Use access key #2 to skip to page content.

The Hitchhikers Guide: The Re-Review of Solar Technology to the Universe

Recs

31

June 25, 2008 – Comments (23) | RELATED TICKERS: STPFQ , FSLR , ESLRQ.DL

Comparing the start of the 21st century(and a new millenium) to that of the 20th century I must admit that I am a little disappointed. I remember watching the Jetsons and listening to Prince's "Party Like It's 1999." Today, I still wonder where my flying car is and sometimes I feel today is more like an episode of the Flintstones than that of the Jetsons. Despite my feelings the evidence remains that there has been no era of technological achievements greater than modern times. Personally, I feel advancements in solar technology(and thermal radiation) among many others are greatly needed for human advancement. I am ever optimistc about the future and our further advances and achievements(gloom and doomers).

Silicon Valley 2.0 - Another Tech Bubble?

    Investment has always played the greatest role in innovation. Most innovations are created with few perceived applications that are economical, and very little demand and thus face many barriers. Solar technology has been no different. Sometimes, innovations are seen to be so marvelous that they create financial bubbles unforeseen. The beginning of the 20th century was still filled with the craze of the railroad boom and was eventually succeeded by the boom of the POV(Personal Owned Vechicle) and hundreds of auto-manufacturers. Other notable bubbles in the U.S. economy were steel, airlines, and of course the dot-com bubble. All of these bubbles while hazardous to short-term financial stability greatly advanced the standards of society. I'd imagine that I'd still be using AOL dial-up if there had not been the amount of investors willing to fund the network infrastrcuture of today's during 90's. In retrospect the consequences of many financial bubbles aren't so bad. However, the talk about a financial bubble in the solar industry is somewhat ridiculous. A real financial bubble(e.g. dot-com bubble) would be hazardous to the macreconomic environment and would total trillions of dollars. Honestly, I don't think there is enough investment in solar technology or perceive how less than 20 over-valued stocks can be considered a financial bubble.

If I could compare the progress and technology of solar cells to that of the prior boom in silicon products(computers) I'd say that a reasonable comparison would be that we're just entering the stage of digitally assisted type-writers. There's so much more room for technology to mature and many applications that aren't being used today. Also, like any industry there will be many companies around today that will not be in the future. The lack of consolidation in the industry thus far is proof that the industry of solar manufacturing is still in its infancy. However, there are plenty of reasons to still be optimistic today and why I'm not going to simply tell you "I'll get back to you in 10 years..." I imagine that investing in one of these companies today would be similar to investing in Hewlett-Packard or Intel in their earlier years. I haven't indentified who that will be, but there is still much to be learned and this article is mostly directed to the long-term outlook of photo-voltaic products.


How Does Solar Technology Work?

Simple Explanation: You combine certain kinds of semiconducting material(typically silicon) and construct it into a circuit(array) so once the electrons in the array are hit by sunlight it causes them to flow and creates an electromagnetic current.

There are many different materials used that create many different arrays of different efficiencies. Currently, the process of "First Generation" solar technology accounts for over 85% of global production of solar products. This process uses large quantities of silicon which limits cost reduction due to the vast amount of material required.

There is "Second Generation" technology which is being hyped and produced today. This is where thin-film technology enters. There are numerous thin-film processes that use different materials. The typical thin-film process uses anywhere between one half to one-one hundredth of the material needed by "First Generation" processes. First Solar and NanoSolar are probably your most talked about "Second Generation" companies.

There is "Third Generation" technology where there are currently no commercial applications. "Third Generation" technology expands upon the processes of "Second Generation" technology yet addresses higher levels of efficiency and conversion.

I imagine many speculators in the solar industry to be similar to the unknowing person shopping for their first computer. You may end up with a computer, but they're not all the same. There are many different component types and effiencies that go into the process and you probably won't understand what it is you're paying for. You could very well purchase something that is obsolete only weeks later. This very much applies to investors and actual customers. You can find a detailed explaination about Solar Cell Technology through Wikipedia. My intent is to focus on investing with only the most necessary information.

In this article I am only judging the prospects of the companiees and not their stocks. The intent of my ratings is from my analysis of whether these companies will even be around 15 years from now.

