure that some of that money directed by Cramer is going to come my way, even without me taking what I see as additional risk in FSLR which is pushing the envelope.
As usual, I'll say I'm not a master of the markets... if I'm wrong, I'd love to hear why.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
From this 30 minute interview with Gore he makes the following statement:
"... see saturday, 7/7/07, as the great launch, where we really have, it's like a kick-off, it's a wakeup call, SOS, and ask people to answer that call, and then launch the intensive messaging that will get us across the tipping point."
Gore isn't done talking about this, he's just getting started, and he surely won't be alone.
SYDNEY, Australia — Live Earth got a traditional Aboriginal welcome in Australia and a high-tech virtual one in Japan, as the 24-hour global concert series to raise awareness about climate change kicked off Saturday.
Al Gore made appearances at both _ as a hologram in Tokyo and via live video link with Sydney _ urging rock fans to join the fight against global warming.
Sounds like a good start. Also sounds like they might still be able to do something in Washington DC.
I'm recording what I can of it, as I'll not be around tomorrow, and there's always online options (www.liveearth.org).
As for those who are scoffing at the concept of "celebs" flying around the world, using fossil energy, and blasting away with stacks of speakers, again using fossil energy, and suggesting that this in some way invalidates the point of the concerts; I'd just like to point out that the other option is to do nothing at all.
Any action requires energy.
Action on a Global Scale, which Live Earth represents, requires a large amount of energy.
The vast majority of the energy supply on Earth is Fossil-based. Therefore, in order to take any action at all requires Carbon Emission.
So, if action is required to move the World Economy towards Carbon Neutrality, and yet action is not allowed simply because it causes Carbon Emmissions, then there can be no transition at all towards a Carbon-Neutral Economy, and so we settle for a future devoid of alternatives to Fossil Energy.
Bonus Info: Solar Web Hosting Company Powers Live Earth Sites
Double Bonus: Gore Brings Surprise Live Earth Concert to Washington
Triple Bonus: Garth Brooks will be at the Washington show. Now, last I checked, Mr. Brooks and the majority of his fans are not Moveon Liberals.
Friday, July 6, 2007
I've been thinking alot about Biodiesel of late. I can't help it, I know that it is about to burst wide open with the IPO of Imperium.
On the other hand, the name of my blog is AmericanSolarEconomy, so by discussing Bio-Energy, I'm straying from the main topic.
The simplest solution, of course, is to simply include those topics in this blog, and on the main site at www.AmericanSolarEconomy.com.
To support this solution, I came up with a rationale, which I wasn't quite satisfied with until just a few minutes ago. The rationale states that Bio-Energies are, in fact, rooted in "Solar Energy." For instance, to produce Biodiesel, you need vegetable oil. The energy that is packed into that oil comes from plants which are absorbing the energy from the sun.
Think of it this way. Given some land surface area, you can make use of the Solar Energy radiated on that area either by absorbing that energy using photovoltaics to convert it to electricity*, or by using crops (algae?) to absorb and store that energy as oil. There is a definite parallel, and it could be said that PV is simply a semicondoctor-based approach to solar energy absorbtion, whereas Bio is crop-based.
So anyway, I'll be talking about Biofuels here, and expanding the main site to be inclusive. It's the right thing to do.
* Or by concentrating the energy in order to generate electricy via heat-based generator.
Monday, July 2, 2007
I just had an exciting thought.
Now, I sold FSLR at $72 thinking it would go down. It hasn't.
Think about this. As long as FSLR keeps rising in value and multiples, it affects the psychology of the industry and the stockholders. People are much more likely to believe that something can be done after they've seen it done. The higher that FSLR is able to stretch its value, the greater the range within which other Solar Stocks have to grow without breaking psychologically new territory.
Mistake No. 3: Buying the hype
China is growing wildly, and Sina (Nasdaq: SINA) is a big player in the Chinese Internet industry. With a fast-growing middle class, the eastern nation's population will be looking to play more games online -- just like people in the states do. But the Internet revolution will seem like a blip compared with what will happen with nanotechnology. And with oil so high, the need for alternate energy sources becomes even more pronounced.
All that's true. But that doesn't mean you can buy any Chinese video game stock or leading solar developer Suntech Power (NYSE: STP) and expect to make a quick fortune. After all, 3COM (Nasdaq: COMS) was an intriguing networking play at a time when the world's computing technology was shifting into the Internet age, yet investors who bought at the highs still lost money.
Hype usually involves some truth, but says little about whether something will be a good investment. When confronted with large demographic, political, or technological trends, never just assume that the trend will provide a sufficient tailwind to power your portfolio.
Instead, examine the company-specific factors. A tailwind is nice, but it's critical to understand the competitive advantages of companies in the space. Ask yourself why this company will be able to exploit the trend better than its competitors. Nike, for instance, recognized early that cheap Asian manufacturing could revolutionize the athletic shoe industry, and it has since flourished. Well-intentioned imitators have not.
Yes, avoid the hype. Keep a cool head. That's difficult at times. I have so much tied to the success of Alt Energy right now, not just financially, but emotionally. I feel so strongly that we must change our path away from oil, that it is naturally difficult to harbor thoughts like "oh crap, the solar market is about to shrink, and I'm going to lose money in every investment." Well, the possibility exists, of course, but considering all of the forces up on the stock vs the forces down, I can't help but end up very optimistic, at least until the bio-diesel and algae-biotech IPO's start up.
So, I'll try to keep a cool head. I'm trying to pick stocks that will allow me to sleep at night. This means that barring an economic meltdown I have no reason to believe that the company is going to crash before I wake up the next day. DSTI is on the list of stocks that I'm not at all interested in betting on, not until they're serious about building a crapload of PV capacity.
As for the Fool, I'll look at what they tell me, but on the other hand, I know that no matter how much experience they might have, to simply go along with them would be the true act of a fool. I'll try to learn from their experience, but I'm not going to do them the favor of picking companies based up their vision of the future.
Let's see, sold some Akeena (AKNS), bought Trina (TSL).
Still hanging onto SPWR and ASTI.
Today was great, but I'm not inspired with a feeling for what tomorrow is going to look like.
I did go to my Credit Union to buy some Euros, and talked to the loan officer there about the future, and particularly the eventual growth in residential solar*. Also showed my webpage to two of the VP's at work. Did my best to support alts in a very short time, and ended with info on Imperium Renewables and Solazyme. Oh well, I've done my part for the day. Next time they hear or see a reference to solar (or biodiesel) then ideally the impact will be slightly strengthened by the fact that I just went up to them and pointed out some of the basics and potentials.
* More to come.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Just noted this factoid:
PG&E has interconnected more than 15,000 customer-owned solar-generating systems to the power grid -- representing more than 110 megawatts and more than any other utility in the nation. In San Francisco, PG&E has helped interconnect almost 600 of these solar systems. For more information on PG&E's environmental efforts, please visit http://www.pge.com/environment.
The other night I watched a Senate Committee hearing on Cap and Trade. The panel included the head of PG&E (PCG), and he was in strong support of Cap and Trade, as were the heads of Duke Energy (DUK) and Florida Power and Light (FPL).
There was some disagreement about specifics, but the atmosphere of the meeting suggested pretty clearly that cap and trade was in the works, and was going to get a Bill.
Of course, there were detractors, but they were laughable, other than the head of the US Chamber of Commerce, who clearly has a great deal of influence with Senators in both Parties. Examples of detractors included a fellow from the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who opened his testimony with a quote and reference to Jonah Goldberg, and Robert Murray of Murray Coal, who was pretty well unhinged throughout his testimony, including claiming that the Clean Air Act was the cause of Divorces.