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  • Why The Fed's Primary Dealers Are Buying Platinum [View article]
    Platinum is great, but palladium is way - way better.
    Oct 25 12:41 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • The new paradigm for palladium [View instapost]
    The Russian story keeps getting better:
    Oct 25 01:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Rally Ahead For Rare Earth Stocks? [View article]
    Dacha at current prices is a no-brainer. Unless the company is somehow a fraud, it is undervalued like nothing else out there. - Which explains their active share buyback program. I, for one, am not selling my DSM holdings!
    Oct 21 04:17 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • More Dark Days Ahead For Suntech Power? [View article]
    Grid parity on a massive scale is coming. Hawaii has been mentioned. A big region will be Italy: Private consumers in Italy will reach grid parity within two years from now - even factoring in the high capital costs of capital in Italy:

    Suntech may or may not be the right company to be in, but you better be invested in photovoltaics during the coming 2-5 years. The recent valuations in the sector represent a opportunity of the kind you only get a few times in your lifetime.
    Oct 8 01:45 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Suntech Power Vs. First Solar [View article]
    "If and when Cd-Te takes off even further, there could be serious strains on Te prices, since this is a very rare Earth metal. " - which is why some of us have been accumulating physical tellurium for some years now. Pretty good pay off so far, by the way.

    Anyhow, STP and FSLR are both undervalued, but while FSLR is pretty cheap STP is ridiculously cheap. Solar (and Chinese solar in particular) is in a classic "negative bubble" right now. Everyone and his uncle was soo excited about the prospects on solar in 2007 and everybody was talking about growth potential (very few "party poopers" pointed out that companies like were FSLR selling at PE ratios of 100+ and P/B in the 10's). - "But think of the potential!"

    Come 2011 and the picture is inverted, but people are just as irrational:
    Today, every self respecting analyst is singing the same song: "Solar needs subsidies, governments are broke => no subsidies => no solar", and so on and so on. Nobody stops and asks the logical question: "What is a fair share price for solar company XX?"
    It is much easier just to answer "lower" than it is to actually *think* and put an actual number on it.

    Some people are going to get rich when solar eventually rebounds - and it will. I am not going to try to catch this particular fish at the bottom - I buying on the way down!
    Oct 3 11:40 PM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • Solar Stocks To Buy Now [View article]
    Yes, some Chinese companies have been / are bogus. But what I don't understand is why this argument is only applied to Chinese stocks.

    The (by far) biggest corporate fraud in recent decades was a US invention: Enron. Cheered as the "most innovative company of the year" for *six* consecutive years by Fortune Magazine - the only innovation they did was ways to hide debt off the balance sheet!!

    And worse - after the collapse of Enron the employees were scattered among big US companies (including banks and investment banks) taking their dubious practices with them.
    The "sub-prime" crash of 2008 was in no small part due to Enron-accounting practices (this time, by hiding junk-debt in bundles and assigning it AAA ratings).

    (Read Nial Ferguson's "Ascent of Money" if interested)

    Oh - and let's not forget Bernie Madof...

    Fraud is NOT a Chinese invention - and if they want to learn it on a large scale they should visit the west!
    Sep 28 11:33 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Solar Stocks To Buy Now [View article]
    As it has been pointed out here and elsewhere the current prices of STP, TSL, JASO, JKS, LDK, DQ, YGE... are ridiculous.

    Back in 2007-2008, when these stocks where 10-20 *times* what they are now, the price/book values, price/sales, price/earning, PEG -values were like something out of the IT bubble. Everything based on expectations of enormous growth (analysts talked about CAGR of 25 to 30%).

    What happened?

    Even more enormous growth!! These companies have grown their businesses by something like 55% CAGR *despite the financial crisis*!! They have brought down module production costs by as much as a factor of 2 despite the bull in almost all input commodities (electricity (coal), silver, glass, copper, etc.).

    It defies belief just how well these companies have really done - and the market reaction is to beat them down by 20x??

    Chinese solar, IMhO is a buying opportunity of a lifetime.
    Sep 28 12:45 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Sovereign Debts and Natural Limit of Growth [View instapost]

    I had the Barlett qoute you used in the preface of my phd thesis! Another favorite:
    "Anyone who believes exponential growth can continue forever in a finite world is either a madman or an economist" - Kenneth E. Boulding (Economist at Boulder Univ.)

