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  • SolarCity: Raising Rooftop Solar's Barriers To Entry [View article]
    Thanks, Mario!
    Apr 20, 2015. 08:46 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • SolarCity: Raising Rooftop Solar's Barriers To Entry [View article]
    All: I have a solar system that is 15 years old, and is "obsolete" by the limited definition used above. I have no intention of removing it, however. Indeed, I just added an east facing array of state of the art panels that increased the generation of my solar by 50%. Why should I get rid of either of them, ever? As long as they generate electricity, I've got it made.
    The Sacramento municipal utility system in California has a solar PV array that is 30 years old, and it's still pumping out electricity, and there are no plans to replace it or remove it that I know of. Why should they if its still working?
    Some people are driving cars that are 50 years old, and see no reason to "upgrade" if the car is still working and doing the job it is supposed to do. Why spend money on a new car if the old one still works?
    Remember, prop-driven planes and sailboats are both based on "obsolete" technology, but you see them everywhere. Just because we have jets and powerboats doesn't mean that outdated technology doesn't have its appeal!
    Apr 14, 2015. 01:23 PM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Busting The Myth Of Grid Parity: The Residential Solar PPA/Lease Death Spiral [View article]
    Thanks for the additional detail, Doc! Financing with short term debt is a hazard for any company. Good to know.
    Mar 30, 2015. 11:39 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Busting The Myth Of Grid Parity: The Residential Solar PPA/Lease Death Spiral [View article]
    Works for me, CA. Thanks again for all your hard work and diligence.
    Mar 30, 2015. 11:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Busting The Myth Of Grid Parity: The Residential Solar PPA/Lease Death Spiral [View article]
    I remain skeptical about the predictions of fiscal Armageddon for the PPA/Lease model. A lot depends on whether the PPA's are used in the distributed solar market or the centralized utility generation market. For a company like SCTY, which uses both, and employs a growth over profitability model that resembles a hybrid of a non-pass through REIT and a high-tech growth company more than a traditional Solar Corporation, plotting the ultimate outcome of their business dynamic is perilous.
    For instance, SCTY has a $1.55 debt as a company, which is about 1/3 of its market capitalization. If we treat that debt as a 30 year solar mortgage, servicing the principal and the interest on that debt at today's rates, would yield an annual cost of a little over $7,850,000. This, for a company with annual revenues of $255 million, would not seem to be an inordinate level of debt service (about 3% of revenues). This might explain why the big banks continue to line up to loan SCTY money to continue marketing on its existing model.
    If SCTY continues to self-finance its own expansion, it could conceivably continue to grow for quite some time to come even while operating at a technical loss. Only when the solar market itself begins to reach peak distribution, would it make sense for SCTY to change to a value first model by cutting back on expenses in order to achieve nominal profitability, and start looking at stock buybacks, dividend payouts and other mechanisms of value enhancement.
    For analysts like Casual Analyst, I think the chief question is whether SCTY can continue to grow revenues with its present model, including its recent modifications to allow for funding PV array purchases as well as offering lease arrangement, while holding the line on the growth of expenses. So far I've seen no indication that it can't, though changes in market regulations and credits will impact its model, and all other solar marketing models locally and nationally. Whether that impact will be marginal and temporary, or more long term and transformative will depend on the capacity of each solar company to meet these new challenges.
    As always, thanks for the vigorous discussion, all, and a special tip of the hat to CA for his deep research and provocative analysis.
    Full Disclosure: Long SCTY (including put sales and leap call purchases) and long SUNE, FSLR, CSIQ, JKS, SPWR & TSL.
    Mar 30, 2015. 03:34 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Has The Second Solar Boom Begun? [View article]
    Presently, the technology of the utility grids allows for enough source differentiation that storage is not needed as a backup at utility scale generation levels. Solar PV complements core power generation, and will continue to play that role as its contribution to overall power generation expands. Solar thermal, by contrast, generates electricity for many hours after sunset, and provides power in large volumes during the night hours, and without storage as as backup. Solar, in other words, is closing in on a 24/7 power generation capability without the added expense of battery storage.
    For the infinitely curious commentators on SA, I invite you to take a look at the BrightSource website for further information.
    Mar 27, 2015. 08:17 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Busting The Myth Of Grid Parity: Why Grid Parity Is A Misused Concept In The U.S. Solar Industry [View article]
    CA: Thanks for tackling this issue.There is a lot of talk about upgrading the national electrical grid, which is notoriously inefficient. How would a new national electrical grid, if we build one, have to be designed to account for the introduction of solar, wind, and other sustainable sources of energy? Do you think this issue applies to your discussion of grid parity issues, and if so, could you include this issue in your subsequent articles?
    Again, thank you for your hard work and dedication.
    Mar 26, 2015. 08:33 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Neuralstem: Top-Line Results Of Phase 2 ALS Trial Are Compelling [View article]
    xjetjerk: It's my understanding that in double blind studies like this, once sufficient, and clearly non-placebo progress has been shown in the treatment group, the members of the control group are incorporated into the treatment group so that they can benefit from the treatment as well. I would be surprised if that approach were not used here also. Thank you for raising this issue, however, as we still don't know when or if the placebo group is going to b allowed into treatment as well. And they should, most definitely!
    Mar 19, 2015. 11:21 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • SunPower's Concerning Capacity Expansion Plans [View article]
    There is some evidence that the price of Solar and Oil are finally decoupling. OIL is flat, while SPWR, FSLR & CSIQ have been breaking through their trend lines. Only SCTY has been lagging the pack, perhaps because its business model is so poorly understood. Good time to be long solar in a big way.
    Mar 17, 2015. 08:29 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • What To Make Of The Chaos At Acadia [View article]
    Well done, KKD! This is the best summary I've read explaining the run-up and the run-down. Quite a ride. We are basically back to where we were a month ago. This must be what they mean when they say investing in bio-techs is not for the faint of heart!
    Mar 12, 2015. 08:16 PM | 6 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Canadian Solar - An Increasingly Dominant Industry Player [View article]
    For CSIQ Yahoo! has a trailing P/E of 7.7, and a forward P/E of 6.25, for what it's worth.
    Mar 10, 2015. 10:48 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Commodities Today: Energy And Frac Sand Names Get Crushed, Solar Stocks Rising Again [View article]
    Matthew, the one thing I haven't been able to divine is when the solar stocks are going to decouple from the fossil fuel segment of the energy sector. And what would propel them if they did? Sentiment? Fundamentals? Lining up the hedge fund managers and giving them all a swift kick in the tailfeathers? Would like to hear your thoughts on how this might happen.
    Thanks for your article, and happy investing!
    Mar 1, 2015. 06:50 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • First Solar, Inc., SunPower Corporation To Form A Joint YieldCo Vehicle [View article]
    Gripe, gripe, gripe. It's good news and a good summary of the state of the yieldco phenomenon. They also serve who only update!
    Mar 1, 2015. 06:10 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • CellDex Leaves Them All Behind [View article]
    Such a happy surprise. So glad FDA has come on board with a promising approach to one of the most difficult cancers to treat. Time to load up on CLDX!
    Feb 23, 2015. 07:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Gilead: No Reason To Panic Here [View article]
    I bought at 101. It's a California thing. ;-)
    Feb 16, 2015. 09:47 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment