April 14, 2020 - Investorideas.com (www.investorideas.com) Renewable Energy Stock News Bites - Investorideas.com, a global news source and leading investor resource covering cleantech and renewable energy stocks issues a sector snapshot looking at how some companies in the solar and cleantech sector are adapting and thriving during the Covid-19 pandemic.
From corporate sales to industry events, going virtual seems to be the solution for solar. The American Solar Energy Society (ASES) SOLAR 20/20 National Organizing Committee (NOC) reported it "has been monitoring the COVID-19 situation closely. After much deliberation, the NOC has ultimately decided to convert the live event in Washington D.C. to a virtual conference in order to ensure the safety and health of our attendees, speakers, and sponsors. We are using an interactive platform where important discussions, networking, and community building can take place from the comfort of your computer, tablet, or smartphone."
While analysts are predicting residential installations could fall this year, in some areas consumers are showing the exact opposite is happening. According to PV Magazine Australia's solar market is booming during the pandemic. "Byron Bay-based solar retailer Smart Energy says it is seeing an unprecedented surge in sales and enquiries for solar and home energy storage as consumers look to shore themselves up in uncertain times."
US based SinglePoint, Inc. (OTCQB: SING) and its solar subsidiary, Direct Solar of America are adapting to these unprecedented times and seeing the gains immediately. The Company was just featured in GreenTech Media's article, Coronavirus Is Forcing Home Solar Companies to Sell Virtually. Maybe That's a Good Thing. The article followed news from the Company that they had implemented a Virtual Solar Sales Platform.
On April 7th, SinglePoint reported that its subsidiary Direct Solar America, a leading solar brokerage solution, added 9 additional states, Colorado, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, Georgia, South Carolina, New Jersey, and Connecticut since it had recently repositioned it's salesforce to leverage technology platforms that enable the Company to initiate and close a solar transaction utilizing remote and virtual solar sales professionals. Shifting to a virtual sales force has been a primary focus of management since the acquisition of the company by SinglePoint in May 2019, as we believe that the ability to book sales without an in-home visit is an additional differentiator and competitive advantage in the industry where door-to-door sales of residential solar had been the common practice.
"The Direct Solar America management team did a great job re-positioning the company quickly in these uncertain times. Across various industries, companies are being forced to transform and adapt critical components of their business model to accommodate social and physical distancing due to COVID-19, scrambling to implement solutions that allow them to continue to operate. We are fortunate that we had identified this as a strategic need at the acquisition and the foresight to begin working on implementing this type of solution. We are encouraged that we have been able to retain most of our top sales professionals and can now give them the tools to succeed in virtual sales. Ultimately we believe this is a significant improvement in the process and will continue to drive the company to new levels in the future," states Greg Lambrecht, CEO SinglePoint.
Recently, PV-Magazine reported, "Jenny Chase, the head of Bloomberg NEF's Solar Insight team, that installing solar requires little physical contact, so is generally a "low risk" workplace activity in the Covid-19-impacted workplace. As economies in key solar markets like the United States and Europe begin to reopen for business, it is likely that PV installations could resume. It strikes me that it [PV] could be one of the things to be eased up at an early stage."
Another indicator of what is happening in the sector, Economic Times reported, "New Delhi: Sales of renewable energy certificates rose over 79 per cent to 8.38 lakh units in March compared to 4.68 lakh in the same month a year ago owing to good supply, according to official data."
"Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) are a type of market-based instrument. One REC is created when one megawatt hour of electricity is generated from an eligible renewable energy source."
Looking at EV sales during the pandemic, Australia is demonstrating leadership in that sector as well. According to theDriven.io - "The FCAI said overall car and SUV sales fell 17.9 per cent when compared to March 2019, and passenger vehicles were hit particularly hard, falling 25 per cent from the same month a year earlier."
"Electric and hybrid vehicle sales, however, were one of the few bright lights in the data, with sales of electric, plug-in hybrid (PHEV) and hybrid passenger and SUVs up across the board, with the exception of commercial SUV sales."
"The VFacts data - which does not include Tesla - shows private electric and PHEV passenger sales have almost doubled with 91.3% more sales compared to March 2019, and hybrid private passenger vehicle sales are up nearly 75%."
Tesla's (NASDAQ: TSLA) stock moved on news from April 2nd - "In the first quarter, we produced almost 103,000 vehicles and delivered approximately 88,400 vehicles. This is our best ever first quarter performance."
"Model Y production started in January and deliveries began in March, significantly ahead of schedule. Additionally, our Shanghai factory continued to achieve record levels of production, despite significant setbacks."
Another cleantech company that seemed to go against the grain during this pandemic, FuelCell Energy (NASDAQ:FCEL) reported Q1 results on March 1st and the stock moved up as it beat expectations. The Company reported revenue of $16,264,000 less by 8.54% year over year, beating estimates of $14,910,000. FuelCell Energy also reported a backlog of $1.36 billion as of January 31, 2020, a $117.9 million (or 9%) improvement from January 31, 2019.
On March 12th, Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ: BLDP; TSX: BLDP) announced a purchase order from Solaris Bus & Coach S.A. ("Solaris"; www.solarisbus.com), a leading European bus and trolleybus manufacturer and Ballard partner, headquartered in Bolechowo, Poland, for 25 of the Company's new 70 kilowatt heavy-duty FCmove™-HD fuel cell modules.
"These 25 modules will power 15 Solaris Urbino 12 hydrogen buses planned for deployment in Cologne, Germany and 10 Urbino 12 hydrogen buses planned for deployment in Wuppertal, Germany, all under the Joint Initiative for Hydrogen Vehicles Across Europe ("JIVE 2") funding program."
On April 3rd it was reported from France, "The government selected around 1.7 GW of wind and solar projects from a range of recent tenders, and approved commissioning extensions due to the Covid-19 situation. A total of 288 renewable energy projects were selected for development - 253 of which were solar projects."
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