    I know you (unlike 99%) fully appreciate the importance of peak oil/fossil energy, but check out this video anyway:

    Also make sure to see video 2 about peak debt.

    Gold makes sense - but I must confess I also kind of like Bitcoins (I've written two pieces on it on SA:)

    Sep 19 07:59 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Limits To Keynesianism [View article]
    Oregon. Intelligent city planning. Excellent public transportation. Etc. Check
    Sep 16 12:49 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • Limits To Keynesianism [View article]
    Exactly right Gregor (as usual). Growth is over; permanently (at least in the West).

    Btw. I hope you are enjoy your move to Portland. Your reasoning for doing so makes a lot of sense.
    Sep 15 01:06 AM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • A Look At Some Of The Big Picture Numbers For Solars [View article]
    "At best, we might be looking at 25 to 35 GW of demand for 2012."
    - based on what??

    If we extend growth rates from 2000-2010 (avg. CAGR of 50% or so) this estimate seems a bit low - even the 35 GW estimate strikes me as below-trend performance. (remember, 2010 saw 17 GW installed cap.)
    Sure Goldman Sachs et al. project much lower growth rates for solar, but these guys have about the same track record for projecting solar as CERA has for projecting oil: Ridiculously wrong. (GS projection from five years ago was something like 4 GW for 2010.)
    Sep 12 09:42 PM | Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Time To Kill The Electric Car, Drive A Stake Through Its Heart And Burn The Corpse [View article]
    Glen Doty,

    Thank you very much for the answer. I was just attending a talk today at Stanford by Eicke Weber - the director of the Fraunhofer ISE in Freiburg (Europe's largest solar research center with 1100+ emplyees). He said, that the c-Si panels that were installed on a building - in 1982 (!!) - still deliver over 80% of thier rated capacity and degradation rates are very slow. Who knows how many more years they will keep going?

    Can you point me to an example of a WTG that has run for almost 30 years (without change of major components like gearboxes, etc.)?
    I agree about the capacity factor and I suspect you are right about the inverters, but I am not convinced that a PV with no moving parts really has lower O&M costs.
    In any case windpower is (currently) cheaper, to be sure, so let's get the ball rolling on the synthetic fuels!
    Aug 29 11:58 PM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Time To Kill The Electric Car, Drive A Stake Through Its Heart And Burn The Corpse [View article]
    Glenn Doty,

    I'm a big fan of your renewable FT fuel concept. I work as a researcher in the field of catalysis and electrocatalysis myself so I have a some knowledge on the subject.

    I'm not quite sure about your 1:6 LCOE figure for wind vs. solar, however. It seems like a figure that is at least a few years old.
    Other sources quote a figure that is more like 1:1.8 See e.g ( ).
    Furthermore, the GWEO cites the 2010 price of installed wind power as 1327 EUR/kWp. ( 2010 final.pdf ), while the average installed cost of large scale PV in Germany was 2400 EUR/kWp in 2010 ( ).
    These figures indicate also indicate a ratio of roughly 1:1.8.

    I realize that capacity factors of wind turbines are higher than they are for PV in Germany, but in SW USA PV is not bad at all. Therefore I seriously doubt the 1:6 ratio, you quote.

    In Europe, 13.3 GWp of PV was installed in 2010. For wind the figure was about 9.3 GWp...

    For your RFT fuels, however, solar electricity as just as good as wind electricity so I don't understand why you make a point about PV being more costly than wind.
    Aug 27 01:19 AM | 1 Like Like |Link to Comment
  • It's Time To Kill The Electric Car, Drive A Stake Through Its Heart And Burn The Corpse [View article]
    I absolutely agree. Stellar argument, John presents. I just wish the title had been:

    "It is time to kill the *car*, drive a stake..."

    The time when we could afford to use over 1000+ kg of steel to transport 70 kg of human cargo while burning 2.5 MJ/ of fossil solar energy for every kilometer is over. Permanently.

    Bring on those two-wheelers!
    Aug 27 12:04 AM | 2 Likes Like |Link to Comment
  • REE/Strategic Mineral Concentrator, August 19, 2011 [View instapost]
    OK, good luck. I'm in there with you!

    Btw. I agree, that now might not be a bad time for Dacha to sell at least some of their Dy/Tb and lock in some profits.
    Aug 22 11:24 AM | 3 Likes Like |Link to Comment