Will Black Silicon Light Up Your Solar Portfolio?

Sometimes the best scientific discoveries are made by accident. "We were doing research on the chemical reactions on metal surfaces and, on a hunch, I said let’s look at semiconductors, without a clear plan," said Eric Mazur, a physicist at Harvard University, about an experiment done in 1998. A decade later, it looks like his…

TSL: Greater Transparency Could Spark Near-Term Rally

Solar stocks have seen a sharp pullback since the start of 2008, and short-term rallies from current levels should be expected. Upcoming catalysts for near-term rallies include the announcement of new supply deals, better than expected earnings results, short squeezes and the potential for supportive legislation. The more important question investors will need to ask:…

Will a Recession Lead to a Solar Depression?

Investors have been fretting about a U.S. recession for months, and recent polls suggest a heightened level of economic anxiety among Americans. Assuming that we go into a mild recession, is this the time for solar investors to jump ship? To the contrary – a recession might provide some attractive opportunities in the solar sector.   

SOLF: Reading Between the Lines

I must admit that I've never been a fan of SolarFun (SOLF – Last trade $22.95). Good Energies, a Switzerland-based investor specializing in investments in the wind and solar segments, takes a different view. Good Energies has entered into an agreement to buy shares from SOLF's Chairman and other current shareholders to bring its stake…

Politicians Take Solar’s Sexy Back

Good ol' Jay Leno once said that "politics is just show business for ugly people". And thanks to the politicians the sexy solar sector just got ugly. Solar investors have been driving up valuations as if solar was going to take over the world tomorrow, and these investors have now been forced to wake up…

WFR Uber Allies

The world’s largest solar system integrator, Germany’s Conergy Energy (CGY.DE – Last trade €27.24), recently pre-announced that they will miss their earnings estimates due to delays in receiving solar modules. It therefore comes as no surprise that the company plans an assertive shift to more in-house production, and MEMC Electronic (WFR – Last trade $71.16)…

Will Vegans Buy Chinese Solar?

Photo:lynnieb, Creative Commons, Flickr Is the solar industry about to sell its soul? The emerging consensus is that solar is a commodity, and the only thing that matters is cost per watt. The quicker the industry can reduce costs, the quicker solar technology can be introduced to the masses, and the more valuable your solar…

L-D-K, L-D-K, How Many Wafers Were Killed Today?

No, I am not about to embark on some anti-war propaganda, nor am I implying that LDK Solar (LDK) has anything to do with the messy conflict in the Middle East. What I am commenting on is the excessive growth of the solar industry that we are witnessing, and how this same prosperity could very…

SOLF: It’s Not You, It’s Me

Press releases are like first dates. Everybody tries to make a good impression until that unavoidable awkward moment at the end of the date (Run away? Handshake? Hug? Kiss? Your place or mine?) Just like singles on a first date, press releases rarely talk about the bad stuff. After reading a recent press release from…

U.S. Solar vs. Chinese Solar

Yesterday, the World Bank said that China has the capacity to absorb the impact of the recent international financial market turmoil if it spreads to its robust economy. “Even if the financial crisis brings about a global economic slowdown, it will help China to adjust its pace of economic development,” said Louis Kuijs, senior economist…

WFR: A Good Hedge if Fed Disappoints

MEMC Electronic Material (WFR – Last trade $58.82) reported last week that a construction incident at its Pasadena, Texas, polysilicon facility resulted in a power outage to the entire site. Although the power was eventually restored later that day, the unplanned and abrupt shutdown of high temperature and pressure chemical operations caused considerable complications. The…

On Critics and Cheerleaders

Photo:Ben Bawden, Creative Commons, Flickr The drive for carbon reduction has many critics. Brace yourself for a heated lecture if you are lucky enough to bump into one of these critics at your next house party. They will spend hours telling you about the true origins of global warming, and they will blame rising food…