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  • Preview For Canadian Solar's Q1 2012 After A Relatively Successful 2011 [View article]
    There was a editing glitch. The last paragraph should have been the first.
    May 9, 2012. 06:01 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Renesola's Prospects Remain Cloudy Despite A Well Executed 2011 Fiscal Year [View article]
    There was a editing glitch. The last paragraph should have been the first paragraph.
    May 9, 2012. 06:00 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Understanding California's Solar Equation [View article]
    When comparing costs for electricity especially across various competing formats, it is best to use LCOE as I described above. The cost per watt varies greatly between coal, oil, natural gas, hydro, nuclear, wind, solar, etc. Some have higher fixed costs but little operational costs, such as solar. Others have low fixed costs but higher operating costs due to constant fuel consumption. LCOE is the best method of comparing costs because it simply gives the cost of electricity over a period of time usually the expected operating lifespan of the power plant.

    The point of this article was simply to show what utilities are willing to pay for electricity of various forms in California. Specifically, it is to show renewable energy particularly solar PV has reached a cost point directly comparable to natural gas. It would take much longer to describe the situation in other parts of the world because there are so many varying factors. As noted in a reader comment, most of Hawaii's electricity is from power generated from imported oil and thus is much higher cost than natural gas plants in California. That is also why retail electricity rates in Hawaii are also significantly higher in nearly all other parts of the USA.

    There are also many other factors which are not discussed in great detail in this article. Some examples include as also mentioned in a reader comment, solar power is distributed power generation. This mean it can be built where it is needed, often saving on distribution costs. In addition, solar produces electricity during peak hours when electricity rates are generally higher. These factors for example have not been factored into basic calculations above.

    Solar PV is not viable everywhere nor can it replace other electricity power generating sources. In certain regions depending on various factors, solar PV's costs can be economically viable without subsidies and thus be utilized in conjunction with other sources. This critical mass point has at least been reached in California and that is the point of this article.
    Apr 12, 2012. 10:56 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The Solar Bubble Has Officially Burst - Survivors Will Ultimately Capture More Market Share [View article]
    Non-silicon module conversion costs have roughly 10% labor, 10% utility, 10% depreciation, and 70% raw materials. These percentages are further lowered since polysilicon still makes up 25-30% of a module's unit cost. The process is highly automated and anyone can check out demonstration videos at company websites. Wages haven't been disclosed by if you take companies at their word, it's much higher than "minimal" because operating advanced equipment requires slightly more skill than assembling toys for example.

    As for utility, Chinese companies pay industrial rates up to 75% higher than residential rates, a flip contrast to western countries. One can argue if these usd $0.11-0.12/kwh industrial rates are too low but you might also want to research what polysilicon producers in the US pay for electricity. Take my word for it, it's considerably lower.

    As for depreciation, that's per US GAAP standards the same as any US public company.

    If anyone wants to really know why China is so efficient, dig deeper into its pv raw materials supply chain vs any US/Japanese/Western peer. A superior raw materials supply chain is simply the key reason why its manufacturing base is far more efficient than most other countries.
    Apr 7, 2012. 11:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Perfect World Announces A $2.00 Per Share Dividend On Record Q4 2011 Earnings [View article]
    I can't and won't comment on how the market values any company at any given point in time. As I mentioned, I have discussed PWRD in previous articles so please refer to that. As for the price adjustment ex-dividend, that always occurs - stocks drop by the same amount as the dividend amount. You can research dividend terminology to understand how it's done.

    While management has stated they do not look at its share price, they have proactively taken steps they believe are in the best interest of shareholders. In the past three years, they have repurchased almost 13m shares, reducing the share count from around 60m to 47m. Of course recently they did a $95m dividend payout. Had they not bought back any shares in the past, this payout would have been closer to 1.50/share instead of 2.00/share. They indicated that annual dividends would repeat and be dependent on the company's earnings. Thus if earnings remain stable and dividends repeat, holding PWRD stock would yield about a 12-14% return, regardless of how its actual share price performs.