Ascent Solar Technologies     3/10
Canadian Solar                      2/10
China Sunergy Co.                 0/10
Emcore Corp.                        5/10*
Energy Conversion Devices     6/10
Evergreen Solar                      5/10
DayStar Technologies             3/10
First Solar Holding                  7/10
JA Solar Holdings                   2.5/10
LDK Solar                              2/10
Solarfun Power Holding           2.5/10
SunPower Corp.                     3/10 
SunTech Power                      4/10
Trina Solar                             2.5/10
Yingili Green Energy               3/10

(ASTI) Ascent Solar Technologies: 3.5/10
"Second Generation" They are a spin-off from ITN Energy which has received DoD contracts in the past and produced other private spin-off companies. They have also been rumored for a take-over. This isn't a faker. Their second generation process uses materials(CIGS) that seems to have a very promising future, and the company founders combined control 11 patents. However, there isn't much to expect from their own business for years to come. They have a very vague web page and management discussion states they expect losses to continue throught at least 2009.

(CSIQ) Canadian Solar: 2.5/10
"First Generation" All of there business is done in China but they're Canadian Solar? They operate efficiently in the "First Generation" technology. They are heavily involved in the reclaiming/recycling of silicon which is currently very profitable. I don't foresee a strong future 10 years from now for CSIQ. As of today, Canadian Solar may be a decent way to play against rising silicon prices. They also make speciality solar products such as solar chargers for car batteries and GPS devices.

The political risks of China and lack of disclosure and SEC Filings are high negatives for all Chinese solar companies.


(CSUN) China Sunergy Co: 0/10
Dead "First Generation" technology. They're do not maintain any leadership in image or quality. They can't maintain profitability while everyone else in the industry is growing. Nothing further....

(EMKR) Emcore Corp: 5.5/10*
"Second Generation" Citron Report? Fake Customers? Fake Backlog? Accounting malpractice? Okay, before I face mass critism for this high rating I would like to add an asterisk while mentioning that Emcore will soon seperate their two core businesses into seperate companies. I don't know if they will IPO the stocks individually but there hasn't been much to say about Emcore until recently. This has been a dead-beat stock that has traded publicly for more than 10 years that experienced a huge run up during the dot-com bubble and has done quite well since the last bear market.  Despite the questions surrounding their business their technology is real. Emcore is currently one of the leaders in solar efficiecy could easily gain substantial market share in the next decade. They have received defense contracts in the past and their solar technology has been implemented for use on satellites in the past. The problem has always been their ability to expand their sales. Here is the reason for the asterisk. If the United States begins to subsidize domestic solar production(which will eventually happen) I can easily see their technology being widely used for commericial solar power plants since I do not think the government is inclined to empower the people, literally. Now, I'm not convinced that Emcore will be able to manufacture their solar products on a large scale, but I do believe eventually someone will. Any comments are welcomed for Emcore. I will update my analysis of Emcore in the future.


(ENER) Energy Conversion Devices: 6/10
"Second Generation" - Sales have nearly tripled. Great technology. They manufacture a lightweight, flexible solar cell that can literally be rolled. This isn't your the solar cell on your calculator. Their production is relatively cost effective but they suffer from generally poor conversion rates compared to other technology available and their solar products are still not competitive with traditional hydrocarbons. However, they are working to reduce cost substantially and increase yield and efficiency. They have been pioneers in solar innovation. Their primary business is Uni-Solar (wholly owned subsidiary) which accounts for nearly 90% of their revenue.

(ESLR) Evergreen Solar: 5/10
"First Generation" String Ribbon Technology is the only way "First Generation" technology production can compete in the future, and Evergreen solar is the market leader. While energy conversion is lower the savings in production costs are substantial and more economical. Considering that nearly 90% of global production uses "First Generation" technology Evergreen could be the answer in converting the industry with their String Ribbon Technology. Other foreign manufacturers use Evergreen's String Ribbon Technology such as EverQ and Q-Cells. Evergreen isn't making any money today. They're dilluting their shares, and their quad-ribbon technology won't be fully implemented for years. Despite their large backlog they won't be making too much money tomorrow but the technology itself seems promising. There will be a lot of future share dillution and I believe investors are overly optimistic about their growth rate.

(DSTI) DayStar Technologies: 3/10
"Second Generation" - Similar pitch as Ascent Solar Technologies. They use a similar process using the same materials(CIGS). There has not been much financing activity to indicate growth. There probably isn't much to expect from the business for years.

(FSLR) First Solar Holding: 7/10
"Second Generation" - The comments about the toxicity of their manufacturing process are untrue. If First Solar had a 50 multiple as of today I would say that it's a reasonable buy and hold, but with a P/E above 120 for a $20 Billion company? They're selling solar cells - not the cure for cancer.  Given today's valuations you'd think crude oil was trading at $1,000/barrel today. Although their semiconducting materials(CdTe) do not convert as effeciently as traditional "First Generation" silicon solar cells or as efficient as the CIGS thin film technology they are currently the most cost effective and it has been projected that their CdTe thin-film technology will economcially compete with traditional hydrocarbons within the next decade

JA Solar Holdings: 2.5/10
"First Generation" - I don't think there's too much excitement here. JA Solar is using past technology (traditional monocrystalline solar cells). JA Solar could eventually fall victim to consolidation in the future, but the valuations for many of these Chinese solar stocks are actually very reasonable for today despite their future extinction.

LDK Solar: 2/10
"First Generation" - I don't like the history of the company, but as a wafer/ingot producer they are also in the worst position for both today and tomorrow. Constraints in silicon supplies are expected to ease (LDK is opening the largest production in the world) which may limit their pricing power and if there are further supply constrains then that could cause a greater shift away from traditional silicon solar cells thin-film technology. Their history of financing and disclosure of contracts/customers have been poor.

ReneSola: 2/10
"First Generation" - Manufacturer of solar wafers (not the actual solar cells). Similar pitch to LDK Solar.

Solarfun Power Holding: 3/10
"First Generation" - They use old technology. Another Chinese dinosaur. They were the subject of a lot of hype, but I wouldn't be surprised if there was lead in their solar modules.

SunPower Corp: 3/10
"First Generation" - They use old technology as well. They are vertically integrated which is very beneficial for "First Generation" producers long-term. However, they face tremendous competition. I wonder how long the tide can lift these solar companies until those who can't swim begin to drown.

SunTech Power: 4.5/10
"First Generation" - They are increasing production and the product line from their recent acquisition of MSK Solar. Building Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) modules are innovative PV modules that can replace traditional building materials such as shingles or siding. They are still one of the largest solar module manufacturers in the world and can easily compete with any of the larger traditional solar cell producers.

Trina Solar: 2.5/10
"First Generation" - You can play the valuations for these Chinese solars if you're inclined to.

Yingili Green Energy: 3.5/10
"First Generation" - They are vertically integrated which is beneficial for their corporate position.


The Difference and Future of Solar Technology 

The economic feasibility is quickly becoming a reality for large-scale application. The cost per watt has dramatically declined from nearly $100 per watt in the 1970's to less than $4 per watt today for PV solar cells. It is widely accepted that the cost per watt for PV solar cells(second generation) will fall below $1 within the next decade making it highly competitive with other energy sources. The next generation of PV modules will need to improve upon efficiency.

Nanosolar is a highly anticipated and publicized company. Their technology incorporates print ink process of CIGS(copper indium gallium selenide) onto thin film foils. This application and use of CIGS materials for photo-voltaic applications is very promising to bring the cost per watt under $1, but the technology is probably a few years away before it gains enough commercial and investment for larger application. There are other private companies with similar prospects such as HelioVolt from Texas and GlobalSolar based in Arizona. The original concept for the ink print process and technology(CIGS)  was developed by International Solar Electric Technology which is based in California.

The future of large scale solar thermal application is here. The processes of tomorrow(literally) are cost effective enough to compete with coal in areas with enough water resources. Any questions, comments, or corrections are more than welcomed. I'm no scholar. I just read a lot of junk from PhysOrg and other science journals... There are other processes being tested today that show even greater promise for the future of energy.

Pure - Notable Publicly Traded Companies(Non-U.S.)
PowerFilm Inc [U.K]
Q-Cells AG  [France]
Renewable Energy Corp [Norway]
SolarWorld AG [France]

Related - Publicly Traded Companies
BP
General Electric
Hewlett Packard
IBM
Kyocera
Mitsubishi Electric Corp
Shell
Siemens
...there's others

 

23 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On June 25, 2008 at 3:22 AM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

Ladies and Gentelmen I have traveled across half the internet to write this post. Today, I am an oil man. I have a crew of stocks waiting for work. There are other stocks with plenty of promise, but when it comes to the showdown many of these companies won't be there.... If you've seen There Will Be Blood you might appreciate the following clip. (Don't watch the whole thing...)

If you think the stock market is bad right now... You could watch this video and you'd quickly realize that things could always be worse. If you watch it I'm sure you won't feel that bad... 

Report this comment
#2) On June 25, 2008 at 10:09 AM, rudolphsteiner (< 20) wrote:

Thanks AnomaLee, but gee whiz that doesn't encourage me to invest in solar right now (not that I was tempted before). As I suspected, lots of promise but even more hype. With FSLR valued at 23 billion, I wonder what a Nanosolar IPO would look like???

I wonder if the solar hype will die off and allow for real investment opportunities as the industry matures over the next few years. These high P/E's can't withstand recession very well. Meanwhile, I'm focusing more on wind, geothermal, and others.

Report this comment
#3) On June 25, 2008 at 10:35 AM, EverydayInvestor (< 20) wrote:

LOL AnomaLee. Love the last vid.

The problem with Solar investing is that the technology is not currently very economical, and a lot of companies are working on big breakthroughs. If Nanosolar (or some other random company no one has yet heard about) is all that, they'll be able to undercut everyone else and take control of most of the market. Producers of legacy-technology solar panels would be driven out of business.

Report this comment
#4) On June 25, 2008 at 3:33 PM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

**Correction: The CdTe used by First Solar is highly toxic. I meant to say that their process is less pollutive than what many critics say. They claim to have a lesser environmental footprint than legacy solar producers.

Also, Teck Cominco(TCK) is the largest supplier of indium which is very important for thing film solar manufacturers who use CIGS materials like HelioVolt and NanoSolar.


 

These are excerpts from an interview with Martin Roscheisen, CEO of thin film solar company Nanosolar. I think its very interesting to hear his insider comments. [Full Interview Here]

Q). You were one of the first Valley entrepreneurs to focus seriously on green tech - If you had to start a clean tech company in 2007, and not 2002, what would you do differently?

A). I know very little about anything in greentech other than solar. If I had to start a solar company in 2007, I would take a pass. This industry is in a very different stage now. This is going to be like the DRAM business much more quickly than many may realize. I have a hard time seeing how anyone can be successful in solar who isn’t truly in volume in 2008 with a very mature, very cost-efficient technology.

 

Q). An analyst told me that thin film solar companies in the U.S. are worried about price competition with Chinese solar firms. . . .is that true and something Nanosolar thinks about competitively?

A). If I ran a company based on solar thin films deposited in high-vacuum chambers, I’d worry too. Because [Chinese market leader] Suntech achieves better capital efficiency today with conventional silicon-wafer based solar factories than a typical thin-film vacuum line. That’s a problem right there. At Nanosolar though, we have a nanoparticle-based printing process that is 5-10x more capital efficient on the total line. So we have a good delta.

All things being equal, given the $/kg economics of solar panels, I don’t think the competitive end game is to be shipping them from China. The end-game winners will be optimized for net working capital days and proximity to customers. (Btw, shipping from China costs ten times as much as shipping to China these days…) The middle game will be dominated by quality issues; this is a product that people expect to last for decades.

Quality is quite hard to do with the kinds of manual factories that are behind the capital efficiency of Chinese production lines. I see a lot of big customers in Europe quite unhappy with Chinese panels. That all said, my general rule on China is that one has to recheck all of one’s assumptions about China about once every three months.

Q). Do you have customers lined up to purchase the product, and if so which companies?

A). We are lined up with the industry’s top system integrators as our partners, and it is clear we are going to be manufacturing capacity limited for about as far out as we can see. There’s presently really only two truly scalable solar markets in the world — Germany and Spain — and we do a lot there. Being a scalable market is today as much about feed-in-tariffs as about the administrative framework; tomorrow, with grid-parity PV systems, it is primarily about the latter.

For the United States to also become a truly scalable market, some ingrained bureaucracy stands in the way for that still — everything from 1920s-era conduit-around-cables and grounding requirements to insanely complicated town-by-town permitting processes. It’s hard to believe that California is more bureaucratic than Germany — but it is so in solar power. Fortunately, people are beginning to realize this and so change is possible even if it affects electric code rules designed around 1920s electric technology.

