Stanford University recently announced it will no longer directly invest in publicly traded companies that mine for coal for energy generation. There are about 100 such companies and Stanford will no longer invest any of its $18.7 billion endowment in any of them. The university will also divest any funds currently invested in them. “Stanford
Ever wonder where exactly the energy that powers the operations of the world’s major corporations comes from? Which corporations purchase the most renewable energy? Well, if you’re interested in knowing, then the EPA’s new Top 100 list on the subject has got you covered. The list is pretty interesting — not everything matches up exactly
Which Corporations Purchase The Most Clean Energy? EPA’s Top 100 List Provides The Answer was originally published on CleanTechnica.
Sharp has managed to fight its way back to profitability this year — posting an 18% boost in sales over last year, up to JPY 2.93 trillion (US$28.6 billion), and a net profit of JPY 11.56 billion ($113 million). The return to profitability is notable because of the large loss posted by the company the previous year.
The recent gains were partly thanks to the recent boom in Japan’s residential solar market, as well as the fact that 2013 was a good year for the company’s other sectors.
Solar cell sales rose by a very substantial 68.9% to JPY 439 billion ($4.3 billion) — this was partly down to the residential market, but also partly down the utilization of its panels in large-scale solar projects.
According to reps from the company, this current fiscal year will see a pick-up in the Japanese economy, and, subsequently, a pick-up in sales.
“The overseas business environment is expected to show mild recovery. However, we anticipate the situation will remain unpredictable, with some risk factors, including the pullback of US quantitative easing and a slowdown in the growth in China and emerging countries, and a geopolitical risk in Ukraine.”
Something to note with regard to increased domestic demand — the company has largely refocused on the domestic market at the expense of the international as a result of weak sales in the European market. With an increased focus on the Japanese market, sales should remain quite healthy there.
In related news, the “largest solar PV power plant in Japan” recently went online in Oita City, located on the southern portion of the island.
The 82 MW Oita Solar Project represents a significant boost to the country’s, and to the region’s, renewable energy capacity. Power from the new plant is currently being sold to Kyushu Electric Power Company under a 20-year power purchase agreement.
Sharp Solar Profit Is Positive Again (Solar Cell Sales Increase 69%) was originally published on Solar Love!.
Originally published on EV Obsession. Tesla Hiring For Move Into 2nd Manufacturing Facility (via EV Obsession) Tesla Motors is planning to expand into a second facility in California — in Lathrop, about 52 miles northeast of the Fremont facility — according to recent reports. The company has apparently already been granted building permits to modify
Tesla Expanding Into Second Facility In Lathrop, California — Now Hiring was originally published on CleanTechnica.
Mars Incorporated has agreed to the construction of a wind farm that will have a generation capacity of a whopping 200 MW. That is enough to cover the electricity usage of its entire US operations! Mars’ US operations comprise 70 sites, including 37 factories and 25,000 associates. The Mars wind farm will be built by Blattner Energy
Improving loan opportunities could boost solar rates where third-party financing is lacking in some states, said Banking on Solar recently. Assembled by the Department of Energy’s (DOE) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), Banking on Solar plans to make progress eliminating roadblocks for banks that want to invest more in solar energy’s potential, and increase their own
Originally published on Gas2. Yesterday, The Oatmeal creator Matthew Inman made a plea to Elon Musk to help build a museum dedicated to Nikola Tesla…and this morning, Musk responded. In a tweet sent this morning at 6 AM, Musk told Inman (via Tweet) that he “…would be happy to help.” Woot! Last year Inman launched a
The Oatmeal Woos Tesla Motors, Elon Musk Agrees To Help Build Nikola Tesla Museum was originally published on CleanTechnica.
A representative of Soligent recently passed along an interesting note regarding a US movement away from solar PPAs and leases. Basically, as solar costs have dropped and banks have warmed up to solar, it has become more and more attractive for homeowners to go solar with cash or a bank loan. That trend is expected to continue. In the following Soligent graph of a home in California, you can see how different options turn out for customers over the course of several years.
I’ve previously looked at solar leasing/PPAs vs financing a solar system via a loan vs buying outright with cash and have found a split between leasing/PPAs and getting a loan (buying outright is always better in the long term, but that’s without considering opportunity cost). However, that was just a look at 10 houses in 10 different cities. Furthermore, it was a snapshot, rather than a look at prevailing trends.
Along the same lines as Soligent’s point above, analyst Travis Hoium on Motley Fool recently noted that SolarCity seems to be seeing a bigger % of its business coming from sales despite preferring to do leases.
