System Integrator

February 25, 2012

Solar Craze in India as Coal Equipment Supplier and Jeweler acquire Photovoltaic Companies

India's Solar PowerIndustry is starting to see some M&A with both domestic and foreign companies buying smaller firms. While the biggest M&A story is that of Tata Power acquiring the stake in Tata BP Solar, other firms without any grounding in the energy industry are too getting in. Now a Coal Equipment and EPC company Tecpro is getting into the solar energy business by acquiring a small solar lighting and heating company Eversun.Tecpro Systemsis primarily focused on the Power Sector Space.It is a leader in the ash handling and material handling systems and is currently diversifying into becoming a turnkey provider in this segment.Like other infrastructure players it has seen amazing growth in the last 3 years at around 70%+.The growth has been fantastic both on the topline and the bottomline.The 2300 crore Order book provides some comfort over the next year’s revenues or so.The Power Sector in India particularly the Thermal Power Plants are expected to see an explosive growth period.Steel and Cement sectors are also growing strongly.With Tecpro Systems focusing on these 3 segments,it should be able to maintain a good growth trajectory in the future years as well
February 25, 2012

Small Solar Developers getting acquired in India as Sector starts Maturing

The Indian Solar Power Industry is starting to see some Solar M&A activity pick up as the sector starts maturing. The Indian Solar Energy Industry starting picking up pace in 2009 with the advent of the first phase of the solar federal subsidy which envisaged putting up 20 GW by 2022 (a figure which I think is too low btw) . A large number of companies entered the fray many of which were small . These companies hoped to profit from selling the licenses rather than being serious players. Many of these companies could not do so as the reverse auction process was quite competitive. A large number of companies also got started to take advantage of individual state subsidies from governments in Gujarat.
February 14, 2012

Larget US Solar Installer Suncity gets Sued by Sunpower for Corporate Espionage

Solarcity which is the largest US Solar Installer has got sued by Sunpower for stealing trade secrets. Note Sunpower which was recently bought by French Oil Giant Total is facing tough times. Sunpower which makes the most efficient solar panels in the world is facing tough competition from super cheap Chinese solar panels. In fact according to Total CEO the company would have been already bankrupt with Total support. Beside making solar panels, Sunpower is also one of the biggest solar integrators and developers. The company has been in the business of installing solar panels after it acquired solar system installer Powerlight.
January 18, 2012

Solar Panel Bankruptcy Insurance – New Financial Instrument by Munich Re for Small Solar Companies / Developers

Solar Insolvency Protection is a new financial product that is going to be introduced by Munich Re the giant German reinsurer. Note Munich Re has been at the forefront of introducing insurance products for solar energy. It was one of the first companies to provide an insurance against the 25 year solar warranty which is generally given by solar companies for their solar modules.It has introduced it for LDK Solar Panels before moving onto other companies as well.
January 9, 2012

Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) Prices to get support from New Jersey Legislators

Solar Renewable Energy Certificate (SREC) Prices in New Jersey have been falling at a sharp rate from a high of $600 to $225 as high returns from falling solar panel prices and other tax breaks.This has led to a massive growth in solar installations in the state making it the 2nd largest state by solar capacity.New Jersey installations have crossed 500 MW and made it a huge green job driver in the state.However this boom has made the market driven SREC prices fall quite sharply.Though not falling as sharply as Pennsylvania where SREC prices have become a joke ,they are still low and falling.
January 6, 2012

US Solar Projects available at Fire Sale Prices by Insolvent Solar Millennium, Solar Trust Bankruptcy

US Solar Projects including the 1000 MW Blythe Solar Project is now available for solar developers,installers at fire sale prices.The Insolvency Administrator is looking to sell parts and the whole of the solar project business of Solar Millennium and its US subsidiary Solar Trust of America.Note before filing of bankruptcy,the solar project developer had around 2000 MW of solar projects in the pipeline.
January 6, 2012

LDK and Sunpower would have been in Chapter 11 without China and Total Support

LDK Solar is one of the most insolvent companies in the world right now with billions of dollars in debt,a battered balance sheet,continuing losses and dodgy accounting.However LDK has acquired a German company Sunways and continues to build new solar power plants as the Chinese state owned banks continue to fund it with cheap money without any consideration about losing their investments.LDK has become the poster boy of the Solarworld complaint against Chinese solar panel producers as it continues to run and thrive despite being insolvent.The Chinese government is hurting itself and its other solar companies like Trina,Yingle which are more competitive by continuing to support and increase the global glut of cheap solar panels.These solar panels are being clearly sold at below cost as most of the companies would be bankrupt without these absurd loans which make no free market sense
January 2, 2012

GlobalWatt bails out of constructing a Solar Panel Plant in Michigan – Not Surprising

The Chinese solar panel producers too are facing tough times with many companies running at low utilizations and almost everybody running losses.Some companies with huge debt burdens like LDK are running because of government largesse as they are effectively insolvent for all purposes.Expect more bankrutpcies in the coming year .It will take a very foolish or a very brave company to expand solar capacity this year. Only USA Solar Installers are having a good time with below cost solar panels availabe increasing the returns and leading to massive increased.It looks like 2012 will be a good year for US solar installers who are expanding rapidly to take advantage of the falling solar module prices.Even Buffett is going all into solar development space acquiring billion dollar project in a classical case of vulture investing.
June 30, 2011

Huge Solar Panel Farms,Rooftop Projects in USA being planned as Solar System Prices decrease 40% to $3.50/watt (NRG Energy,National Solar Power,First Solar )

