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SOLAR MAN: Going Off The Grid

by John Mackenzie

February 17, 2005



always good to read real world experiences like this with lots of practical tips, thanks. i question the choice of lead-acid batteries in this case, the reasons for choosing them are not given. the main reason for choosing them at this point would probably be price. but the use of NiMH would have eliminated many of the problems the author discusses (escaping hydrogen, corrosion from acid, the need to add distilled water, etc).


looks like the clean energy etf is set for a march 3 launch:

PowerShares Hires CTA Public Relations for WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio ETF Launch on Amex


PowerShares Capital Management, based in Wheaton Illinois, has retained CTA Public Relations for a national media relations program to support its upcoming exchange traded fund (ETF) product offerings. PowerShares expects to launch the "PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio," along with six "investment style" ETFs at the bell ringing ceremony on the American Stock Exchange on Thursday, March 3rd, 2005.

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PLUG takes off!


now, above $8


ReCap and updates:


(1) Alternative Energy Gets Real - BusinessWeek Online

Thursday December 23, 8:19 am ET

By John Carey http://biz.yahoo.com/bizwk/041223/b3914456_1.html


(2) Alternative Energy Gets Real -


Pricey oil and gas are heating up industrial interest in renewable sources




(5) PLUG (see(1)& (2)) is jogging around 6.0, open call, long term accumulation

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trinharder  Jan 13 2005, 02:45 AM 

WilderHill Clean Energy Index (ECO).

Components List:



WilderHill Clean Energy Index ETF to Begin Trading on Amex March 3, 2005

Tuesday March 1, 6:00 am ET


The "PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio" (Amex: PBW http://finance.yahoo.com/q?s=pbw&d=t )will begin trading on the American Stock Exchange March 3, 2005 and will replicate the WilderHill Clean Energy Index.


37 companies comprise the WilderHill Clean Energy Index


Use the link to see complete list - http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/050301/latu064_1.html

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Thin is in...


along with the general market sell-off today, this article might have had an effect on the solar plays:


Solar firms say silicon shortage will stall growth


note however that the thin-film plays, including those followed most closely here (ESLR, DSTI, ENER) sold off with the group even though a silicon shortage puts them at a relative advantage. they need silicon too, but less of it (depending on the exact method, as much as 90% less). DSTI and ENER closed right around their 50 day EMA, ESLR still above. not bad, but no new buys for me as long as the broader market looks as ugly as it did today.

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Wahaaaaaa! in less than a year, my DSTI recommendation let you enjoy 1200% profit.


Here is a new star, keep an eye (better use both eyes) on it....





SunPower Corp. (SPWR)

IPO File Date 8/25/05




The Sunnyvale maker of solar power products said there is also an option granted to the underwriters to purchase up to an additional $15 million to cover over-allotments.



SunPower was founded in 1985, but has been wholly-owned by San Jose-based Cypress Semiconductor Corp. (NYSE:CY)

The shares will be offered by an underwriting group managed by Credit Suisse First Boston LLC, Lehman Brothers Inc. SG Cowen & Co. and First Albany Capital Inc.




SunPower of Sunnyvale files IPO for $115 million in common stock

Posted on Fri, Aug. 26, 2005

Associated Press


WASHINGTON - Solar-power company SunPower Corp. filed an initial public offering to sell up to $115 million in Class A common stock.

Details about the number of shares to be offered or an estimated price range for the IPO weren't disclosed in the Thursday filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based company makes solar electric power products, including solar cells, solar panels and inverters that convert sunlight to electricity compatible with utility networks. SunPower said it intends to use the net proceeds from the IPO for the expansion of its manufacturing and for general corporate purposes.

The company plans to list its Class A common stock on the Nasdaq National Market under the symbol SPWR. For the six months ended June 30, SunPower lost $13.57 million. In the previous year, it lost $11.13 million. The $115 million valuation for the IPO was estimated solely for calculating the registration fee, the filing said. Often, the eventual price terms of an IPO offer differ substantially from the valuation in the first registration.



June 15, 2005

Sunnyvale, CA, USA: New Los Altos Hills Town Hall Powered by SunPower Solar System


SunPower Corporation has announced that its solar electric panels are being used to generate electricity for the new Town Hall in Los Altos Hills, California. This is the first North American commercial-scale installation of SunPower's industry-leading solar panels.

