NewEnergyNews More: June 2016

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  • Tuesday, June 28, 2016

    Voters, Including Republicans, Move On Climate

    Republican Voters Evenly Split on Climate Change, Poll Finds

    Jack Fitzpatrick, June 28, 2016 (Morning Consult)

    “Most voters, including about half of Republicans, believe the climate is changing and the federal government should step in to cut greenhouse gases…[In the conservatively oriented poll by Just Win Strategies and TargetPoint Consulting ] 68 percent of all respondents said they want federal government action [on emissions]…Among Republicans, 48 percent supported that statement, and 46 percent opposed it…[T]he vast majority of Democrats (86 percent) and about two-thirds of independents (67 percent) [want action. The poll] also found that only 12 percent of respondents said they were more concerned about environment and climate] than any other issue…[It also] found that despite many Republican officials’ reluctance to directly address climate change, GOP voters don’t uniformly deny that the Earth’s temperature is increasing. Republicans were split evenly at 45 percent…[compared to] 89 percent of Democrats and 72 percent of independents…[A slight majority of Republicans (53 percent) said] they believe they will feel the effects of climate change in their lifetime or already are…90 percent of Democrats and 73 percent of independents [agreed]...” click here for more

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    World’s Biggest Wind Turbine

    World's biggest wind-power turbine unveiled for giant offshore renewable-energy project; The future for alternative energy takes huge leap forwards with structure capable of powering 10,000 homes.

    James Billington, June 27, 2016 (International Business Times)

    “The world's biggest wind-power turbine…would be one of Earth's biggest man-made structures when fully assembled…[with a 180 meter swept area and capable of powering] 10,000 homes…[Denmark’s LM Wind Power] is readying these giant blades for Adwen's offshore eight-megawatt turbine in France, part of three wind farms that can produce 500-megawatts of energy…[The blades, which increase energy yield 1% per year, are] made from a newly developed material that can withstand harsh off-shore weather…[and conduct lightning strikes safely to ground. The huge] wind-power blades represent a big leap towards lowering the cost of energy offshore, and are also a major move towards [the new energy] future…” click here for more

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    The Landmark New York Solar Price Deal

    New York utilities and solar companies compromise on price of solar energy sold to utilities

    June 27, 2016 (The Buffalo News)

    “New York’s biggest utilities and some of the nation’s largest solar energy developers, including SolarCity…have formed an unlikely alliance to try to hammer out a mutually acceptable proposal on how much solar power system owners will be paid for the electricity they sell back to the utility…[Utilities now complain] they effectively pay solar customers higher retail prices for power they could purchase from conventional sources at a much lower wholesale price. But solar advocates say the retail price is warranted…The compromise plan would reduce the payments but also place a value on the environmental benefits of solar power and its role in helping utilities avoid having to make costly upgrades to the power grid…If it works, New York would stand out as the rare exception among states that have tackled the highly contentious issue [of net metering…A group of big industrial customers opposes the compromise, arguing it would continue, or possibly expand, subsidies for solar power at the expense of other customers…[An alternative proposal is for a ‘full value tariff’ that] would be structured much like a cellphone bill…” click here for more

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    Monday, June 27, 2016

    Dems Platform Calls For More Climate Change Science

    Democrats adopt climate change science investigation in platform

    Devin Henry, June 27, 2016 (The Hill)

    “Members of the Democratic National Committee’s platform panel have formally endorsed federal investigations into climate research at fossil fuel companies, including a high-profile probe into Exxon Mobil Corp…The platform didn’t name Exxon, but the company has become the highest-profile target for Democratic attorneys general, who are looking into claims it misled the public about the extent of its knowledge about climate change…Exxon has denied the allegations and fought back against the investigations, calling them an infringement on the company’s First Amendment rights and, as the video below demonstrates, congressional Republicans have so far protected the company]…Despite the climate science amendment — and a call to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2050 — the committee rejected a host of other environmental issues, including a call to ban fracking, end fossil fuel production on federal lands and put a price on carbon pollution…” click here for more

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    SolarCity Could Become Tesla

