Friday, March 27, 2009

Solar Stocks Average Up Over 41% for Week

Three stocks up over 70%

If the key 20 Solar Stocks Index (20SSI) were a Broadway show premiering March 9, the reviews would be boffo. The last minute surge on the date marks the beginning of a young bull market that's seen the Dow up 5.53% and the NASDAQ up 6.15%. Not to be outdone is the 20SSI rising a stupendous 54.25% from the opening bell March 9 through end of trading today.

This week was the biggie with DJIA up 6.83%; NASDAQ +6.03% and this index rocketing 41.54%. Three gainers were up 70% or more: Entech Solar, Evergreen Solar and JA Solar with four more in the 60-70% range. As mentioned in yesterday's post the reasons range from guaranteed loans for solar manufacturers; fat contracts for utility-scale projects getting underway; and the SEIA's report that 2008 was the third straight record-breaking year for growth in the PV industry.

There's another reason, too, that should not be overlooked. Despite the weather in parts of the country, it is springtime, a time when people get serious about installing solar to ease their power bills this summer thanks to that modern-day wonder called air conditioning. A good 40% of a typical summer electricity bill--commercial or residential--is just for keeping cool. For those smart--and lucky--enough, that abundance of summertime sun can be converted to the coolness of an oasis with solar technology. Better yet for our country it creates badly needed jobs while it reduces emissions. Bearing those factors in mind, solar stocks seem a pretty safe bet.

Week of March 23-27, 2009

Monday Open Friday Close Up/Down % Change Close 1/5/09
Dow Jones DJIA 7278.38 7776.18 +497.80 +6.830% 8952.89
NASDAQ 1457.27 1545.20 +87.93 +6.030 1628.03

Akeena Solar AKNS .75 1.11 +.36 +48.00 2.28
Amtel Systems ASYS 3.06 3.46 +.40 +48.00 4.00
Applied Materials AMAT 10.21 11.23 +1.02 +9.990 10.67
Canadian Solar CSIQ 4.50 5.76 +1.26 +28.00 7.00
ECD (UniSolar) ENER 13.23 15.77 +2.54 +19.191 29.33
Entech Solar ENSL.OB .1851 +.32 +.1349 +72.87 .28
Evergreen Solar ESLR 1.37 2.33 +.96 +70.00 3.60
First Solar FSLR 120.37 147.36 +27.99 +22.42 157.80
GT Solar Int. SOLR 3.89 4.22 +.33 +15.17 4.00
JA Solar JASO 2.31 3.93 +1.62 +70.12 5.09
Kyocera KYO 67.49 68.07 +.58 +.0085 71.87
LDK Solar LDK 4.27 7.19 +2.92 +68.38 14.84
MEMC Elect. WFR 14.88 18.38 +3.50 +23.52 15.76
Renesola SOL 2.35 3.70 +1.35 +57.84 5.15
Satcon SATC 1.25 1.63 +.37 +30.04 1.60
SolarFun SOLF 3.55 4.67 +1.12 +31.55 6.12
SunPower SPWRA 22.42 25.30 +2.83 +12.59 45.13
SunTech STP 6.91 11.65 +4.74 +68.59 13.55
Trina Solar TSL 7.49 12.33 +4.84 +64.62 10.09
Yingli YGE 3.77 6.15 +2.38 +63.12 7.25
Percent change all 20 stocks this week:



Thursday, March 26, 2009

PV Industry Having Great Week

If you haven't been watching, solar stocks are doing well again this week. Tomorrow's update will show just how good. Here are some other good signs for the PV industry:

Thin-film maker First Solar Inc (FSLR) has been contracted to build a 30-megawatt photovoltaic power plant with power cooperative Tri-State Generation and Transmission Association in Northeastern New Mexico, both companies reported Tuesday.

Called Cimarron I Solar Project it will be located on a 250-acre parcel of land in New Mexico's Colfax County and produce enough power to serve 9,000 homes. Completion is expected by the end of next year. It will use 500,000 First Solar panels made of copper, indium, germanium and selenium (CIGS).