The new $4.5 million City of Los Altos Hills' Town Hall is now open for business and the city will host a dedication ceremony on Thursday, June 16, 2005. The building has been recognized for its innovative design features, including its SunPower solar system and use of energy-saving design and technologies.

The 37,000-watt Town Hall solar system uses 176 SunPower solar panels, with a Xantrex PV series inverter and was installed by EcoEnergies, Inc. of Sunnyvale, Calif. SunPower's ultra-high efficiency solar panels generate up to 50 percent more power per square foot than conventional solar technologies, reducing system costs. SunPower's panels are offered with a unique all-black appearance that is particularly attractive to homeowners and architects.

"With our limited unshaded roof area, we wanted to use solar panels that would maximize energy production per square foot," said Breene Kerr, mayor of Los Altos Hills, Calif. "Solar energy provides a sustainable solution to the Town Hall's energy needs while blending into the design. We are offering the public an example that we hope they will follow." Tom Werner, SunPower's CEO said, "We are delighted that the town of Los Altos Hills has selected SunPower's ultra-high efficiency solar panels for its Town Hall, a distinguished, environmentally sensitive building. Projects like these demonstrate the excellent progress being made toward California's 'million solar roofs' goal."

SunPower's solar panels have no moving parts and create pollution-free, no-cost electricity with virtually no maintenance. Due to SunPower's patented all-back contact cell design, its high-tech, high-performance solar panels perform better than comparable systems in both cloudy and hot weather.



August 23, 2005

Sunnyvale, CA, USA: SunPower Applies for Solar Cell ''Surface Polarization'' Patent



SunPower keeps Silicon Valley on cutting edge


We recently visited Sunnyvale's SunPower <http://www.sunpowercorp.com>, a producer of some cutting-edge photovoltaic system, having heard about their new highly-efficient photovoltaic system. If it works, it'll be a great example of how Silicon Valley expertise can solve new problems. Here's a company that is using the silicon manufacturing capabilities of its parent company, Cypress Semiconductor, to apparently construct a better module up front. SunPower is maximizing the active front surface available to absorb and convert sunlight, which means more efficiency.

The cells are designed with all the electrical contacts on the back surface where they don't block the sun. So its cells are producing 90 watts, while the industry norm is 75 watts, and its panels are smaller and better-looking. "We're trying to be the Audi, or BMW of solar,'' said Peter Aschenbrenner, SunPower's vice president of sales & marketing.

When SunPower launched in the U.S. market in October (it first launched in the German market in June) at a conference in San Francisco, we asked Barry Cinnamon of Akeena <http://www.akeena.net/>, one the nation's largest installers of solar panels, what he thought. Cinnamon was skeptical at the time, simply buying up Sharp's standard product for the time being and waiting to get more info.

We went back to him today, and here's what he said.

They have an excellent product that is very well positioned in the marketplace with regards to very high efficiency -- that is the trend that the industry will follow. Moreover, the aesthetics are good: black frames, black cells, etc. We are one of their initial distributors and are installing three of the very first shipment on the roofs of their top execs.



SunPower and Cypress


Cypress Semiconductor Corporation purchased a majority interest in SunPower in 2002, and subsequently supported the development and mass production manufacturing of SunPower's high-efficiency all back contact A-300 solar cell. Before moving production to the Philippines, SunPower operated a pilot line located within Cypress's Round Rock, Texas manufacturing plant




[san Jose, Calif.-based Cypress Semiconductor Corp] "It was a decision we made in our board meeting ?...," Rodgers said. "We've decided we're going to begin investigate doing an initial public offering for SunPower." Cypress has the cash to fund the division's planned manufacturing expansion, but the board decided taking the company public may be a more efficient means of raising the capital involved, he said.

Cypress' silicon solar cell subsidiary, SunPower Corp., exceeded its revenue target slightly, posting sales of $11 million in Q1.That was up 142 percent from Q4 2004 and comprised 6 percent of Cypress' Q1 revenue, as SunPower continued to ramp its initial 25 megawtt manufacturing line in the Philippines. Cypress expects continued growth for SunPower in Q2, based on sustained demand for its products and continued progress in the Philippines. The SunPower plan is to break even in Q3.