    Lastly to answer your question, the company bought a building about 4 years ago. It's a fixed asset that will likely be more or less neutral towards earnings since it's unlikely to be sold. In other words it's more a capital investment than the way you described it being more an expense.
    Apr 5, 2012. 07:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Perfect World Announces A $2.00 Per Share Dividend On Record Q4 2011 Earnings [View article]
    You can read some of my previous articles on PWRD. At least from my point of view that's taken from management's consistent comments in the past, the company is not as concerned about maximizing near term profitability. They are only looking at building a leading brand not only in China but globally. In order to achieve this, they are leveraging the company's extremely rich cash flows and investing it in assets which may return yields in the future. Of course until all these investments yield results, PWRD's earnings will look weaker than peers which spend less, hence the drag on its relative share price. I sense management will not change their strategy so its stock may not be ideal for short term investors. At least they have been proactive lately and rewarding longer term holders with fairly high dividends.
    Apr 5, 2012. 11:55 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ramifications Of U.S. Commerce Department's Solar Anti-Subsidy Decision [View article]
    It would take many pages to answer your questions in full detail which I will not do here. You do raise very valid questions and what I have tried to do is explain the industry through my articles.

    The vast vast majority of installed solar power is due to subsidies. Without subsidies, solar would not have been economically viable at the costs installed in the past however many years you want to go back. That is a fact and I do not dispute it. Subsidies are not new to any industry and the point was to help the solar industry achieve high enough scale to reach critical mass in terms of costs. You can either do the research yourself or take my word for it, costs have reached levels where subsidies are no longer required in many markets. Subsidized FIT rates falling well below grid in Germany is only one example.

    This applies to FSLR which is among the industry's cost leaders for total installed project cost. The specific project you are referring to had terms arranged several years ago. If planned today, I'm sure prices would be much lower. Utililties tend to pay higher rates for renewable power because the government at various levels requires an increasing portion of its portfolio come from renewable sources. It's also often not discussed but pricing is often equalized for environmental effects such as pollution. Look up carbon credits for an example. This makes installing new renewable capacity just as attractive as shutting down high carbon emitting coal plants. Once again research the rate coal plants are being shut down across the country. Thus at $0.15/kwh by itself seems subsidized, above market, losing money, etc whatever you want to label it. Other factors including, utilities which are profit generating entities generally do not look to do bad business. Lastly you also have to consider this rate is fixed over 25 years. What is a higher rate TODAY may be a much lower rate in a few years. Want for details, research how to calculate adjusted levelized costs when inflation is considered. On average over 25 years, the utility has planned on generating an overall degree of profits from this power purchasing agreement.

    I hope I gave enough examples for people to understand things a little better. It would take many pages to fully describe it in methods the casual viewer could rationalize.
    Mar 25, 2012. 10:42 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Ramifications Of U.S. Commerce Department's Solar Anti-Subsidy Decision [View article]
    I have tried to make a point of not replying to comments in my articles but on this issue and especially when facts are portrayed inaccurately I have to take exception.

    Buffett's solar farm has a ppa of $0.15/kwh for 25 years. That is not 3-5x market rates in California. If you live there you would know rates average around $0.12/kwh but can go much higher during peak hours. Because solar power is generated mostly during peak hours, comparing costs to average rates can be misleading.

    As FSLR has shown, solar can already be cost effective domestically. My argument was not to support Chinese solar companies because if it could be done within the US at a cost effective level, of course that's best for Americans. My argument was to show a large portion of the value chain does not go to Chinese companies. Chinese solar companies are simply more efficient manufacturers due to logistics, vertical and horizontal integration - steps many US manufacturers tend to overlook witnessed by SPWR's horrid supply chain of yesteryear which transversed across 4-5 different countries. As history has already PROVEN, solar industry trade between the US and China has been to the advantage of the US. Any non-market disruptive influences may penalize US solar industries which have effectively competed with global and Chinese counterparts prior.