Huge Solar Panel Projects are being planned in the USA by solar developers and utilities as solar panel prices have fallen by 20-30% in the second quarter of 2011 as solar panel manufacturers are faced with oversupply and inventory issues.Note building both coal and nuclear power plants in the US has become increasingly difficult with pollution and climate change issues coming to the fore.While natural gas is getting a boost due to cheap shale gas discoveries,solar energy is picking up pace due to the government support in the form of DOE Loan guarantees and Treasury Grant programs like 1705.Recently two very large solar panel projects have been announced or are in the process over the next 3-4 years.
June 23, 2011

Solar Industry Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) List – Rising as Industry Consolidates

Solar Industry Mergers and Acquisitions (M&A) have picked up pace in recent times with a number of companies in distress with supply exceeding demand as Italy suddenly changed its solar subsidy policy in April 2011.With high inventory levels and prices crashing only the biggest and best solar panel manufacturers are managing to thrive.Note the Solar PV Industry has not seen too much M&A unlike the Solar Thermal Industry which has always been a hot area for M&A activity as giant industrial groups like Siemens,Areva,Alstom and GE have bought startups to improve their technology offerings.With the Solar PV industry having crossed more than $50 billion mark in 2010,more and more MNC conglomerates have now starting buying solar companies at cheap valuations.Here is a list of the recent buyouts,stake buys and mergers in the Solar PV Industry that have taken place recently.
May 1, 2011

Big Oil/Gas (Shell,BP,Total) makes a Solar Energy Comeback – Total acquires Sunpower in biggest recent Solar M&A

Note Big Oil and Gas has been slowly been retrenching form the solar energy industry despite initial leadership.Shell which was one of the biggest solar players has become almost non-existent while BP has shut down a number of solar factories outsourcing production to China.Other Oil and Gas companies like Exxon,Valero,Chevron and others have concentrated their energies on related green sectors like algae based biofuels rather than on solar and wind energy.So the move by Total comes as a surprise as it acquires one of the top 15 solar panel companies in the world.Sunpower is being acquired at a cheap price considering its world beating solar cell technology and its massive systems business which has gigawatts of solar projects under development.Note Sunpower makes the highest efficiency solar panels on a commercial scale and recently tied up with AUO.It is the 2nd biggest solar plant installer in the US and has a massive presence in the commercial and government sector.Total said it looked at over 200 companies before buying Sunpower.Note M&A has been strong in the Solar Thermal Industry and has now started picking up in the Solar PV Industry as well.With solar company valuations at a historic low,it makes sense for the larger chemical and energy companies to pick up good companies on the cheap.
April 12, 2011

Solar Power Plant Project – How to Build a Solar Plant in 10 Steps

Solar Power Plants have mushroomed in different parts of the world as Global Solar Demand has increased by more than 150% in 2010.Solar Power Plants built on the Ground differ from that put on the Roofs of Houses as they require to go through feasibility,environmental assessment,grid connection,siting etc. which is typical for a large industrial project.The time taken to build a solar power plant project is also much more than a rooftop residential solar installation.Solar Farms are being mainly being built in countries which have subsidy program like tax rebates,feed in tariffs etc.However building a solar plant has become quite easy unlike in the past as solar panel,solar inverters and installation expertise is more easily available.The regulations and permits for building a solar plant or a solar farm on the other hand differ from country to country and region to region depending on federal and state laws.For a Large Solar Plant like the Aqua Caliente,there are a number of permitting steps that have to be passed before the plant can be built.For smaller power plants in the 5 MW range the requirements are less.In general the smaller the size of the solar installation,the lower the number of regulations required.Here are the steps required in building a Solar Power Plant
April 11, 2011

Biggest Solar Power Plant – A Moving Target Being Superseded by even Bigger Solar Plants from First Solar

Solar Power Plants till a couple of years were quite small compared to the mainstream energy power plants.Most power plants were in the double digit range with no Solar Farms having the capacity of 100 MW or greater.This is in reference to PV Solar Power Plants and not to Solar Thermal Plants which are bigger in size.Note Solar Thermal Plants by the very nature of technology require larger sizes to be economical just like Thermal or Nuclear Power Plants.On the other hand PV Power Plants do not gain much in economies of scale and government prefer giving subsidies to distributed rooftop solar installations rather than large solar farms.
March 8, 2011

List of USA Solar Installers/System Integrators/EPC Companies – Massive Growth Ahead

The US is the world's largest electricity producer and consumer with a total electricity capacity of around 1 Terawatt.The share of Solar Energy in the US Electricity Production is negligible compared to around 19% for Nuclear Energy and around 2-3% for Wind Energy.However Solar Energy in the US is set to grow at high double digits over the next 2 decades as the Costs of Solar Energy Decline with prices of other Energy Forms set to rise.In some states like Hawaii and California,solar energy prices are already at grid parity with retail electricity prices.Some states like New Jersey,Colorado,Arizona have seen sharp increases in solar energy adoption over the last 2-3 years boosted by state specific government policies and subsidies.With the US Federal 30% Cash Grant on System Costs and falling systems prices for solar systems,the growth in inevitable.The US Solar Market has seen the rise of a number of innovative and fast growing system integration and installers.Some companies have come up with innovative financial solutions to solve the high initial investment hurdles in solar systems through leasing and financing plans.Here are a list of Top US Installers/System Integrators.Note the list will keep expanding in the coming years as the size of the US Solar Energy Market Grows.