I think cash or loan sales will become ever more common in the future, particularly as costs fall. If a consumer buys a system, he can keep the tax benefits as well as all of the cost savings from going solar. As solar loans become more prevalent, we’ll see rates fall to somewhere near SolarCity’s securitization deal, meaning homeowners will be able to take advantage of solar financing without giving ownership out to someone else.
I also think we’ll see installers compete on cost of installation as the number of installers grow, which will cut margins. It’s far easier to compare two cash offers from installers than a 20-year lease to a fixed cost to install a system, which may be the case today. Since SolarCity has better infrastructure in financing, it can offer better rates on leases, expanding margins, but won’t have the same advantage competing for cash sales.
No disagreement here, which is one reason why I’ve bought stock in SunPower but not SolarCity. Specifically regarding that topic, Travis writes:
That’s why I see SunPower, which makes the industry’s most efficient panels and sells through partners, and RGS Energy, which offers a suite of sale options, as better values in the current marketplace. With a $6 billion valuation, SolarCity is priced as if it will generate $2 in value from installations for years to come, but I think that number will fall, particularly as cash sales increase.
If the shift away from leases does happen, SunPower and RGS Energy will be better able to compete and offer more upside for investors with $4 billion and $200 million market caps, respectively.
SunPower is already profitable, RGS Energy expects to be EBITDA positive in Q4, and SolarCity is still losing money quarter after quarter and can’t generate positive margins on cash sales today. You’d have to assume leases continue to grow and margins remain high to think SolarCity is a value today and that’s not the way I think the market is headed.
To back up this one analysts thoughts and words on a potential shift away from solar leasing & PPAs, here’s a recent graph from GTM Research on the flattening out of these options as a percentage of all residential solar installations over the past few years:
Interesting stuff. But third-party solar is still clearly dominant. We’ll be keeping an eye on these things in the months and years to come.
Are Solar Leasing & PPAs Going To Suffer From Maturing Solar Market? was originally published on Solar Love!.
First Solar is continuing to do quite well, based on the most recent numbers released by the Arizona-based thin-film module manufacturer. An 89% boost (to $112 million dollars) in net profit as compared to the previous year, and a 26% year-on-year increase in net sales (up to $950.2 million dollars) ain’t too shabby.
The company has also reported 404 MW worth of new bookings during just the first three months of 2014. One of these bookings is the 53 MW Shams Ma’an project in Jordan.
Total revenue also rose significantly, up $182 million from the fourth quarter of 2013. The company has attributed much of the increase in revenue to the Campo Verde project.
The 139 MW Campo Verde Solar Project in California was sold last year to Southern Company subsidiary Southern Power and Turner Renewable Energy. Roughly 65% of the company’s revenue stems from the construction and sale of utility-scale solar farms.
Bloomberg provides more:
The company has identified 12.2 GW of potential new contracts over the next few years, with 59% coming from projects outside the US and “widespread utility scale interest in the US,” Hughes said yesterday during a conference call.
Net income in the first quarter rose to $112 million, or $1.10 a share, from $59.1 million, or 66 cents a share, a year earlier, the company said in a statement yesterday. That was more than double the 50-cent average of nine estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
First Solar CEO Jim Hughes stated: “We delivered strong earnings in the first quarter and are increasing our financial guidance for the year based on these results. We have also made significant progress in new bookings and continue to execute on our technology roadmap.”
In related news, First Solar just recently reported that it had set a new world record for cadmium-telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic (PV) module conversion efficiency, something which should further help the well-regarded solar company continue to be a market leader. The new record stands at 17% conversion efficiency — a pretty big boost from the previous record of 16.1%.
First Solar Reports 89% Surge In First-Quarter Net Profit was originally published on Solar Love!.
A website titled Back Balcombe writes: “Last summer, a company called Cuadrilla came to drill for oil and gas. It did not go well. So the village did what villages do best: they held a public meeting.”
But this meeting resulted in more than complaining. It was one of countless such meetings across the world that led to a clean energy transition. In this case, a clean energy co-op called REPOWERBalcombe.
“They’re building enough community-owned solar power to match the electricity needs of every home in the village. It’s bold, it’s brilliant, and it should be the shape of things to come.”
There isn’t a lot more info there, but there’s an option to sign up for updates, and I did snap a few screenshots that I think are worth seeing:
Yes, I’m sure that first one looks familiar to many of you, as it’s the same one we often share but with white bars instead of blue. The source of the data is Bloomberg New Energy Finance.