Posts Tagged ‘solar energy’

Mad Hedge Fund Trader’s Global Market Comments

Mad Hedge Fund Trader’s Global Market Comments
October 6, 2009

Featured Trades: (OBAMA), (FSLR), (SOLAR) 

1) If you wonder where I am on the evening of Thursday, October 15, I will be having dinner with Barrack Obama, President of the United States. I received the invitation to San Francisco’s exclusive Saint Francis Hotel to meet the Commander-in-Chief with 250 of the city’s “A-listers,” which I have reproduced below. Of course $30,400 for two is a bargain to sit down with the most powerful man in the world, but that doesn’t include another $10,000 for my date’s dress. I have been asked to arrive two hours early to provide for security screening. With my opinions plastered all over the Internet, that will no doubt involve a full proctologic exam. But hey, anything for some overcooked chicken.  Times are hard, and we all have to do our bit to stimulate the economy. Maybe I should go for a table of ten for only $150,000? Until then I shall be boning up on subjects I know are dear to the President’s heart to make chit chat, like playoffs for college football, or how he got stiffed in his Chicago Olympic bid. He could have made such a killing renting out his Hyde Park house that I visited last December (click here for story ), which would have been walking distance from many of the events! How much do you think I should  leave for a tip?
 

     Obama2.jpg picture by madhedge    
 
 
Obama5.jpg picture by madhedge 
 
 
2) Solar is about to become a big part of our lives, as it careens toward long sought profitability, and it will suit you to learn more about it. To get a good introduction to the industry, both through some good engineering statistics and some great pictures, then check out the September edition of National Geographic magazine by clicking here. Total world electricity demand today is 16 terawatts (16,000 megawatts), and that is expected to grow to 20 terawatts by 2020. Solar comes in two flavors, thermal and photovoltaic (PV). Thermal is the old dinosaur technology, with thousands of convex mirrors arrayed to heat piped oil, which is then used to power a conventional steam power plan, converting about 24% of the sun’s energy into electricity. The future is with photovoltaic


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Solar Panel Glut

Solar stock lovers, here are a few articles reporting a glut in solar panels likely to persist for years. - Ilene

Solar Panel Glut Will Scorch Small Players (CSIQ, FSLR, SPWRA)

solar panelsCourtesy of Lawrence Delevingne at Clusterstock

The predicted story of 2009 for solar — crushed demand leading to a major glut in panels — is playing out even worse than expected.

A new report from research firm DisplaySearch says solar panel production is up 56% this year versus last, while demand is down 17%.

This wild imbalance will clobber the small fish in the market.

Charles Annis, author of the DisplaySearch report, tells us to expect "rapid price declines, building inventories, lower profit margins, losses for many, and likely some industry consolidation."

It’s not all bad. "The current ‘Solar Cycle’ is severe due to changes in policy and the economy, but another boom will come and the industry will continue to grow and mature."

Stefan de Haan, senior analyst of photovoltaics at iSuppli says the over-supply is going to be monstrous. "Our actual numbers translate into a module oversupply of 90% this year. This is the peak of the module "glut". From 2010 on, the situation will ease due to adjusted production volumes and increased end-user demand."

So, who’s in trouble? iSuppli’s de Haan mentions Solon (one of the biggest European producers) and new polysilicon manufacturers using the "Siemens" process, many of them from China.

Climatewire points to to Advent Solar, DayStar Technologies and Blue Square Energy as "among the solar companies in the United States that are feeling the pinch and could be shaky."

But why are big fish like First Solar (FSLR), SunPower (SPWRA) and Canadian Solar (CSIQ) — who all turned in good second quarter financial results — doing well?

"In most cases, costs will be decisive," says de Haan. First Solar benefits from a cost advantage, SunPower has a better brand so it can command a premium, and "they benefit from the developing Californian market – small in absolute numbers, but growing significantly."

Adds Annis: "The PV supply chain is very broad based. The effects of the glut affect different companies quite differently. The companies you mention are all market leaders, are vertically integrated, benefit from scale of manufacturing and long term supply contracts. They have low costs per watt and even with the dramatic reduction in module pricing, costs…
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About Phil:

Philip R. Davis is a founder Phil's Stock World, a stock and options trading site that teaches the art of options trading to newcomers and devises advanced strategies for expert traders...

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About Ilene:

Ilene is editor and affiliate program coordinator for PSW. Contact Ilene to learn about our affiliate and content sharing programs.