    Tesla applies for 6 new trademarks to sell solar energy under the ‘Tesla’ brand

    Fred Lambert, June 26, 2016 (ElekTrek)

    “…[Though the Tesla plan to acquire SolarCity and fold the solar installer’s operations into Tesla’s own business] is still contingent on board approval and shareholder votes at both companies…the automaker is going ahead with trademark applications to sell solar products under its ‘Tesla’ brand…[Tesla] filed 6 new trademark applications [that] range from solar cells and solar modules…[to] the installation and repair of solar panels…[They also cover] the monitoring of solar energy generation and the financing of solar installations…If the Tesla – SolarCity merger goes through, Elon Musk said that he plans to sell both Tesla’s current products and SolarCity’s offering under the same roof and to use the same sales force. Based on these trademark applications, it looks like it could be a possibility that the whole product line could become ‘Tesla’ badged and the ‘SolarCity’ brand would be phased out…” click here for more

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    What The Wind Industry Has Built

    Wind energy is already an American industry

    Paul Vigeant, June 26, 2016 (South Coast Today)

    “…[The United States] leads the world in land-based wind energy…More than 50,000 turbines stand along ridge lines, prairies and hilltops across the United States. Installed capacity recently surpassed 70 gigawatts — enough to power more than 19 million typical American homes — and is expected to double in the next five years…[Wind] installed more electric generating capacity last year than any other energy source in America…[and] is on track to supply 10 percent of the country’s electricity by 2020, 20 percent by 2030 and 35 percent by 2050…[E]nergy supplied by the wind is as cheap or cheaper per megawatt hour than natural gas. And the cost of wind has shown a steady decline — 66 percent from 2009 to 2014, while volatile natural gas prices have brought consumers painful price spikes…A typical wind turbine has more than 8,000 components, and those pieces are manufactured in 500 plants in 43 U.S. states…The U.S. Department of Labor projects that the fastest growing occupation in the next 20 years will be wind turbine technician, a job that requires training, but no college degree, and paid a median annual salary of $51,050 in May 2015…” click here for more

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    Monday, June 20, 2016

    Welcome To The Heat Dome

    Learn a New Climate Change Phrase: 'Heat Dome'; As the Southwest faces scorching temperatures, this phrase is dominating weather discussions.

    Jessie Guy-Ryan, June 18, 2016 (Atlas Obscura)

    “…[Behind skyrocketing temperatures prompting the National Weather Service’s Excessive Heat Warning is an] increasingly common meteorological phenomenon…[Heat domes] are created when a high-pressure system forms in the mid- to upper-atmosphere; the air pressure pushes warm air down towards the surface and traps it there, resulting in higher — often much higher — than normal temperatures…[Heat bubble] better describes the shape…[I]t’s difficult to understate the extremity of a heat dome’s effects; last year, a heat dome over the Middle East resulted in a heat index of 165º — the second-highest heat index ever recorded anywhere — in Iran…

    "This weekend’s heat dome has the potential for similar record-shattering effects [because its height is] well outside the normal climate range…As with many other extreme weather events around the world, climate change may be making heat domes more common…[ Meteorologist Ryan Maue examined climate data going back to 1953, concluded that heat domes are getting both more frequent and more extreme, and] believes the overall rise in global temperatures due to climate change has created an environment more conducive to extreme weather, including heat domes…In 2013, National Climatic Data Center scientist Jake Crouch made a similar assertion…” click here for more

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    The Crucial Concept Of Storing Solar

    How is Solar Energy Stored

    Benedette Cuffari, June 14, 2016 (AZO Cleantech)

    “…[S]olar energy technologies are easy to install, and require little maintenance compared to other energy sources…[Over 22,700 MW of cumulative solar energy is currently being operated in the U.S., enough to power more than 4.6 million average American homes but storing it cost-effectively remains] a challenge engineers are striving to overcome…Current technologies that allow the storage of solar energy include [thermal storage, or storing its heat], compressed air energy storage (CAES), hydrogen storage, pumped hydroelectric storage, flywheels, and batteries…While solar energy storage systems can be expensive, research organizations such as the Department of Energy’s Energy Storage Program and the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in the United States are looking towards enhancing the development and deployment of current and future energy storage technologies…FERC has created a pricing structure called Pay-for-Performance, in which the agency regulates the electricity grid by paying storage technologies and other resources a higher price for their services, allowing for more cost-effective options to be available…” click here for more

