Is Solar About to Heat Up Again? (FSLR, STP, CSIQ, ESLR, ENER, YGE, JASO, TSL, SPWRA)
Until their recent retreat from the stratosphere, few green technologies have been hotter with investors than the solar energy sector. Solar panels generate electricity from the sun. Some installations are set up so that any excess power produced and not used is sent back onto the power grid, actually lowering your bill from the power company.
Unless your home uses electric heaters (which can be inefficient), you’re still going to need natural gas, propane, or heating oil to heat your home, but solar panels do reduce fuel bills to the extent that your electricity is otherwise generated from coal, natural gas, or some other fossil fuel. The industry has evolved so that it is also building commercial installations specifically designed to generate power for the grid.
Silicon is the main ingredient in solar panels made by most manufacturers, though there are exceptions, such as thin-film panels made from cadmium telluride. Several years ago short supplies of silicon led to high prices that gave thin-film panel makers an advantage, but a recent abundance of silicon and an industry expansion frenzy that has significantly boosted capacity have combined to depress prices.
Subsidies in Germany and Spain encouraged significant growth in solar projects in those countries, and fueled the industry’s capacity expansion, but recent policy changes are set to slow the pace of growth. Spain, the world’s second-largest solar market, ended its program in 2009, and Germany, the No. 1 market, will follow suit this year with reductions in its feed-in tariff. The credit crisis also dried up the financing needed to fund many solar installations last year.
According to Bloomberg, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet in early March agreed to cut solar subsidies by -16% for rooftop systems, and by -15% for solar parks starting July 1st. German subsidy cuts have been expected for some time now, but solar stocks have swung wildly as various drafts of the plan adjusted the degree to which incentives would be reduced and the date the cuts would be implemented.
The industry is now looking to the U.S., and the Obama Administration’s stimulus funding for solar, for growth.
In its new 30-page special report being published today, BullMarket.com takes an in depth look at the solar industry as well as other alternative energy green sectors including geothermal, ethanol and biofuels, nuclear, CNG, wind power, fuel cells and batteries, waste to energy, and the smart grid.
Among the solar stocks covered in the report include First Solar (FSLR), SunPower (SPWRA), Suntech Power (STP), Canadian Solar (CSIQ), Evergreen Solar (ESLR), Energy Conversion Devices (ENER), Yingli Green Energy (YGE), JA Solar (JASO), Trina Solar (TSL), and others.
A daily investment service that identifies winning long-term growth, value, and income stocks, BullMarket.com’s Recommended List of stocks outperformed the S&P 500 by nearly 15% in 2008, was up 40% in 2009, and is up 8.6% through the end of March in 2010. BullMarket.com is publishing a a 30- page special report on green/alternative today that will be available for free to all subscribers. Sign up for a free trial today and receive actionable market commentary, real-time trade alerts, access to 40+ high-quality recommended stocks, and the high-yield special report.
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