Although specific financial terms were not released Tri-State has contracted to purchase the electricity output for 25 years in a power purchase agreement. (Reuters, 3/25/09)
Solyndra Inc., a privately-held solar cell manufacturer, is the first recipient of an offer for a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) loan guarantee under Title XVII of the Energy Policy Act of 2005. Solyndra, a Fremont, California-based manufacturer of innovative cylindrical photovoltaic systems, will use the proceeds of a $535 million loan from the U.S. Treasury's Federal Financing Bank to expand its solar panel manufacturing capacity in California.

"The DOE Loan Guarantee Program funding will enable Solyndra to achieve the economies of scale needed to deliver solar electricity at prices that are competitive with utility rates. This expansion is really about creating new jobs while meaningfully impacting global warming," said Solyndra CEO and founder, Dr. Chris Gronet. Most solar incentives are geared to assist end-users to purchase PV systems. The DOE loan guarantee affords solar panel and related equipment makers assistance needed to expand. The country's desperate need to create more jobs makes such a program all the more timely. (more at
Despite last year's drooping economy it was the third straight record year for growth in the solar industry. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) released its 2008 U.S. Solar Industry Year in Review today, highlighting 2008's record growth. The report notes that 1,265 megawatts (MW) of solar power of all types were installed in 2008, bringing total U.S. solar power capacity up 17 percent to 8,775 MW. The 2008 figure included 342 MW of solar photovoltaic (PV), 139 MWTh (thermal equivalent) of solar water heating, 762 MWTh of pool heating and an estimated 21 MW of solar space heating and cooling. SEIA is the recognized solar advocate for the industry in Washington.


Friday, March 20, 2009

March 16-20: Solar Stocks Up Second Straight Week

Gain was anemic, but up is up

If the trend on Wall Street meets the hopes of Main Street then March 9 could have been the end of the recent bear market going back to last May. The Dow ended up a second straight week gaining 54.40 points or .7575%; the NASDAQ up 25.77, +1.8%. The Key Solar 20 were up an anemic .1381% but up nevertheless. Big gainers were Canadian Solar and Solar Fun. ECD (UniSolar) took the largest hit dropping 5.89, a 30.81% decline for the week.

Implementation of solar's benefits in the stimulus package are in fledgling stages. Solar manufacturer's who are getting the 30% tax investment for themselves for the first time likely will take advantage of the incentive if they are not being stymied by the credit crunch. Something's bound to give because homeowners and businesses--in California, anyway--are looking to install solar this year

As for the overall stock outlook, MarketWatch reports analysts touting the three "9-to-1 up" days since March 9. A "9-to-1 up" day refers to the volume of all NYSE-listed stocks that go up on a single day. If the number of rising stocks is the same as declining stocks volume, the ratio would be 50%. So a "9-to-1 up" day is when 90% of the total volume is up on a single day.

Such a large imbalance of up-volume "is a significant sign of positive momentum. In other words, when daily up volume leads down volume by a ration of 9-to-1 or more, that tends to be an important signal on stocks," writes Martin Zweig in his 1986 book Winning on Wall Street.

An even more bullish signal is several "9-to-1 up" days in a short period of time, said Zweig. The theory was tested recently by a finance professor and his students at Baruch College. Using historical data from 1942 through this February, the results were appreciably positive. Read more at:{811E2796-2456-4BF7-AEA4-8F7F73BF78D8}&dist=SecMostRead

Week of March 16-20, 2009

Monday Open Friday Close Up/Down % Change Close 1/5/09
Dow Jones DJIA 7223.98 7278.38 +54.40 +.7575% 8952.89
NASDAQ 1431.50 1457.27 +25.77 +1.80 1628.03

Akeena Solar AKNS .6702 .75 +.0798 +11.90 2.28
Amtel Systems ASYS 3.30 3.06 -.24 -7.28 4.00
Applied Materials AMAT 10.49 10.21 -.28 -2.33 10.67
Canadian Solar CSIQ 3.72 4.50 +.78 +20.96 7.00
ECD (UniSolar) ENER 19.12 13.23 -5.89 -30.81 29.33
Entech Solar ENSL.OB .1950 .1851 -.0099 .-5.08 .28
Evergreen Solar ESLR 1.42 1.37 -.05 -3.53 3.60
First Solar FSLR 129.55 120.37 -9.18 -7.09 157.80
GT Solar Int. SOLR 3.89 4.22 +.33 +15.17 4.00
JA Solar JASO 2.30 2.31 +.01 +.0043 5.09
Kyocera KYO 64.80 67.49 +2.69 +4.15 71.87
LDK Solar LDK 4.55 4.27 -.28 -6.16 14.84
MEMC Elect. WFR 15.43 14.88 -.55 -3.57 15.76
Renesola SOL 2.26 2.35 +.09 +3.98 5.15
Satcon SATC 1.21 1.25 +.04 +3.30 1.60
SolarFun SOLF 2.80 3.55 +.75 +26.78 6.12
SunPower SPWRA 24.38 22.42 -1.91 -7.84 45.13
SunTech STP 6.88 6.91 +.03 +.0044 13.55
Trina Solar TSL 7.39 7.49 +.10 +.0135 10.09
Yingli YGE 4.18 3.77 -.41 -9.81 7.25
Percent change all 20 stocks this week:



Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Solar Burgeoning in Italy; Even UK Getting On-Board

Despite the gloomy world economy, solar power is still in growth mode. Granted, financial incentives to go solar are required to spur the paradigm shift from conventional electricity sources. Most incentives in the U.S. are cash rebates and tax credits while Europe seems to favor feed-in tariffs. Germany, Spain and Italy are the leaders over there.

Today, solar is burgeoning in Italy as the country now pays up to .49 Euros (about 64 cents) per kilowatt hour produced by the sun. This is larger than those tariffs offered by Spain and Germany, the world's leader in photovoltaic installations. Italy's generous tariff is encouraging start-ups such as V-energy in Milan which is being funded by shareholders and regional development programs in that country.

"The market is good, despite the crisis. The main to get bank financing. But the incentives are so appealing that people go for it," said Miriam Dase, a V-energy consultant.

Better yet, the feed-in tariff approved in 2007, is guaranteed for all kWh produced for 20 years, making the PV sector a safe haven type of investment. As one Italian PV professional said it is like investment in government bonds with a bigger yield. Italy's good sunshine and hefty incentive allows PV system operators to get payback in 8-10 years, faster than any other European country.


The UK government has committed to introducing a feed-in tariff by 2010. This goal is bolstered by recent research which said 91% of Britons would consider buying PV systems if the "price is right."

The current price per kWh is 15p (about 21 cents) and PV owners are getting up to 20p from certain energy suppliers. The survey found that 90% of the public would bite on solar if the feed-in tariff was set at 50p per kWh, about 70 cents. This would be the highest such tariff to be implemented in Europe. The survey also showed feed-in tariffs are a much bigger incentive for British consumers than a grant for the same purpose. Finally, the research revealed Britons believe the country has not done enough to promote renewable energy technology. A healthy tariff could turn that around quickly.


Saturday, March 14, 2009

March 9-13: Solar Stocks Top Dow, NASDAQ

Rare four-day upswing...

For the fourth consecutive day, the Dow Jones Industrial Average gained and the NASDAQ followed suit. At day's end, the Dow finished at 7223.98, an even 9% up from Monday's 6626.95 open; the NASDAQ gained 137.65 points, 10.63% up for the week.

This embryonic surge that began on Tuesday with a 389-point gain is welcome, to say the least, but does it mean that Monday, March 9 marked the pivotal end to one of the worst bear markets in American history is anyone's guess. As for solar stocks however, I give a qualified "Yes."

All but three of the key 20 Solar Stocks Index (20SSI) finished not only higher this week but a glossy 12.57% average gain. Big winners were Evergreen Solar, Amtel Systems, SunTech, Canadian Solar and Applied Materials. Losers showed modest drops except for Entech Solar which appears to be staying afloat only by laying off personnel.

Granted, if this is a real turnaround it's much too early to tell. However, with recent DOE reports that available coal supplies are much less than forecast and CO2 levels accelerating faster than ever, the road to solar and wind is the de facto route for clean, renewable energy production. Solar stock investments could be the new GM, Standard Oil and Microsoft stocks of the 21st century.


The Jon Stewart-Jim Cramer face-off on Thursday's The Daily Show is worth the watch. Stewart openly criticized Cramer's apparent disingenuousness as a financial commentator on CNBC leading up to the Wall Street collapse. The crux of the discussion according to Stewart is whether Cramer should act as an advocate for any particular Wall Street stocks or for the average laymen watching his "Mad Money" program. The upshot of Cramer's guest appearance is that he committed to Stewart to doing a better job of reporting financial news as it is rather than how he perceives it could or should be. Here's the link:

Week of March 9-13, 2009

Monday Open Friday Close Up/Down % Change Close 1/5/09
Dow Jones DJIA 6626.95 7223.98 +597.03 +9.00% 8952.89
NASDAQ 1293.85 1431.50 +137.65 +10.63 1628.03

Akeena Solar AKNS .61 .6702 +.0602 +9.86 2.28
Amtel Systems ASYS 2.63 3.30 +.67 +25.47 4.00
Applied Materials AMAT 8.70 10.49 +1.79 +20.57 10.67
Canadian Solar CSIQ 3.0601 3.72 +.6599 +21.56 7.00
ECD (UniSolar) ENER 17.45 19.12 +1.67 +9.57 29.33
Entech Solar ENSL.OB .23 .1950 -.0350 .-15.22 .28
Evergreen Solar ESLR 1.03 1.42 +.39 +37.86 3.60
First Solar FSLR 108.49 129.55 +21.06 +19.41 157.80
GT Solar Int. SOLR 4.02 3.89 -.13 -3.24 4.00
JA Solar JASO 1.91 2.30 +.39 +20.41 5.09
Kyocera KYO 54.21 64.80 +10.59 +19.53 71.87
LDK Solar LDK 4.40 4.55 +.15 +3.40 14.84
MEMC Elect. WFR 13.68 15.43 +1.75 +12.79 15.76
Renesola SOL 2.1201 2.26 +.1399 +6.60 5.15
Satcon SATC 1.23 1.21 -.02 -1.63 1.60
SolarFun SOLF 2.30 2.80 +.50 +21.74 6.12
SunPower SPWRA 23.39 24.38 +.99 +4.23 45.13
SunTech STP 5.34 6.88 +1.54 +28.83 13.55
Trina Solar TSL 7.23 7.39 +.16 +2.21 10.09
Yingli YGE 3.88 4.18 +.29 +7.45 7.25
Percent change all 20 stocks this week:



Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Call to Action: More Clean Energy Legislation

Sign letters to your
Senators and Congressperson

When President Obama signed the stimulus package on February 17, he solidified renewable energy's future in America. Some $80 billion was included in the bill for solar power alone for tax credits, panel manufacturer incentives and PV development. Now further legislation must be passed that will facilitate more clean energy advancements.

Solar Nation, a non-profit action network for solar power, is distributing two letters written by members of the House and Senate to the majority leaders of the two chambers aimed at supporting specific pro-solar measures to be debated in coming months. These include:

* A Federal Renewable Electricity Standard which will mandate a minimum percentage of electricity produced from renewables, including minima for solar;

* Enacting strong climate safeguards capping carbon emissions while growing the economy and boosting the PV market;

* Improving the transmission grid nationwide so solar power can be directed anywhere it is needed in the country.

The last point is significant in that large solar and windfarms are invariably located long distances from where their power is most required. Therefore, bigger and better power lines must either be upgraded or newly installed.

Solar today meets just a small percentage of our energy needs. Only robust support can increase solar's use for electricity generation; it's too late for lukewarm legislation that can be further weakened by special interests.

Solar Nation asks all solar power advocates to sign the letters heading to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Go to:


Friday, March 6, 2009

Solar Stocks: Dismal, But Three Are Up

Come on Springtime!

The question for stock investors and watching non-investors is "How low will it go?" Although the Dow ended Friday up 32.5, the week's net loss was 435.98, a 6.18% decline. NASDAQ was about the same proportionately, 83 down or 6.1%. This solar stock index showed an overall 14% drop; one of seven negative weeks of the nine since the Key 20 Solar Stocks list began the week of January 5.

Three stocks managed to finish ahead of last week, no meager feat. Trina Solar was up over 10% from last week possibly linked to better-than-expected Q4 revenues of $216.3M versus $201.03 consensus forecast. Trina projects shipping 50-55MW this quarter with 15-17% margins likely. Satcon was up 3.36% on news its Q4-08 revenue was up 58% from a year ago. First Solar, which had a disastrous showing last week, was up slightly at this week's close.

Solar naturally picks up in Q2 just around the corner. Coupled with stimulus carrots, solar stocks should fair better than most in the mainstream. The word "should" is a qualifier as continuing bank closures and GM on the brink is giving everyone pause.

Week of March 2-6, 2009

Monday Open Friday Close Up/Down % Change Close 1/5/09
Dow Jones DJIA 7062.93 6626.95 -435.98 -6.18% 8952.89
NASDAQ 1377.84 1293.85 -83.01 -6.10 1628.03

Akeena Solar AKNS 1.06 .61 -.45 -42.46 2.28
Amtel Systems ASYS 2.96 2.73 -.23 -7.78 4.00
Applied Materials AMAT 9.21 8.70 -.51 +5.54 10.67
Canadian Solar CSIQ 3.59 3.0601 -.5299 -14.77 7.00
ECD (UniSolar) ENER 21.93 17.45 -4.48 -20.43 29.33
Entech Solar ENSL.OB .2602 .23 -.0303 .-11.61 .28
Evergreen Solar ESLR 1.22 1.03 -.19 -15.58 3.60
First Solar FSLR 105.74 108.49 +2.75 +2.60 157.80
GT Solar Int. SOLR 4.27 4.02 -.25 -5.86 4.00
JA Solar JASO 2.03 1.91 -.12 -5.92 5.09
Kyocera KYO 57.80 54.21 -3.59 -6.22 71.87
LDK Solar LDK 5.12 4.40 -.72 -14.07 14.84
MEMC Elect. WFR 15.01 13.68 -1.33 -8.17 15.76
Renesola SOL 2.42 2.1201 -.2999 -12.40 5.15
Satcon SATC 1.19 1.23 +.04 +3.36 1.60
SolarFun SOLF 2.99 2.30 -.69 -23.08 6.12
SunPower SPWRA 27.89 23.39 -4.50 -16.14 45.13
SunTech STP 6.09 5.34 -.75 -12.32 13.55
Trina Solar TSL 6.54 7.23 +.69 +10.55 10.09
Yingli YGE 3.89 3.88 -.01 -.26 7.25
Percent change all 20 stocks this week:



Thursday, March 5, 2009

Solar v. Labor: Issue Heats Up Again


The battle for Green Jobs is heating up since passage of the stimulus package. The question is whether to use union labor or less expensive non-union labor for installing solar projects. It is not a new issue to the solar industry and American industry in general.

Read this article for a classic example on the subject going on now in Nevada:

The crux of the matter is whether in employ standard union labor, at hourly wages that can actually provide a worker and his family a decent living OR to use cheaper labor trained mostly on the job thus reducing installation costs. There is plentiful labor in the latter category in the Southwest and even more so now with so many out of work.

It has been this blogger's experience that while union workers are well-trained in solar, the quality of their worker is not appreciably better than their non-union counterparts. This then begs the question: Why pay more for union labor if the cost is not necessarily justified?

I grew up in a union family and I remember my father's involvement with getting basic employment benefits like paid vacations and some sick leave (which he used only once that I know of). It was the American union movement that raised work standards and wages not only for union members but for all industry and government employees.

On the other hand, I am a solar power advocate. It would be great if everyone in solar made a good living and many are. However, the major component of any PV system is the panels and it is hard for the production from them to compete with coal, natural gas and nuclear power even with government incentives. The logical answer is to install more and more solar electric systems which requires more and more panels--and other components--to be manufactured which will bring the cost per watt down. The goal is to have solar competitive with coal- and natural gas-produced electricity by about 2016.

With proven solar technology and the need to ween this country from fossil fuels, the labor issue must find a compromise, at least for the short term. It is such a compromise being used here in California.


web site visitor stats
DVD Rentals