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Point Roberts, WA, United States, 2008/09/18 - RenewableEnergyStocks.com, a leading investor news and research portal for the renewable energy sector within Investorideas.com, presents a sector close-up on solar stocks in the Green Investor series by environmental writer Paulo Nery.
Solar stocks featured include Premier Power Renewable Energy Inc., Akeena Solar (AKNS) and XsunX, Inc. (OTCBB: XSNX).
Column by Paulo Nery, Exclusively for Investorideas.com
Solar Integrators Deliver Growth
Excerpt: (Full article at InvestorIdeas.com – follow links to greentech investor)
While the whole market seemed to be slipping downhill on September 15th, there was one bold company that actually listed publicly that day and seemed to roar straight out of the gates. That company was Premier Power Renewable Energy Inc., which launched on the Over the Counter (OTC) bulletin board via a reverse merger rather than a standard IPO.
Premier Power is one of several solar integration companies who make it their business to design and build solar power installations on a medium to large scale. They install systems for commercial, municipal and agricultural as well as residential customers. One of their core markets is wineries and vineyards. Premier operates in Spain, California, Nevada, New York and New Jersey. Plus they are now said to be looking for business in France and Italy.
According to the company's press release it closed a $7 million private placement of 3.5 million shares at $2 each. Their market capitalization comes in at $151.8 million. They claim customers such as KB Home, Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E), Princeton University, Shafer Vineyards, Silverado Wineries, ATT, and Jay Leno among others.
Premier Power says they posted sales of $16.7 million in 2007 with a net income of $843,865 for the year. They also report that they have contracted $48 million in sales for 2008. At face value, that's almost 300% growth. However they've posted slightly under $18 million on their income statement for the first six months of 2008.
Premier's rapid growth in 2008 sales is impressive, but it could be partly due to clients rushing to get systems installed ahead of the expiration of the Federal tax credits at the end of this year. Several other solar installers and integrators have reported this happening among their clients too. Though the existing scheme of tax credits is widely expected to be extended or even made slightly better.
And while the business is obviously growing, solar power is not really economically viable yet at the true cost of solar photovoltaic panels. The entire solar industry is underpinned by government subsidy and incentives at the moment. That's a place where nothing is really for certain, and seems slightly uncomfortable to me. It's fairly clear that if Senator Obama wins the presidential election he'll be pushing for more solar incentives which will help companies like Premier. But Senator McCain's position is somewhat less clear.
Longer term, there are positive factors for solar integrators and installers. Firstly, silicon prices are falling. Then there are alternative solar technologies emerging like thin film which hold out the promise of much lower cost. Companies like XsunX (OTC BB:XSNX.OB – News) are working to complete the assembly of their multi-megawatt thin film manufacturing operations and begin delivering thin film solar modules to a growing market that is clamouring for more supplies and lower prices solutions. In addition to thin film technologies offering lower costs today experts expect that costs may continue to go lower still making thin film solutions such as those offered by XsunX highly attractive. Thin film is generally seen as a utility scale solution because of its lower efficiency and therefore greater area needed to generate the same power. But as its cost drops and efficiency increases it will make increasing sense for small commercial and residential applications. That could easily spark new demand and at the same time improve margins for the installers and integration companies.
Premier is by no means the only big solar installer/integrator play out there. Another to consider is Akeena Solar (AKNS) which with a market cap of $108 million, is a similar company to PPRW in size and in their operating regions. Akeena Solar focuses on markets in California, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Connecticut. But Akeena is also more focused on residential and small commercial market which according to SolarBuzz, a research and consulting firm, represent approximately 65 percent of the U.S. market, and will continue to do so through 2010.
Apart from these two there are hundreds of smaller private companies in the integration and installation space operating more locally. They'll offer competition and some may emerge in time as public companies too. And there are companies like BP who design and install systems as well as manufacturing panels. But being an integrated energy company, they are more levered to oil and cannot be regarded as an investment play on solar.
Disclosure: Paulo Nery does not currently own shares of any of the companies named above.
Featured Showcase Solar Company XsunX: (OTC BB: XSNX.OB - News)
Based in Aliso Viejo, Calif., XsunX is developing amorphous silicon thin film photovoltaic (TFPV) solar cell manufacturing processes to produce TFPV solar modules. To deliver its products the Company has begun to build a multi-megawatt TFPV solar module production facility in the United States to meet the growing demand for solar cell products used in large-scale commercial projects, utility power fields, and other on-grid applications. Employing a phased roll out of production capacity, it plans to grow manufacturing capacities to over 100 megawatts by 2010. More info on XsunX, Inc. can be found on our media profile or the company website.
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Source: RenewableEnergyStocks.com; XSNX; Investorideas.com