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    Pacific Ocean Windpower Coming On

    California tries to capture offshore wind energy; Proposal off Morro Bay looks for approval

    Rob Nikolewski, June 16, 2016 (San Diego Union-Tribune)

    "…[Offshore wind, already richly developed and growing in Europe, is beginning to face the technological, economic, and political challenges on the Pacific coast…Trident Winds LLC, has applied for a lease to construct an offshore facility in California…that would dwarf offshore sites proposed along the East Coast or the Great Lakes…The company is targeting 2025 as its startup date…That's nine years beyond the expected debut this fall of the country's first offshore wind project, the Block Island Wind Farm off the coast of Rhode Island…[The Golden State lags behind because of the Pacific Ocean’s] underwater terrain…[T]he West Coast's continental shelf plunges quickly and steeply…[making largely still-unproven floating wind farms the only option. Floating] wind projects are tethered, or moored, by cables to the ocean floor…Trident Winds plans to build a floating array of about 100 [2 to 3 MW turbines 33 nautical miles off Morro Bay]...One transmission cable running along the seafloor would send electricity to the shore…Trident sees its flotilla of turbines eventually growing to a net capacity of 1,000 MW…” click here for more

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    Tuesday, June 14, 2016

    Can’t Stop The New Energy

    Cheap gas, coal won't hobble renewables: energy report

    Marlowe Hood, June 13, 2016 (PhysOrg)

    “…Renewables are set to attract $7.8 trillion (6.9 trillion euros) by 2040, nearly four times as much as carbon-based power over the same period, [according to the New Energy Outlook 2016 from Bloomberg New Energy Finance]… The impact of cheap gas and coal will be offset, it projected, by drops of 41 and 60 percent, respectively, in the price of power from wind and solar panels…[But the shift] will not happen quickly enough to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit), much less the more ambitious goal embraced by the world's nations last December…To achieve even the two-degree target, additional investment of $5.3 trillion in zero-carbon power—on top of the projected $7.8 trillion—would be needed by 2040, the report concludes…The energy sector accounts for two-thirds of the greenhouse gas emissions that drive global warming…Currently, 80 percent of global energy consumption is drawn from fossil fuels…China's slowing economy and retreat from coal [is important but energy demands in India] are forecast to nearly quadruple in the next quarter century…[making it the key] to the future global emissions trend…” click here for more

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    The Big Money In Combined Storage and New Energy

    Energy storage for renewables can be a good investment today, study finds; Systems that bank energy can add value to solar and wind projects.

    David L. Chandler, June 13, 2016 (MIT News)

    “…[The complicated economic and technology] decision may be critical to the future growth of renewable energy…[ Value of storage technologies for wind and solar energy by MIT researchers] shows how to evaluate the technology choices available, including batteries, pumped hydroelectric storage, and compressed air energy storage, and demonstrates that even with today’s prices for these technologies, such storage systems make good economic sense in some locations, but not yet in others…[What matters] to potential investors is the price curve rather than the demand curve…[The value of storage] varies widely by location, because of large variations in the frequency and magnitude of spikes in the price and how the solar and wind resources fluctuate over time…[Mostly] the costs of such systems don’t yet make them profitable enough without policy support…[But] market adoption already makes sense in [locations like Texas, California, and Massachusetts], and could be boosted with modest public policy support, which in turn would stimulate technological improvement in storage to encourage further growth…” click here for more

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    Saving Water Is A Way To New Energy

    Water conservation has saved energy, cut greenhouse gas emissions, study finds

    Joshua Emerson Smith, June 7, 2016 (LA Times)

    “…[During California’s initial emergency conservation program that stretched from June 2015 through February, energy savings from water conservation totaled 922,543 megawatt-hours — enough to power 135,000 homes for a year, according to [data from the UC Davis Center for Water-Energy Efficiency…The electricity saved from less water consumption [460 gigawatt-hours at a cost of $44.8 million] was substantial enough that during peak summer months last year, savings equaled the effect of all energy efficiency programs offered by major investor-owned utilities in the state combined [459.4 gigawatt-hours at a cost of roughly $172.6 million] — and at less than a third of the cost…[The emergency conservation program] saved more than 423 billion gallons of water, leaving resources stored underground or in reservoirs.” click here for more

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    Monday, June 13, 2016

    Climate Change Denial Is No Accident

    Biggest US coal company funded dozens of groups questioning climate change; Analysis of Peabody Energy court documents show company backed trade groups, lobbyists and thinktanks dubbed ‘heart and soul of climate denial’

    Suzanne Goldenberg and Helena Bengsston, 13 June 2016 (UK Guardian)

    “Peabody Energy, America’s biggest coalmining company, has funded at least two dozen groups that cast doubt on manmade climate change and oppose environment regulations, analysis by the Guardian reveals…The funding spanned trade associations, corporate lobby groups, and industry front groups as well as conservative think-tanks and was exposed in court filings last month…The coal company also…[funded] twice as many Republican groups as Democratic ones…[The now bankrupt Peabody, the] world’s biggest private sector publicly traded coal company, was long known as an outlier even among fossil fuel companies for its public rejection of climate science and action…[Environmental groups say the breadth of the funding of denial] took them by surprise…[B]ankruptcy filings from the country’s second-biggest coal company, Arch Coal Inc, revealed funding to a group known mainly for its unsuccessful lawsuit against the climate scientist Michael Mann…” click here for more

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    The Phase Change To New Energy Is At Hand

    Renewable Energy Is Now Inevitable, Energy Secretary Says, Citing Price

    Jeff McMahon, June 3, 2016 (Forbes)

    “Climate change may have inspired the clean-energy revolution, but [the plunging prices in solar, wind and efficient innovations like LED lighting have and making it ‘inevitable,’ according to] Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz…[He added that a ‘phase change’ is coming, after which] clean energy will be the norm…[Indicators he cited include] Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs) in the range of 3¢ to 4¢ per kilowatt hour for wind and solar energy…[putting the levelized cost of energy for wind at] 3.2¢, solar at 4.3¢, natural gas at 5.2¢ and coal at 6.5¢…[To describe the inevitability, Secretary Moniz quoted CEO Tom Fanning of notoriously conservative utility Southern Company that it is not possible to ‘keep the waves off the beach…’” click here for more

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    Charging Cars With Solar-Powered Leafs

    Artificial Leaf Converts Solar Energy To Fuel That May One Day Power Your Car

    Katherine Derla, 4 June 2016 (Tech Times)

    “Researchers developed an ‘artificial leaf’ that [uses photosynthesis to transform solar energy] into liquid fuels. And this new technology can one day power your vehicles…[They have] demonstrated not just how the new solar power system can produce usable fuels but also its impressive efficiency…[Despite challenges, a] past model of the bionic leaf was able to produce isopropanol using solar energy…[The new model bionic leaf 2.0 increases] its efficiency level dramatically…[It can transform solar energy into biomass with an efficiency rate of 10 percent, which is 10 times the 1 percent among the fastest-growing] plant species…[It] can also create isopentanol, isobutanol and a bio-plastic precursor called PHB…” click here for more

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    Thursday, June 9, 2016

    Concerns over 2H Fundamentals Emerging -- Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

    Solar Industry Update: Concerns over 2H Fundamentals Emerging/7 June 2016/Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

    [Deutsche Bank does and seeks to do business with companies covered in its research reports. Thus, investors should be aware that the firm may have a conflict of interest that could affect the objectivity of this report. Investors should consider this report as only a single factor in making their investment decision. DISCLOSURES AND ANALYST CERTIFICATIONS ARE LOCATED IN APPENDIX 1. MCI (P) 057/04/2016.

    Vishal Shah/Research Analyst/(+1) 212 250-0028/

    Bottom line

    In this note, we provide our thoughts and most commonly asked questions from investors following meetings with company managements and over 50 investors over the past few weeks. Our general take is that solar sector has still not completely emerged from the shadows of SUNE bankruptcy and balance sheet quality remains the biggest source of investor concern in the solar sector. Complicating the investment process is the complexity of solar business models and difficulty in modeling a path for sustainable cash flow generation. Against this backdrop, we prefer FSLR, SPWR and VSLR.

    Concerns over 2H Fundamentals Emerging

    We expect fundamentals to remain challenging in 2H16 as demand from China market could likely decline from 2H. With the US market unlikely to see the ITC rush and no other major market expected to pick-up the slack from China slowdown, investors are rightly concerned about the risk of oversupply from 2H16. Moreover, a significant amount of new supply is expected to come online in 2017 raising concerns over potential pricing/margin pressure for module manufacturers.

    Resi Leasing Sector Investor Sentiment Remains the Weakest

    Financing still remains the biggest question - for resi solar leasing companies, investors are generally concerned about the net metering policy changes in a few states such as Arizona, Nevada and implications for policy decisions in other states. Additionally, investors are rightly concerned about the availability of financing required to execute growth plans. Investor concerns are also fueled by the weaker than expected fundamentals (bookings and outlook) reported by most resi solar companies. We believe a combination of improving bookings momentum and execution on the financing front would be required for investor sentiment to improve. In the medium term, we also believe net metering policy overhang would need to be resolved for resi solar stocks to see meaningful share price appreciation. Most of these stocks are currently trading at or below the value of operating assets and investors are not giving any credit for the development business. VSLR remains our top pick within the resi leasing coverage universe.

    Traditional Developers/Manufacturers Also Remain In Penalty Box

    For solar developers/installers such as FSLR, SPWR, 2017 earnings/EBITDA outlook remains the biggest focus for investors. Concerns about rising Chinese competition and impact on module segment margins along with lack of visibility/profitability within the systems segment remains the primary investor concern. We like both FSLR and SPWR for different reasons. In the case of FSLR we believe concerns about 2017 earnings cliff are overblown. While we expect 2017 earnings to decline, the magnitude of decline would be less than feared primarily due to upside from systems segment as well as improving margins from series 5/6 production ramp. For SPWR, we believe the 2017 EBITDA would still be similar to 2016 levels due to 600MW of capacity expansion as well as more diversified business model mix. Pick-up in business momentum, which could be driven by bookings outlook would be an important catalyst for both shares, in our view.

    Chinese Solar, Inverters Unlikely to Gain Near Term Traction, Remain Selective with Yieldcos

    Chinese companies remain in a tough spot - investors are concerned about peaking margins, rising receivables and subsidy payment delays for domestic project developers. Stocks are not discounting much value for projects that these companies are holding on their balance sheet. Until and unless the outlook for China market improves - both from subsidy payment and installation volume standpoints, we do not see any meaningful catalyst for Chinese solar stocks. Inverter companies are similarly impacted by concerns about pricing pressure from Enphase as well as Chinese string inverter companies. We believe margin pressure in the inverter segment is likely to increase, however upside from the storage segment is not fully priced into these shares and prefer SEDG within this category. Finally, the yieldcos are challenged by weak capital markets environment and limited opportunity for near term drop downs which in turn is impacting medium term growth outlook. We do not expect CAFD to tap the capital markets in order to achieve 2017 dividend growth and expect shares to gradually grind higher as the company executes on dividend targets.

    Buy-Side Views/Our Take SCTY: Least-desired name on concerns that there could a liquidity event in 2016. Investors believe 2016 guide is still aggressive (and back-end loaded). Plus the company is really all over the place - resi leasing, now pushing direct sale and is also entering C&I, utility scale. Additionally, the company is adding manufacturing capacity which means the funding requirements could remain high in the medium term. Investors are also really frustrated by a series of earnings disappointment and remain cautious about the development of various state level policies. Recent cash equity transaction also makes it difficult to assess the value of underlying assets. SPWR: Despite large Total ownership and relatively attractive valuation, SPWR shares remain out of favor due to low float and complexity in modeling earnings/EBITDA. Considering the low market cap and potential concerns over a sharp decline in 2017 earnings /EBITDA due to rollover of legacy projects, lot of investors we spoke with were unwilling to spend the time and model 2017 earnings/EBITDA. Slowdown of the resi market in the U.S. and concerns over pricing power/ramp of P-series manufacturing also remain an overhang. SEDG: One of the biggest concerns for investors is longer-term profitability of the optimizer/inverter business model. How can SEDG maintain 30% margins in an environment where the module players are earnings high single digit/low teens margins and when the large leasing customers are laser-focused on bringing costs down? The slowdown of the US resi market due to policy uncertainty also appears to be weighing on the shares. SEDG does get credit for simplification of the story and business model as well as strong focus on cost reduction/differentiated product portfolio. ENPH: The single-most important question for ENPH investors is whether the company can drive costs down fast enough and reduce cash burn while maintaining market share? The slow growth of US DG market is also not helping overall investor sentiment. Plus investors are getting increasingly concerned about increased competition and pricing pressure from string inverter companies getting into the space. The only potential positive question we get from investors is whether this company eventually becomes an M&A target and can successfully execute its storage strategy? FSLR: In the case of FSLR, we highlight most commonly asked investor questions below: 7 June 2016 Clean Technology Solar Update Page 4 Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. There is some uncertainty with respect to outlook of the US utility scale market, in light of the recent stay on Clean Power Plan. Can FSRL grow bookings in this environment? FSLR is working on a significant number of late stage bookings opportunities which could drive book-to-bill above 1.0 in 2H16. The company is working on close to 1GW of systems related opportunity between now and year-end. FSLR continues to see significant amount of activity within the US (both utility scale and C&I) – NV casinos looking to go off-grid, Apple, Amazon, community solar are a few examples of US project activity. International markets also remain extremely robust from a volume stand point (Morocco, Dubai, Mexico, India); however economics remain challenging. The company plans to be mostly a module provider in international markets. FSLR’s revenues and earnings have been largely influenced by legacy systems business. What’s the outlook for systems business beyond 2017? The company still expects to recognize revenues on 1GW of systems business from 2017 (mostly US and Japan) and is working on 2017 CODs totaling ~500MW. In terms of project sales, Moapa project will be sold this year one way or the other. The company would be recognizing $145M in equity earnings in 2016 (including 8Point3 contribution of ~$25M). With some of the project push outs, we expect this number to decrease sharply in 2017. Bookings opportunity, cadence and margins FSLR is looking at close to 1GW of systems related bookings opportunity between now and the year end. Majority of this systems business opportunity appears to be in the U.S. and Japan and we believe the company would be in a position to achieve 2H16 book-to-bill of greater than 1.0. Systems bookings tend to be lumpy. However, mgmt remains confident of achieving 1GW+ systems shipments on an annual basis from 2017. Within the international markets, the company mostly sees opportunity in the module business. With risk of increased competition from Chinese module suppliers, how can FSLR maintain component gross margins above 20%? FSLR’s module cost as of Q3’15 were below 40c/W and with series 6 ramp, we anticipate costs to decrease to low 30c/W levels. Series 5, 6 ramp could result in 150-200 bps of systems margins improvement. First, capex of series 6 capacity is 40% lower compared to capex of series 4 capacity. Second, series 5 and 6 modules do not require connectors, clips and other BoS components, which results in overall lower component as well as labor costs. How should we think about R&D and cash requirements? In terms of incremental R&D expenditures, FSLR does not anticipate any incremental R&D spend on series 5/6 technology. In terms of minimum cash requirement, FSLR believes that $500M of cash would be sufficient to successfully compete and develop projects in the US and international markets. Why is Jim Hughes leaving the company? Jim’s involvement with FSLR goes back to the time when he was helping the company develop a strategic plan. The conversation at that time and his 7 June 2016 Clean Technology Solar Update Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. Page 5 involvement evolved into a board request to take on an executive role. According to Jim, he was never keen to run a public company for a long period of time. Jim completed the 4 year plan and hit every target that was laid out. Going forward, FSLR has to make a lot of very positive decisions and both Jim as well as the board believes it is prudent to allow new leadership to own the strategy over the next 5 years. What is going on with respect to near term industry fundamentals? The entire US solar industry was gearing for end of ITC extension and given the extension, there is a lot of uncertainty as to how 2017 fundamentals would shape up. The CPP uncertainty is impacting timing of utility scale roll-out. On a 5 year horizon, the future has never looked brighter. The company is already working on a significant number of projects that would be delivered in 2018/19/20 timeframe. Why did FSLR not provide specific cost/efficiency roadmaps at the Analyst Day? Product mix was one of the main reasons why FSLR did not provide specific roadmaps. How does FSLR think about product mix? Series 4 will remain the primary near term focus for FSLR. This is the right product for lower labor cost markets. Series 5 on the other hand is the right product for higher labor cost markets.

    Tuesday, June 7, 2016

    Paris And Art In A Time Of Climate Change

    The Louvre's closure proves art cannot survive climate change; The flooding in Paris is a stark warning of the danger posed by climate change to everything human civilisation has achieved – no matter how priceless

    Jonathan Jones, 6 June 2016 (UK Guardian)

    “One of the oldest human illusions is that culture is a conquest of, or an escape from, nature. It is an illusion we need to abandon fast…[As the Seine rose in Paris in recent days, no less a museum than the Louvre had to close its doors (along with the Musee d’Orsay) so staff could protect artistic masterpieces. This] is a stark warning that civilisation can only survive in harmony with nature. If we destroy our planet, we destroy not just our current way of life but the human heritage itself…If any museum sums up the best of human creativity through millennia, it is the Louvre…[Now that it has been forced] to take emergency measures against another of those weather events in which only the most foolhardy or corrupt refuse to see human-induced climate change, we can glimpse how our destructive side will wreck our best hopes if we don’t change…The most apocalyptic masterpiece in the Louvre is Géricault’s The Raft of the Medusa…Civilisation has died. Bare survival is all they have. Is that enough?” click here for more

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    Reds And Blues Agree On Wind In Iowa

    In Iowa, A Bipartisan Push to Become Leader in Wind Energy; Thanks to state officials who have long supported renewables, Iowa now leads all U.S. states in the percentage of its energy produced from wind. Big companies, including Facebook and Google, are taking notice and cite clean energy as a major reason for locating new facilities there.

    Roger Real Drouin, June 6, 2016 (Yale 360)

    “…[Amid the variability in crop prices, [wind turbines offer a steady annual income for Iowa farmers with long-term leases allowing them to be built on their land]. Such lease payments can net $5,000 to $10,000 a year per tower, an amount that typically increases by a small percentage annually...[Across Iowa, the wind industry] employs roughly 7,000 people, supports 11 facilities that manufacture turbine-related components, and has attracted more than $10 billion in capital investment. The state that leads the U.S. in both corn and pork production also has the distinction of leading the nation in percentage of its energy produced from wind, now at 31 percent…Facebook, Google, and Microsoft are among the companies that identified use of wind energy as one of the reasons to locate new facilities in Iowa…[Thanks to far-sighted planning by Republican and Democratic Iowa leaders, the state could meet all of its electricity needs from wind power by 2030] and have enough left over to export to other states…In the next three to five years, an additional $8 billion to $10 billion in investment in wind farms and manufacturing is expected in Iowa…” click here for more

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    Sun Does The Big Apple

    Why Isn't Solar Energy Spreading Faster In NYC?

    Miranda Katz, May 31, 2016 (Gothamist)

    “In 2014, New York City set an ambitious goal: to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050…Some 66% of city rooftops are capable of harnessing solar power, and the number of solar companies in the city has skyrocketed over the past decade, from just five to over 50…[The] past two years have seen something of a boom, with the number of installations now adding up to about 75 megawatts—but much of that growth has been in the public sector, and there's still a long ways to get to the city’s] goal of 350 megawatts…[The holdup], it appears, is that installing solar energy in NYC is a nightmarishly bureaucratic process that involves jumping through hoops with the Department of Buildings [DOB], the FDNY, and Con Edison, not to mention the legwork involved if one would like to simultaneously apply for a property tax abatement, which would reduce taxes on a solarized property and is one of the primary incentives for doing so…[Solar advocates calling for more and faster change in permitting processes]…” click here for more

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    Monday, June 6, 2016

    Three Candidates, Three Energy Policies – Climate Change

    On the issues: Climate change, environmental policy divide candidates

    Eric DuVall, June 6, 2016 (united Press International)

    “Some of the issues being debated in the 2016 presidential campaign start with a generally accepted premise from Hillary Clinton,Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump…Climate change is not one of them…Clinton and Sanders believe the science showing the planet is warming due to pollution created by humans, and the gradually warming temperatures are causing dramatic shifts in climate and weather across the world with potentially devastating consequences…Trump, like many Republicans, is deeply skeptical of that science and believes the climate change ‘crisis’ Democrats decry is really a political ploy to offer justification for more taxes and regulations on oil and gas companies they already do not like…

    “…Clinton terms it ‘an urgent threat and a defining challenge of our time’…[and Sanders describes it as] ‘the single greatest threat facing our planet’…[Trump] has called it a ‘hoax’ on multiple occasions…Clinton has pledged to reduce the nation's carbon emissions by 30 percent in 10 years…[Sanders said he will ban all oil and gas lobbyists] who he says spend millions on campaign contributions to buy influence over energy and environmental legislation in Congress…Both candidates support the Paris Climate Agreement…Trump proposes opening up more land for oil and natural gas exploration…pledged to undo Obama's executive orders related to climate change…[and ‘rip up’ the Paris Climate Agreement…” click here for more

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    Three Candidates, Three Energy Policies – New Energy

    On the issues: Climate change, environmental policy divide candidates

    Eric DuVall, June 6, 2016 (united Press International)

    “…On the question of energy production, Clinton and Sanders both advocate a shift toward renewable sources of energy…[Trump] wants to reduce regulations on fossil fuel companies because their benefits] outweigh any potential environmental problems…Clinton has set a goal of installing 500 million solar panels in the United States over the next decade and has called for enough renewable energy production to power every American home by the middle of this century…Sanders also has placed heavy emphasis on replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy, calling for a ‘100 percent clean energy system’ that excludes fossil fuels and nuclear power…He says funding for the transition to clean energy should come from closing tax loopholes benefiting oil and gas companies and replace it with a tax on carbon emissions…Trump has said he will restore U.S. coal production…[Clinton pledged] to put coal mines ‘out of business’…” click here for more

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    Three Candidates, Three Energy Policies – Keystone And Fracking

    On the issues: Climate change, environmental policy divide candidates

    Eric DuVall, June 6, 2016 (united Press International)

    “…The Keystone XL pipeline proposal for a massive, 1,200-mile pipe to ship light crude oil stretching from the Canadian tar sands across the U.S. plains to American refineries on the Gulf of Mexico] generated years of political controversy…After six years of environmental review, the Obama administration rejected the proposal…[It was the single largest point of contention between Clinton and Sanders on environmental issues…[But after] the Obama administration finally rejected the proposal, Clinton did as well. Sanders criticized Clinton's late decision…Trump has also taken a nuanced position…[He said he would consider authorizing the project if the Canadian builder commits to share the profits with American communities where the pipeline runs…

    “…[On natural gas hydraulic fracturing, or [fracking, which critics say represents environmental dangers and proponents say] is safe and could unleash America's vastly untapped natural gas reserves, Trump is on record supporting it] and said the industry could create 2 million jobs in seven years if restrictions are lifted…Clinton has not proposed the outright ban on fracking advocated by Sanders and others on the left. She does, however, propose a number of restrictions, including retaining the ban on fracking on federal land, and in communities and states where laws are on the books banning the practice [which, she has said, will leave] many places in America where fracking will continue…” click here for more

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