Oct 06

The allusions to pork in every bill congress votes on often makes me want to swear off bacon for good. I’m sure that Friday’s bailout was no different. 451 pages? That right or was I reading an article that tried to make reference to Farenheight 451? One bit of tastey pork that someone slipped into the $700 Billion Bailout package was an extension of the solar energy credit. Back in June in my post Bad Energy Mojo, I complained that congress let the credits for wind and solar expire. Now it’s back and better than ever, a 30% credit with no limit. More details available from the SanFrancisco Business Times article Massive Solar credit Ok’d with Bailout.
I talked some numbers in April’s Waiting for the Sun, where I offered that a 1KW system would cost about $9500 installed, and give the user $360 worth of power each year. Now, with a 30% credit, the cost is down to $6650, and that $360 of electricity is a 5.4% return, an attractive rate given the alternatives. I remain optimistic that this snowballs into a competitive alternate energy source, ultimately offering the US energy independence.


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Jul 05

With all my discussion about Solar Energy and the rise in Gas prices, here’s a timely Mike Keefe cartoon from the Denver Post;

Ball and Chain

Enjoy the weekend!

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Apr 25

When I wrote about The Next Bubble two weeks ago, I didn’t mention any of the companies involved in solar power. Part of my reason for that is I am not really a stock picker, and randomly suggesting companies in the industry would do my readers no justice. Last week I saw an episode of Fast Money on CNBC which brought to my attention that an ETF was introduced which “tracks solar and clean energy stocks.” It is the Clayton/MAC Global Solar Index, and trades on the NYSE under the ticker symbol TAN.

The top 5 fund holdings are:
First Solar – 8.77 %
Renewable Energy Corp – 7.45 %
Q-Cells – 6.44 %
Suntech Power Holdings – 6.19 %
JA Solar Holdings – 5.25 %

I am not recommending or discouraging purchase of this ETF, but it is a good alternative to trying to pick individual stocks when you believe a particular industry is ripe for appreciation.


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Apr 04

A few weeks back, in the March 7 issue of The Week, I read an article titled “For energy, here comes the sun.” At first glance, it was good to see that I’m not the only one so enthusiastic, nor the only author of bad puns, having titled my first solar story “here comes the sun” back in October. I was happy to discover the article was about futurist Ray Kurzweil’s prediction that he is “confident that we are not that far away from a tipping point (my choice of words as well) where energy from solar will be [economically] competitive with fossil fuels. The longer story appeared on LifeScience.com and was titled, “Solar Power to Rule in 20 Years, Futurists Say“. Kurzweil makes reference to advances in solar power being similar to that of computer technology, but as one of my regular readers Augustine pointed out to me,”Integrated circuits fall in price because Moore said that it would be increasingly possible to shrink transistor sizes, therefore allowing to increase their number per area. And given that the cost of manufacturing integrated circuits relies heavily on the area, the more transistors per area, the cheaper the integrated circuit. Photo-voltaic cells are not made up by Silicon transistors, but by a Silicon film deposited on a surface. Therefore, its area cannot be reduced and its cost is not subject to Moore’s law.” This is true, and resets my expectations a bit. I’m still optimistic that 4 cent/KWH solar isn’t too far away.


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