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Solar IPO’s Boom in 2006

By Peter Lynch
Exclusively for InvestorIdeas.com
January 19, 2007

In the past, a solar IPO (Initial Public Offering) was a rare event, with never more than 2 or 3 coming public in any given year. This past year, 2006, marks the beginning of a significant ramp up in solar IPO’s and more importantly, it is the beginning of serious financial resources coming into the solar industry which will allow the industry to continue its current robust growth. In fact, the 2006 solar IPO boom, really started in the last 6 weeks of 2005, when Sunpower (SPWR) and Suntech (STP) came public and are up 130% and 75% respectively since their IPO’s.

The days of the solar industry being an under funded “cottage industry” are over and with the onset of serious funding, a bright new future awaits us all.

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Although once again, the photovoltaics (PV) sector has dominated the public financing arena, there have been a number of ethanol related IPO’s that have also started to trade their shares on the public markets in the U.S. Below is a break down of the PV IPO’s in terms of offerings that have been completed in 2006 and offerings that have filed (with the SEC) or rumored to go public in the very near future.

Completed 2006 IPO’s

Canadian Solar Inc

Stock Symbol: CSIQ. Canadian Solar came public in late November of 2006 at $15.00 per share, rising approximately $82MM dollars net. The company produces standard silicon panels and has a silicon recycling facility in China.

Current stock price: $9.45, market capitalization* (market cap): $250 million

Website: www.csisolar.com

First Solar, Inc.

Stock Symbol: FSLR. First Solar came public in late November of 2006 at $20.00 per share, rising approximately $420 million. The company produces a “thin film”* Cadmium Telluride product on a glass substrate and is the first of the next generation PV companies to come public.

Current stock price: $27.72, market cap: $1.93 Billion.

Website: www.firstsolar.com

PowerFilm, Inc.

Stock Symbol: PFLM.L. PowerFilm went public on the AIM (Alternative Investment Market) exchange in London in May of 2006 at a price of 120 pence, raising approximately $16 million. The company produces a thin film, amorphous silicon product on a flexible plastic substrate.

Current stock price: $204 pence, market cap: $128 million

Website: www.powerfilmsolar.com

Akeena Solar, Inc.

Stock Symbol: AKNS.OB. Akeena went public via a reverse merger, in August of 2006 at an initial price of $1.00 and is listed on the over the counter bulletin board. The company is one of the largest installers of PV systems in the U.S.

Current stock price: $2.05, market cap: $30 million

Website: www.akeena.net

Renesola Ltd.

Stock Symbol: SOLA.L. Renesola went public on the AIM exchange in London in August at a price of 80 pence raising approximately $50 million. Renesola is a Chinese company that produces silicon wafers for the PV industry in China and around the world.

Current stock price: $470 pence, market cap: 528 million+

Website: www.renesola.com

Trina Solar Limited

Stock symbol: TSL. Trina Solar is another China based PV company that produces conventional silicon PV modules. The IPO started trading on December 19 th 2006 at $18.50. Raising the company approximately $ 90 million.

Current stock price: $20.85, market cap: $420 million +

Website: www.Trinasolar.com

Solarfun Power Holdings

Stock symbol: SOLF. Solarfun is a China based PV manufacturer that produces conventional silicon PV modules from ingots. Their current capacity is approximately 50 megawatts (MW). The IPO started trading on December 20 th 2006 at $12.50. Raising the company approximately $150 million.

Current stock price: $12.06, market cap: Approx. $550 million

Website: www.solarfun.com.cn/einfo.htm

Pending IPO’s

These are PV companies that have either filed (Photowatt Technologies, Inc. and J A Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.) or others that are rumored to be moving forward toward doing a public financing in the U.S.

Photowatt Technologies, Inc.

Proposed stock symbol: PWAT. Photowatt produces conventional PV panels from polysilicon and from recycled metallurgical grade silicon. It is partially owned by a Canadian public company, ATS Automation Tooling Systems (symbol:ATS.TO), which trades on the Toronto stock exchange. I would expect the IPO in the first or second quarter of 2007.

Proposed initial stock price: Unknown, market cap: unknown

Website: www.photowatt.com

J A Solar Holdings Co., Ltd.

Proposed stock symbol: JASO. J A Solar Holdings produces high quality mono-crystalline solar cells for other solar companies to put in their solar modules. They have a current capacity of 75 MW and hope to expand to 175MW by the end of 2007. They filed for an IPO on 1-16-2007 for 15,000,000 American Depository Shares (ADS) at $12.5 to $14.5 per ADS (these ADS’s are equal to 3 normal common shares). The company will raise a maximum of $250MM.

Proposed initial stock price: $12.50 to $14.50, Market Cap: $585MM (at mid point of range)

Website: www.jasolar.com

Yingli Solar

Proposed stock symbol: unknown. Yingli Solar is a China based PV Company that is vertically integrated (silicon ingots, to wafers, to panels, to systems) solar manufacturer with approximately a 100MW annual capacity. A number of articles have stated that Yingli plans to raise over $400 million in a NASDAQ IPO in 2007.

Proposed initial stock price: Unknown, market cap: unknown

Website: www.yinglisolar.com

LDK Solar Hi-Tech Co., Ltd.

Proposed stock Symbol: unknown. LDK is now the biggest multicrystalline wafer manufacturer in Asia, the manufacturing plant located in Economic Development Zone, Xinyu, Jiangxi, P, R, China. It has a current capacity of 200MW and projected capacity of 1,000MW by 2010.

Proposed initial stock price: unknown. Market Cap: unknown

Website: www.ldksolar.com/english/index.html

CEEG (Nanjing) PV-Tech Co., Ltd (NPV)

Proposed stock symbol: unknown. NPV was founded under the collaboration of China Electric Equipment Group (CEEG) and a team of Australian PV technology scientists in June of 2004. It is a large manufacturer of PV panels and equipment. Current capacity is stated at 192MW.

Proposed initial stock price: unknown. Market cap: unknown

Website: www.n-pv.com/english/index.asp

Notes:

  • The term “market capitalization” (market cap) is the total number of shares outstanding times the current stock price – this is an important number investors should be aware of since it is the value that the market is currently placing on the entire company.
  • Thin Film technology is what I would describe as the “next generation” of PV technology. It will NOT be subject to silicon shortages and will allow much lower cost of manufacturing.

J. Peter Lynch has worked, for 30 years as a Wall Street analyst, an independent equity analyst and private investor, and a merchant banker in small emerging technology companies. He has been actively involved in following developments in the renewable energy sector since 1977and is regarded as an expert in this area. He is currently a financial and technology consultant to a number of companies. He can be reached via e-mail at Solarjpl@aol.com.

Disclaimer
Peter Lynch is an independent columnist for this web site and may hold long or short positions in any of the stocks mentioned in this article and those positions can change at any moment. InvestorIdeas.com Disclaimer: www.InvestorIdeas.com/About/Disclaimer.asp, InvestorIdeas is not directly affiliated or compensated by the companies mentioned in this article. Nothing in the articles should be construed as an offer or solicitation or recommendation to buy or sell any specific products or securities. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

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