In fact, Rodgers said that the company was already planning its second 25 megawatt solar cell production line, which is what is prompting the IPO consideration. The first manufacturing line is debugged, and is seeing consistent yields around 85 percent, he said.

The second 25 megawatt solar cell manufacturing facility will cost approximately $100 million, Rodgers said. An IPO might not only help fund that, it could prove to make sense from an operations standpoint; SunPower operates as an individual entity within Cypress, with much of its own marketing and sales, Rodgers said.

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DSTI has come back down to under $10. I think this is a time to load up on DSTI. Too more solar panel stocks I like are WWAT and XSNX

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(infos only)


coal-to-liquids (CTL) - TECHNOLOGY RECOVERED

Liquefaction -- in which coal is usually crushed and heated to produce gas, then concentrated into liquid fuel -- was once seen as an expensive fallback of isolated regimes. Nazi Germany invested heavily, as did apartheid-era South Africa.


According to Energy Information Agency data, the United States is the largest coal reserve holder in the world. If only 5 percent were utilized to produce ultra-clean transportation fuels, it would be equivalent to the oil reserves in the United States.


(1) Syntroleum Corporation (Nasdaq:SYNM) owns a proprietary GTL process for converting natural gas as well as other materials like coal and petroleum coke into liquid hydrocarbons. The company plans to use its technology, as well as others, to develop and participate in gas-to-liquids and coal-to-liquids projects in a number of global locations. For more information about Syntroleum, visit


Syntroleum is in the process of examining potential CTL projects in the United States and Australia.

Business Wire August 11, 2005 http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_...11/ai_n14889462


(2) BEIJING - Turning China's abundant coal reserves into oil to help close a widening supply gap might once have seemed little more than a Maoist dream, but synthetic fuels may soon be a key part of the country's energy mix.

Optimists say China could be making as much as 1.2 million barrels per day (bpd) of liquid fuel from coal in 10 years, equivalent to more than a sixth of current demand, as high prices and a growing import reliance renew interest in the process.


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IPO reference ino:


SunTech Power Holdings (STP)



Business A Chinese maker of solar cells and panels.

Financial Data ($ in millions) Market Cap $1,812.6 Revenues $175 Net Income $31


Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd.

17-6 Changjiang South Rd., New District Wuxi, Jiangsu 214028, China



Suntech Power makes photovoltaic solar cells (PV cells) and solar electric systems. Its products are used in residential, commercial, industrial, and public utility applications, for both on-grid electricity generation and off-grid use, such as stand-alone lighting for street lamps, garden lamps, telecommunications relay stations, and mobile phone networks. The company is the world's 10th-largest solar cell manufacturer (in terms of production output) and the leader in China. Major international customers include Aleo Solar, Bihler, Conergy, IBC Solar, and SolarWorld AG. Chairman and CEO Zhengrong Shi founded Suntech Power in 2001 -- he owns about 55% of the company.





SunTech Power raises range to $13-$15




In a sign of strong demand, SunTech Power, a Chinese maker of solar cells and panels, raised its range to $13-$15 from $11-$13 Monday evening. The company still plans to offer 26.4 million shares, with insiders selling 6.4 million shares. CS First Boston and Morgan Stanley head the underwriting team on the deal. Expect the stock to price Tuesday night and begin trading the following morning on the NYSE under the symbol "STP."


Suntech Power Lacks Electricity

Scott Reeves 12.09.05, 6:00 AM ET



NEW YORK - Photovoltaic technology is a dream, but no mystery: Converting the sun's energy to electricity is a nifty idea, but the sector needs government subsidies and tax breaks to compete with conventional power generation.

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We are finally starting to see the beginning of governmental support with billions of dollars flowing into developing solar panels. Solar Panels are the answer. Nobody wants to store nuclear waste anywhere near their city, state, or even country.


DSTI, XSNX, and SPWR are the three pure solar panel stocks to watch. DSTI and XSNX have already seen major gains in the last 6 months, and SPWR is the new IPO that will sky rocket next week when the CPUC votes.

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SPWR is doing well today while ESLR is selling off. Any ideas what is up?


XSNX and DSTI continue to look good. XSNX has had about a 1300% rise in the last several months. Can XSNX continue at this rate? They will market their product next month and I guess we'll see then.

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