Report this comment
#5) On June 25, 2008 at 4:19 PM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

Well, I wasn't trying to discourage anyone but my intent was just to share information. I've had an amazing time trading the volatility of quite a few solar stocks, but my analogy to digitally assited typewriters/wordprocessors is true long term. There should still be a future for a company like LDK Solar and other wafer manufacturers for decades to come. I just don't think it will be an exciting one. That is the best news I can offer for employees, but if you've ever seen the chart for Eastman Kodak, Xerox, or Smith Corona then I'd be weary as a shareholder.

However, I can't predict the future or how well a company will adapt to a changing market. Some people thought IBM wouldn't exist today, and look how the battle between the Commodore and IBM turned out. Personally, I don't plan on holding a stock my entire life. That defeats the point. If I were Warren Buffett I would've been on an island somewhere decades ago. As for wind and geothermal, by the time you see additional billion-dollar orders completed and shipped photo-voltaic technology will be economical. There's fewer real players in the solar sector than in any other alternative energy sector, so it's been easier for me to track over the past few years

PV solar power poses a unique problem to the market because it could eliminate billions of dollars from the fossil fuel industry and eliminate billions from the utility companies(if not trillions) as well thus eliminating jobs and a signifcant portion of trade. It also limits the ability to govern over people. You can grow all the hydroponic "plants" you'd want and no one would know.

I think the nuclear technology deserves a lot more research and investment. There has been a lot of talk about expanding the amount of nuclear plants in the U.S. ---- Sure, nuclear power plants are green if you chose to ignore the toxic radioactive waste that can last for thousands of years. There have been interesting developments that are somewhat similar in principle to the technology for PV solar cells. There are processes being tested that can convert thermal radiation into electricity. It requires further testing, but that is big news.

Report this comment
#6) On June 25, 2008 at 4:44 PM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

Also, I used to trade nearly daytrade solar stocks. I haven't done so as much because it caused me a lot of pain and it took a lot of risky band-aid trades to get my portfolio back to par.

Riding half my portfolio on YGE from $23 down to $18  wasn't good especially when you're borrowing, but I'll say that STP is a good trade between $28-$30 and I still buy YGE whenever it dips below or near $17.

I'll look back this and see how that holds up.

Report this comment
#7) On June 25, 2008 at 7:02 PM, abitare (38.38) wrote:

Good post. I still hate solar stocks. I like solar.

What about Zap motors?

http://www.zapworld.com/about-us 

Report this comment
#8) On June 25, 2008 at 7:28 PM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

C'mon... You're going to convince a soccer mom to drive that?

That thing looks like a scooter with a police shield around it....


.

Report this comment
#9) On June 26, 2008 at 12:38 AM, Tastylunch (29.26) wrote:

Wow just wow.

thanks for all the info Anoma

what no Akeena or WFR? :-) I cna't remember but I think you said before you weren't a fan of Akeena...

RE: nuclear EnergySolutions (ES) is a firm that has my interest. They deal with nuclear waste. If their tech is for real ,there could be tremendous tremendous upside there.

Thanks a ton for all the info, very very helpful.

Report this comment
#10) On June 26, 2008 at 12:42 AM, Tastylunch (29.26) wrote:

check out legmaker's pitch on ES for more info

http://caps.fool.com/Pitch/ES/2455052/since-the-uranium-bubble-has-p.aspx

I don't have anything to add about EMKR other than why buy it if there business practices are shady. Citron may not be enough to short imo, but it's enough to stay away from it.

Report this comment
#11) On June 26, 2008 at 2:27 AM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

Well, I didn't rate any of these companies as a buy or sell. I stated I was only reviewing the long-term viability of the companies as they are today. The efficiency of Emcore's solar technology which uses GaAs is currently the best of breed in effiency and could very well be the cheapest in terms of cost per watt. Also, they work closely with NASA which has seemed to be very beneficial to their R&D over the years.

In regards to their corporate practices we are dealing with a false backlog. There's already been an ongoing audit, and I haven't heard anything bad since. I'm pretty sure this isn't Enron and the worst that could happen is the stock slides, they come clean about some poor accounting, and there's an overhaul in management. Most of that has already happened. Also, there have been some serious accusations about Andrew Left and the validity of the Citron report in regards to Emcore.

