Power & Energy Solutions

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Shares of a number of solar energy companies have become vulnerable as the Obama administration has turned out to be a lot less lucrative for green investors than originally hoped, Barron's said."For the industry, 2009 wasn't just disappointing; it was a nightmare," the weekly business newspaper said in its March 15 edition.Companies whose shares could be hurt by the current glut of equipment and solar power capacity include Evergreen Solar Inc (ESLR.O) and Energy Conversion Devices (ENER.O), as well as a number of European rivals, the newspaper said.It also noted that Spain had capped its previously lucrative solar subsidy and that prices of solar equipment tumbled after the industry went into an "irrational" expansion frenzy.Via Reuters

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Solar-energy stock prices have been falling for about two years.Once viewed as the newest and greenest energy source, solar power has become less popular with investors. They gradually realized that it is far from competitive with conventional energy sources on price, and that it accounts for less than 1 percent of U.S. electricity generation.Now, with investors deserting these stocks, and with analysts downgrading them, I am starting to get interested.One solar stock, STR Holdings (STRI), is already a good buy, in my opinion. A few more of them could be worth buying if their prices keep falling.Nurtured by government subsidies in Germany, Japan and the United States, the solar industry was shocked when Germany announced it will reduce the level of its assistance this year. Making matters worse, there is an ample supply of solar panels in the United States to meet current demand.Nonetheless, solar-power companies have gone from so-called concept stocks to solid enterprises with substantial sales and earnings. I think the industry has the potential to rekindle the rapid expansion it showed from 2005 to 2008.STR, located in Enfield, Conn., has been a public company for only four months. Unlike many of its rivals, it doesn't make photovoltaic

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Peering down 148 metres from the top of the latest addition to London's skyline, the traffic-clogged Elephant and Castle roundabout and its notorious neighbour, the Heygate estate, below feel an unlikely location for a world first. But next week, this new skyscraper, nicknamed "the Razor", will take a crucial step towards becoming the world's first building with wind turbines built into its fabric.While wind speeds in the concrete jungle at the tower's base would render a wind turbine pointless, at 42 storeys up they are capable of 35mph gusts - a serious challenge for the workers who created the complex steel structure - and are projected to generate 8% of the building's electricity needs.The building - officially called the Strata tower - is a £113m milestone in the £1.5bn project to regenerate the Elephant and Castle area. The Strata development, which comprises the tower and a smaller "Pavillion" building, is a statement of the new demographic Southwark council hopes the area will attract - its 408 apartments range from £230,000 to £2.5m.But the tower also marks an innovation for the building sector, which under government regulations will have to make all new buildings zero-carbon by 2019.Justin Black, director for Brookfield,

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Boralex Inc (BLX.TO: Quote) has secured financing of C$194.5 million ($191 million) for the construction and operation of its Thames River wind farm in southern Ontario, the Canadian renewable energy producer said on Monday.The funds will be used to finance the second phase of the 90-megawatt wind farm and to refinance Phase 1. The first phase involved the construction of four of nine 10 MW wind farms, which were commissioned in January.The remaining five 10 MW farms are under construction and scheduled to be finished by December.Thanks to the refinancing, Boralex said it can complete the second phase of the project without having to raise any equity while also freeing up C$12.7 million.Boralex's stock price was 5 Canadian cents firmer at C$10.07 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday afternoon.The 21-year, 7-percent-a-year loan was arranged by insurer Manulife Financial Corp (MFC.TO: Quote), which also invested C$88.5 million in the project. This is Manulife's fifth wind farm financing in the past year.In addition to wind energy, Quebec-based Boralex also produces power from hydroelectric sources, biomass and natural gas plants.Boralex said the C$194.5 million makes up about 76 percent of the total investment in Thames River and covers initial financing costs, interest

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Gov. Bob McDonnell signed into law Wednesday offshore drilling legislation intended to realize his goal of making Virginia the East Coast's energy superpower.The bills supporting offshore oil and gas exploration and directing royalties from drilling back to Virginia each hinge on actions by the federal government and Congress.Interior Secretary Ken Salazar is expected to announce his decision soon whether the government will move forward with the sale of oil and gas leases in a triangular tract 50 miles off of the Virginia coast. The 2.9 million acres has an estimated 130 million barrels of oil and 1.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.McDonnell said the bill backing offshore exploration is intended to signal to Salazar the state's official endorsement of gas and oil exploration."We're sending an important message that Virginia is ready to go - and there should be no reason for Washington to delay approval of the offshore lease sale and eventually exploration and drilling," McDonnell said.McDonnell wants Virginia to be the first East Coast state to tap oil and natural gas in Atlantic waters. He has proposed incentives, as well as tax credits for creating jobs tied to renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power.The proposals

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Applied Materials, Inc., the world's largest supplier of equipment to the semiconductor, flat panel display (FPD) and solar photovoltaic (PV) industries, today announced the opening of its newly expanded Tainan Manufacturing Center in Tainan, Taiwan. The nearly 15,000 square meter facility will enhance Applied's capability to serve its FPD and thin film solar PV customers in Asia while capitalizing on Taiwan's excellent location, strong talent pool and supply chain efficiencies."The Tainan Manufacturing Center is one of our biggest investments in Asia and puts Taiwan at the center of our display and solar equipment technology efforts," said Mike Splinter, chairman and CEO of Applied Materials. "Applied has a 20-year history of success in Taiwan and with this expanded center, we are setting a strong foundation for even greater success in the next 20 years. I would like to thank our customers, employees and the Taiwan government who helped make this state-of-the-art manufacturing facility possible."The Tainan Manufacturing Center employs approximately 150 people and is expected to build and ship about 100 new PECVD* and PVD* systems this year - a 400% increase in shipments from last year. The Center's Tainan location and extensive supply chain in Asia will enable Applied to more

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DEK Solar will be bringing its newly-introduced PV3000 metallization line to this year's AsiaSolar Energy Photovoltaic Exhibition and Forum, being held at Shanghai Mart from 30th March - 1st April. In addition to providing an opportunity for visitors to see the line in action, the exhibition will also enable attendees to find out more about the company's innovative approach to service and support.Being demonstrated at the show, DEK's PV3000 photovoltaic metallization solution optimises solar cell manufacturing productivity by deploying multiple print heads in parallel. The display will show visitors how, if one head halts for operator attention, the others will continue to print - virtually eliminating downtime. Delivering six-sigma repeatability for capability in advance of current solar cell requirements, the platform's inherent accuracy and repeatability is ideal for demanding technologies, achieving print-on-print capability (PoP) - +/- 12.5 microns at 2 Cpk.Ideal for solar manufacturers seeking to enhance cell efficiency and drive down cost-per-watt, print-on-print is designed to give finer grid lines more height, printing the lines twice over or more to increase the conductor's cross-sectional area and enhance current-carrying capacity without shadowing the underlying silicon substrate. Since repeatable accuracy is the key enabler in this process, the PV3000 is an

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A recovery in the wind energy sector starting in the second half of the year will boost sales growth for Broadwind Energy Inc., a JPMorgan analyst said Tuesday.Shares rose rose 41 cents, or 8 percent, to $5.52 in afternoon trading after JPMorgan analyst Christopher Blansett started coverage on the company at "Overweight," with a price target of $6.50.Broadwind supplies equipment, transportation and engineering services for the wind energy industry.The U.S. wind market will grow by at least 25 percent per year over the next three years, Blansett said in a note to investors. Lower costs from easier credit and lower commodity prices, as well as a government subsidy lasting until the end of 2012, should help support wind power, he said.More foreign turbine makers interested in growing their U.S. business are likely to buy components from Broadwind, helping it grow faster than its peers, Blansett said. He also believes Broadwind's two largest customers, GE Wind and Clipper Wind, could ramp up orders soon. 

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CBS News correspondent Celia Hatton reports wind turbines that can be seen slicing the sky above rural Minnesota were manufactured more than 6,000 miles away by a Chinese company. They're helping to power the nearby town of Pipestone."The wind is blowing nearly all the time," said Pipestone resident Elmer Stoltenberg. "We should take advantage of that."In New Jersey, one Rutgers University campus gets 10 percent of its energy from 7,000 solar panels also made by a Chinese company.China has a dirty reputation as the world's factory, but its emerging green energy sector is threatening to leave the United States in its dust.The overall environmental report card is not pretty for either country. China is the world's top producer of greenhouse gases. The United States is a close second, followed by Russia, India and Japan.China burns mountains of coal -- the dirtiest form of energy -- for 70 percent of its power. The nation consumes 2-and-a-half billion tons each year. Twenty-three percent of America's energy also comes from coal, using 1.2 billion tons annually.The U.S. population is less than a quarter of the size of China's, but Americans consume almost 6 times more energy per person than the Chinese -- though

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Based on preliminary figures, Phoenix Solar AG, a leading photovoltaic system integrator listed on the TecDAX, generated consolidated revenues of EUR 473.0 million in the financial year 2009, which corresponds to the upper range of the corridor forecast for revenues (EUR 430 - 480 million). Earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) came to EUR 12.2 million, which is also in line with guidance.All in all, performance in the financial year 2009 was dominated by the German market (global market share of 40 - 50 percent), extremely volatile demand and an unexpectedly sharp downturn in the selling prices of photovoltaic systems. Moreover, business with photovoltaic power plants also suffered from the consequences of the global financial crisis. "Our flexible business model, which is built on our two segments of Components & Systems and Power Plants, enabled us to respond to the difficult situation in the market and to win additional market share. Phoenix Solar AG ranks among the few solar companies in Germany which not only boosted revenues but also succeeded in closing the year profitably", commented Dr. Andreas Hänel, Chief Executive Officer of Phoenix Solar AG.Best quarterly revenues in the history of the company In the reporting year 2009, the Phoenix Solar Group generated total revenues of EUR 473.0 million (2008: EUR 402.5 million) and consequently a

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