    Whether the US wants a major role in the solar industry is up to us Americans. It's clear solar installations has expanded by large degrees in all parts of the world including China. By politicizing the issue even with token tariffs, the US would only marginalize its already successful solar companies on the world stage. In the long term it would only mean the US becoming another laggard in another booming industry.
    Mar 23, 2012. 05:23 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Perfect World Announces A $2.00 Per Share Dividend On Record Q4 2011 Earnings [View article]
    According to the conference call, the money will be distributed in early/mid April. From there the nasdaq sets the ex-dividend. My guess, in about 4-6 weeks. If you bought in Feb and hold it through the ex-dividend date, $2 per share will show up in your account. Keep in mind on the flip side the stock usually drops about the same amount as the dividend. This is only meant to reward long term investors with periodic income. Short term oriented traders may not care about the dividend and probably should exit the stock especially on gains prior to the ex-dividend.
    Mar 16, 2012. 06:28 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Daqo New Energy Revises Q2 2011 Earnings Lower [View article]
    Not really. DQ's earnings included almost $4m of government grants which I did not include into my estimates. Without that, the net income line would have been similar. As I state in all my estimates, I calculate only operational numbers. Other non-operational figures that cannot be predicted are excluded. I'm not saying DQ ins't cheap, because it is. However realize its earnings are and will continue to trend down as I have stated in previous DQ articles.
    Aug 15, 2011. 03:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Valuations for Chinese Solar Companies May Be Unsustainably Low [View article]
    The point I was trying to make in the article was not to endorse any particular company. CSUN was used as an example because it was the first among the group to literally trade below 1x trailing PE. Had another company achieved that milestone first, the article would have named it instead. What companies I own or do not own may be a better representation of my sentiment if it's not already implied within the article.
    Aug 9, 2011. 11:19 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What Investors Should Know About China's Upcoming Solar Feed-in-Tariff [View article]
    It's tough to pin any number for any country or region since climate can be fairly diverse. I'm sure southern France is much different from northern France. Even for California which gets fairly good sunshine everywhere, there can be a big difference. STP's 150mw project in California for example is expected to yield 2.3kwh/y.

    At first I was a bit skeptical when reading Chinese local government claiims on their region's annual sunshine hours, but the Dunhuang project demostrates close to 3kwh/y is definitely possible. Contrast that with costal China and you get something more on the order of 1.5-2.0kwh/y. An FIT rate of rmb 1.15/kwh would be overkill in the western desert regions, but would clearly be required for costal China at least if IRRs are expected.
    Aug 2, 2011. 05:31 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Renesola Could Face Higher Than Expected Silicon Wafer Price Pressure in Q2 [View article]
    Read all my articles and disclosures regarding my estimates. I do not speculate outside of information provided directly or indirectly by the company. If companies I make estimates on due to previously disclosed information make guidance adjustments then most likely my estimates will also have to be adjusted. In this article I cited reasons to adjust estimates on comments the company previously made due to information provided by the market. However I still kept other metrics within the parameters provided by the company.
    Jul 13, 2011. 10:00 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Trina Solar's Trading Activity May Mark an Inflection Point [View article]
    It's a sentiment observation no more or no less different than technical obervations traders make. Perhaps you didn't notice but I did differentiate tsl from being a potential fraud vs other companies which have been targeted more recently. In any case I've held tsl since 2007 and don't plan to sell in the event it might appreciate due to any perceived "pumping" articles including my own.
    Jul 13, 2011. 09:48 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Daqo Tops Earnings Expectations, Faces Pricing Pressure Moving Forward [View article]
    "I think some folks definitely need more education before they post."

    You might want to take your own advice "beststockpicker." Just review not only the sheer number of your comments, but your statements regarding CSUN and DQ in my articles. I don't make calls on stock price activity, but perhaps you should have paid more attention when I heeded caution on gauging companies on unsustainable metrics.
    Jun 17, 2011. 01:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment