Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Solar Central -- Absolutely Nothing To Do With the Bakken

N.B. Renewable energy and a dose of reality.

March 8, 2014, for the archives:


July 26, 2017: SunEdison dead. Shareholders lost everything. 

August 26, 2015: Solyndra was a "scam."

March 3, 2014: rooftop solar and metered distribution (RSMD) back into the grid is going to end up costing Massachusetts utility customers even more. On the road to New England. 

January 3, 2014: SolarCity stock has surged 7-fold since it went public; hasn't made a dime, and no one knows if it ever will (and it sounds like no one cares). The Washington Post reports this bizarre story.

November 16, 2013: Arizona -- first state to charge a "fee" for residential roof solar panels to help pay for the grid; comes to about $5 / month for average size house. Both sides claim victory. Once the initial "tax"/fee is allowed, makes it easier for future increases.

June 6, 2013: Italian green jobs. Where's the spaghetti?

April 26, 2013: another taxpayer funded solar panel company goes broke. California's SoloPower with manufacturing site in Oregon.

April 19, 2013: plan for world's largest solar farm to be downsized; California. Solar costs $2.3 million/MW; compare with $1.5 million/MW for on-shore wind. (It should be remembered that President Obama recently -- November, 2012 --  increased the price solar panels by a significant amount.)

February 21, 2013: Advice for the new Secretary of Energy -- no more Solyndras. -- Bloomberg. 

February 15, 2013: see January 2, 2013, note below -- Warren Buffett paid $4 million/MW; analysts fee that asset is "high-cost" with razor-thin margins. Today, it appears KKR paid about $200 million for 20 MW solar farm in Canada (using 350 homes/megawatt), or about $10 million/MW (almost 3x what Buffett paid). Tax credits? If the link is broken google "KKR Starwood Energy solar Ontario power authority."

February 1, 2013: 36 solar energy companies that DOE backed with Steven Chu at its head. Steve announced his resignation today. It would be fun to see his "I Love Me" wall.

January 2, 2013:
What does Buffett know? SunPower Corp said it sold two Antelope Valley solar projects in California to a company controlled by Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, and would receive up to $2.5 billion in proceeds and related contracts.

1. Don mentioned elsewhere: $2.25 million/MW --- wind; was your price point.

2. Does that hold true for solar?

3. Buffett paid $2.0 - $2.5 billion for 579 MW --> $3.45 - $4.3 million/MW

4. Then this quote in the article:

Raymond James analyst Marshall Adkins said the monetization of the projects "does not alter the fact that SunPower retains a markedly high-cost structure and razor-thin margins in the context of a massively oversupplied market."

5. What does Buffett know? 
November 25, 2012: Solar energy not so bright for California counties

October 9, 2012: now, the Treasury Inspector General looking into solar industry tax credit/cash grant program;  ya think?

October 7, 2012: Solyndra fallout -- government delaying additional loans to green energy start-ups;

September 5, 2012: it looks like early investors in Solyndra are going to reap huge tax benefits. On another note, completely unrelated, I wonder if the new laundry facility in Williston is up and running?

September 1, 2012: Germany sets new solar record. It's the details that are scary.

August 18, 2012: President Obama and fantasy land

August 9, 2012: Obama's fingerprints all over Solyndra deals.

July 18, 2012: another one bites the dust -- Amonix, Las Vegas, Nevada.

June 28, 2012: another one bites the dust -- Abound Solar to declare bankruptcy

June 6, 2012: how much farther could shares of SunPower fall? According to Motley Fool: to zero. But the good news: Motley Fool doesn't feel SunPower shares will fall that low.

June 5, 2012: another one bites the dust. Konarta Technologies enters into bankruptcy.

May 18, 2012: who wudda thought? The #1 solar promoter raises prices on solar panels; price of solar energy will go up in the US. This according to US business firms as reported in the LA Times. This, too, will eventually be seen as a really stupid idea. Picking winners and losers. Crony capitalism. Costs of Apple's data centers (powered by solar) have just gone up.

May 8, 2012: CNBC reporting that First Solar hit its ninth low in 12 days. Not surprising: a) natural gas at less than $2.00/Mcf; b) entire stock market falling; c) solar, in general, has been in trouble for quite some months.  High for the year: $142; today's price: $16.60.

April 24, 2012: For investors only -- First Solar shares are now below the IPO price back in 2006.

April 17, 2012: First Solar to cut work force 30 percent.

April 3, 2012: More on Solar Trust bankruptcy -- it turns out that that the federal government guaranteed $2.1 billion in loans to this company.
In keeping with the recent trend of so-called green companies going into the red, another solar energy company supported by President Obama's top administration officials declared bankruptcy today.

Solar Trust for America received $2.1 billion in conditional loan guarantees  from the Department of Energy -- "the largest amount ever offered to a solar project," according to Energy Secretary Steven Chu -- for a project near Blythe, Calif., but declared bankruptcy within a year. It is unclear how much of the guarantee, if any, was actually awarded.
April 2, 2012: Just when I thought we had seen the end of solar energy bankruptcies, here comes another: Solar (Mis)Trust of America.

February 29, 2012: another solar company on the ropes; of the solar companies, received the largest investment from DOE;

February 21, 2012: another solar company, this one in Minnesota, on verge of shutting down. The article doesn't mention it, but reader says this company also a beneficiary of DOE stimulus money.
Cardinal Solar Technologies, Mazomanie, laid off 57 employees on Wednesday after the plant's primary customer, a solar photovoltaic panel manufacturer, saw its orders suddenly shrivel.

Most of the hourly production workers are off the job; 20 employees remain, mainly salaried and maintenance workers, plant manager Jeff Valek said.

The factory, which tempers glass used in solar photovoltaic panels, is still open and operating on a "much smaller scale," said Bob Bond, president of Cardinal ST, based in Spring Green. "We believe (the layoff) to be temporary. We believe our customer will come back when the imbalance is, hopefully, corrected," Bond said.
February 14, 2012: a fourth solar energy company goes bankrupt

February 10, 2012: North Dakota solar start-up, 70 employees, headquartered in Dickinson, ND, will be honored at a presidential event.
SolarBee Inc. of Dickinson will be recognized at the White House for starting a successful business in a rural region.

SolarBee makes solar-powered machines to improve water quality. They employ about 70 people. Their machines are used in lakes, water towers and wastewater facilities across the U.S. and in several foreign countries. 
For the archives.

January 5, 2012: This story sounds interesting. A lot of little data points regarding solar energy.
  • natural gas so much cheaper than solar
  • $21,000 for average family to install
  • likely life of the system: 17 years
  • payback time: 17 years
  • repairs in the meantime?
  • cost to dispose of old solar panels
December 7, 2011:  Warren Buffett certainly sounds like an Obama supporter.

This story was posted December 7, 2011:
Warren Buffett’s MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in southern California, branching into solar power after the industry was battered by stock markets around the world.

The Topaz Solar Farm will be one of the world’s largest photovoltaic power plants and is being developed by the seller, First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Arizona, according to a joint statement today. Terms weren’t disclosed. The project’s 550- megawatt capacity is equal to about half a new nuclear reactor.
This story was posted December 14, 2011:
Solar developers and environmentalists have had a wary relationship at times as disputes have arisen over the impact of big green power plant projects on wildlife and fragile landscapes. But on Wednesday, the U.S.’s major environmental groups joined solar power companies to press President Obama to support the extension of a key subsidy for renewable energy set to expire a year’s end.
This story will be posted December 31, 2011:
President Obama thanked Congress for extending the subsidies for renewable energy earlier today. Warren Buffett thanked Congress and President Obama for extending those subsidies. In the joint news conference, the nation's second richest Democrat endorsed the President for re-election.

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