I find EMKR to be interesting regardless. They have held and maintained leadership in advanced technology in two very competitive industries, but they've only earned money one year. So, over the years they have either sucked at marketing and increasing demand or improving supply with their other products but their solar panel segment is growing.

Disclosure: I'd be less interested in playing EMKR in CAPs, but depending on the reports and the stock price I might buy a very small position and just tuck it away for a long time. I think EMKR could be a take-over candidate in the future and I'd like to see future progress within the company...

Report this comment
#12) On June 26, 2008 at 4:11 PM, stewie99 (< 20) wrote:

Innovalight is another company developing the "solar ink" technology. They are in the Harris & Harris(TINY) portfolio.

Does anyone know the time frame for that technology coming to market?

Report this comment
#13) On June 26, 2008 at 4:15 PM, stewie99 (< 20) wrote:

Oh and by the way, THANKS for a great blog!

Report this comment
#14) On June 26, 2008 at 4:49 PM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

Thank you,

Well, nano-ink is actually a process and it isn't new. Nano-ink is used to fabricate materials at the nano-scale. The benefits of pressing( "printing" ) materials together on the nano-scale is that you are able to control and create materials with structures of higher efficiencies that could not be made otherwise.

Thanks for the link to Innovalight... They are a very interesting company. The unique thing about Innovalight is that they are developing ways to use silicon at the nano-scale to create solar cells with much higher efficiencies while using far less material. The research for using nano-ink silicon has been ongoing. Compared to Nanosolar and others who use other materials such as CIGS or CdTe.

The reasons for using silicon materials made producing this way is huge because around 90% of all solar cells produced are made from silicon. 

Report this comment
#15) On June 26, 2008 at 7:19 PM, camistocks (< 20) wrote:

Great post!

Just one thing: Q-Cells and Solarworld are German companies!

Kreuzdonnerwetternochmal! 

Report this comment
#16) On June 26, 2008 at 9:21 PM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

Thanks, cami... Well, I tried to list the publicly traded solar stocks by what exchanges they trade on. I assumed France for both since I saw FRA while searching for their stocks. I think they also have shares that trade on the London Exchange which many brokerage accounts have access to. I'm not sure... I've been burned trading on the ASX before but from what I know about Q-Cells it seems to be very interesting. 

Tasty, I didn't mention Akeena Solar because they advertise themselves as an installer and not an OEM of solar cells. That seems to be their primary business focus. I've done my research into solar to actually purchase solar panels for myself(I haven't done so yet) and I can tell you that you can buy today's newer solar modules and get any group of Joe Handymans to install them.

Ironically, for AKNS as a solar company retailer and installer I'd imagine they are highly exposed to rising fuel costs.

Report this comment
#17) On June 26, 2008 at 10:47 PM, camistocks (< 20) wrote:

FRA almost certainly is for Frankfurt stock exchange. France would be something like PAR, for Paris. London is LON. Of course it dependes where you search. On yahoo Frankfurt is just F. London is L and Paris is P.

If you want to buy German stocks you should buy them on the XETRA electronic exchange. That's where the most liquid market is today. Frankfurt is where the people are still standing on the ring and are shouting for trades. There are also many more regional stock markets where the stock is listed with huge spreads however. Germany is a bit complicated...

Here's some research from UBS on Q-cells, the market leader in solar...

Stock view: Expansion story continues
Q-Cells published preliminary 2007 results, which again beat our and
consensus expectations. The company said revenues increased by 69%
y/y to EUR 859mn, while EBIT grew by 52% y/y to EUR 197mn. But net
income came in slightly below expectations, due to a weaker
contribution from Q-Cells' 17% stake in Norwegian silicon producer
REC.
 
Q-cells announced its decision to further expand production capacities.
As a part of its globalization strategy, it is planning to construct
another production line in Malaysia. Furthermore, Q-Cells said its
subsidiary Calyxo, which produces thin-film solar modules, will
construct an additional line with a capacity of 60 MWp. We view this
as extremely positive, as we anticipate good market potential for thin-
film technologies.
 
We increase our EFVR from EUR 75.1-103.8 to EUR 76.1-105.1, as we
now base our multiple valuation on 2009E EPS. We increase our EPS
for 2008E by 23%, and by 34% for 2009E, mainly on the accelerated
ramp up of production capacities.
 
We believe Q-Cells' excellent position and above-average access to
silicon justifies a 25% premium to its peers.
Company description
In 2007, Q-Cells became the world's largest solar cell manufacturer. Its
core business is the development, production and sale of solar cells
made of mono- and multi-crystalline silicon. Via its various subsidiaries,
the company is also active in producing cost-saving thin-film
technologies.
Please note: past performance should not be seen as indicative of 
future performance
Corporate data
Equity
Share price (EUR/USD) 54.45 / 83.59
Market cap. (EUR/Mio) 4394
Freefloat 50%
52-week High/Low (EUR) 102.85/43.13
Reuters (Stock) QCEG.DE
Bloomberg (Stock/Bond) QCE GR
ISIN (Stock) DE0005558662
Valor (Stock) 2278208
Source:UBS, Bloomberg,06 March 2008

Report this comment
#18) On June 27, 2008 at 12:14 AM, Tastylunch (29.26) wrote:

You are looking into panels for yourself? So am I.

Anoma you live in Cleveland right? Is solar really as worthwhile as say wind up there? I would think you'd might get a fair amount of wind off the lake and we both know how overcast Ohio perpetually is.

I know Jacobs Field has a pretty nice ones, although I doubt they supply enough power to power more than a few concession stands.

I'm looking into solar panels as well for my commericial properties, but the incentives aren't as good as I'd like so far. Or really, good enough to get my old man to agree to it. When I asked AEP about Net Metering they were a bit dodgy about it. There are very few places around Columbus that have installed them as yet and no local installers it seems.

 

Report this comment
#19) On June 27, 2008 at 12:55 AM, Ganndalf (67.46) wrote:

QCells is German, I think.

 Awesome article/blog!

 Ganndalf (long STP)

Report this comment
#20) On June 27, 2008 at 5:23 AM, AnomaLee (28.54) wrote:

Tasty, the rate your utility company will compensate you can be a pain. I live within a 10 minute drive from the lake and I stay in an apartment so alternative energy investments haven't been my personal concern now. I have been thinking about sacrificing my trading account like a lamb and looking into buying my first house. However, I'm frequently over my parents house and they are within a 5 minute drive of the lake, but they're surrounded by trees. My parents own a rental property, but I've convinced my parents against purchasing solar panels or anything similar because of the decline in the local real estate market. The incentives to make the investment in Ohio aren't anywhere close to being as beneficial as they are in other states. When you consider that Ohio has one of the highest tax burderns of any state all of it just makes me pissed!!!

Ganndalf,

Thank you... Yea, Q-Cells is based in Germany. Actually, a lot of solar companies are based in Germany or have major operations there. My purpose was trying to list the stock by their exchanges. I think camistocks pointed my ingnorance and I think FRA is an acronym for Frankfurt according to Google Finance...

Report this comment
#21) On July 04, 2008 at 1:46 AM, hansthered0 (< 20) wrote:

Very informative post.

Report this comment
#22) On July 16, 2008 at 3:01 PM, SlipX22 (38.20) wrote:

Here is my problem with solar... (by problem I mean problem for big corperations, good for ametuers)

The energy industry, whether it be oil, coal, blah blah... is so compartmentalized into several different segments that a "mom and pop store" giving the metaphorical walmarts (exxon, txu, chevron) a run for their money.

If we went primarily solar as a nation, in my opinion, this would change. Of coarse the current players would play a big role because of the capital to branch out to different industries at their disposal is enormous. However, solar is not NEAR compartmentalized as the current energy sector. Ametuers at this day and age are advancing pretty far with solar enginuity (I am a enviormental engineering minor). I see a day where "mom and pop stores" bomb these "walmarts" metaphorically speaking. They will still be arround but say goodbye to a big chunk of revenue if played out like this.

Report this comment
#23) On July 21, 2008 at 1:31 PM, LordZ wrote:

Do ya know that if a bird takes a crap on a solar panel it makes the whole grid useless ???

Imagines some guy on his roof every five minutes wiping the crap off the panels...

 

Report this comment

Featured Broker Partners


Advertisement