So, what exactly is involved in calculating solar panels cost in Little Italy? When thinking about solar power very few people know the way the cost of solar panel systems is actually measured. Or even, for that matter, do we automatically grasp the connection relating to the cost of solar power and the value of solar power. We all know that gasoline prices are in dollars per gallon. We likewise are all aware of approximately how far we’ll be able to drive after spending 40 bucks for a tank of gas. In contrast to a tank of gas, the value of which can be consumed pretty much instantly, solar panels deliver their value across a period of time.
Little Italy 3 Undervalued Solar Leaders
SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWR) is a global solar energy solutions provider. It operates in the specialized semiconductor industry and was incorporated in 1985. It is headquartered in San Jose, California and has offices in North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. The company's operating activities include designing, manufacturing and supplying solar panels and solar systems to a wide range of clients. SunPower's customers range from residential to utility customers, including businesses and the government. The company also offers different products related to solar systems that include inverters and control chargers. SunPower Corporation reports its revenues based on geographical segmentation. The company generates about 70% of its revenue from America, 20% from EMEA (Europe) and 10% from APAC (Asia Pacific). The revenues from Europe and Asia have been decreasing over the years partly because of the growing American demand and partly because of the recent economic conditions of Europe. NRG Solar is a significant customer of the company, being responsible for 35% of the revenue generated from America or in aggregate terms 24.5% of the entire revenue. SunPower is backed by Total S. A., the fifth largest publicly-traded energy company in the world. Total has a controlling interest in the company and holds around 66% shares of SunPower.
SunPower Corporation is listed on NASDAQ and is currently trading around $30. 2013 proved to be a good year for the company as far as market performance is concerned. Shares of the company appreciated consistently during the year. In the first week of January, shares were trading at around $6 but now they are touching $30. The solar industry has been facing difficulty in the past two years but now it seems that the market is regaining confidence in the solar industry.
EPS of the company also improved during 2013 which caused the share price to increase. Revenues have also been improving over time and SunPower has posted a CAGR (compound annual growth rate) of 4.95% since December 2011. These growing financial figures were responsible for the positive trend of the share price.
It appears that the solar industry is starting to recover. The recent years have been rough, especially for American solar businesses because of the dumping exercises carried out by China. The subsidizing of solar companies by the government of China enabled them to sell below their production costs. This forced the American companies to cut prices and suffer losses. Oversupply in the industry was also a major factor in the reduction of prices and diminished earnings. The sales of Chinese solar firms in Europe are capped now due to limitations imposed by the European Union. Once the US and Europe have settled the Chinese solar panel issue, profits in the industry will begin to grow. Furthermore, China has banned the construction of any further solar panel factories. All these developments enhanced the investor's confidence in the solar industry which in turn is reflected in the market performance of the American solar companies. "We're at a point now where demand starts to be driven by cold, hard economics rather than by subsidies and that is a game changer," says Jason Channell of Citigroup.
The solar industry is poised for future growth. According to IEA, renewable electricity will surpass output from natural gas and double the generation from nuclear plants by 2016; becoming the second most important source of energy after coal. It is worth noting that the growth of renewable energy has always been underestimated in projections. For instance, in 2003, IEA predicted that non-hydro renewable energy would represent 4% of the global generation by 2030 but the industry reached that figure in 2003. According to BNEF, renewable energy will account for around 69-74% of new capacity added by 2030. Estimates by HIS predict the global PV (photovoltaic) market to grow by 17% in 2014. All of this points toward the fact that the solar industry will grow in the future.
BNEF also projects a 20% increase in PV installations by 2017. The emerging markets are USA, China and Japan, accounting for 52% of the solar demand in 2013 compared to 13% in 2008. Overall, the industry is set for growth but the question is, on whose expense? China and the US are the two main competitors in this industry. The relative strategies and actions of their governments could affect the companies based in both countries.
Global Production Leader
China is the largest supplier of PV modules. It plans to add 10 GW of solar capacity to the system each year until 2015, aiming for 35GW by 2015. The current capacity is 5GW. Chinese companies like Trina Solar, Yingli Solar and Hanergy have low production costs and are offered subsidies by the government. Therefore, they manage to compete on very low costs, rendering the US based suppliers unprofitable.
The excess production and oversupply of solar panels by Chinese manufacturers reduced the price margins in the industry. This oversupply has been adversely affecting the global solar industry for the past few years. The capping of Chinese solar panels by the EU and the restriction of the Chinese government on the establishment of new solar panel installations has helped in improving the conditions of the industry globally. This, however, presents a problem for the American solar companies because the Chinese suppliers are likely to converge upon the attractive US market. This development could pose a serious hindrance to the growth of US based companies. China still produces the cheapest cells and the efficiency of the cells is also competitive. American companies need to find a way to produce cost effective cells to counter China's competitive advantage. To encourage competition, The U.S. Commerce Department set anti-dumping duties ranging from 18.32% to 249.96% on solar-energy cells imported from China in 2012. This provides a level playing field as far as the American market is concerned. In Europe, the market is equally competitive for both US and Chinese firms because China's sales have been capped. In Asia, as expected, Chinese companies have a clear advantage over their American counterparts.
Residential Leasing Program
SunPower's leasing program is a competitive advantage for the company, as it allows the consumers to install their energy systems without paying all charges upfront. Consumers can save up to 10% or 15% on their electricity bill and be eco-friendly at the same time. SunPower is trying to bridge the gap further by lowering the costs of the system and improving the efficiency. It is aiming to enhance efficiency by 10% and reduce panel costs by 35% in 2015. The residential lease program has attracted 16,200 customers since 2012. "Our residential lease business remains strong, with demand outstripping our financial capacity in the first quarter," said Tom Werner, SunPower's CEO, during a call with analysts to discuss quarterly earnings. The company has been fuelling its finance requirements from Citi, Credit Suisse and recently from US Bancorp. These leases are a competitive advantage for SunPower because they help in reducing the overall energy costs of the consumer.
Maxeon cells that are being manufactured by SunPower are the most efficient cells to date. They are 24% efficient. Provided the company manages to reduce the production cost of the cell, they would be every one's first choice.
SunPower's Oasis C7 is a solar photovoltaic tracking system that concentrates the sun's power seven times to achieve the lowest levelized cost of electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar power plants.
The leading technologies offered by SunPower are its differentiated strength and can help the company to grow.
Research and Development
SunPower is involved in research with King Abdullah University and the French Laboratory of Interfaces of Physics and Thin Films. Total S. A. is also working in solar R&D which could also benefit SunPower. Total is working in collaboration with:
LAAS: (Laboratory for Systems Analysis and Architecture - Toulouse, France) to enhance the efficiency of photovoltaic modules using a systemic approach.
IMEC: (Interuniversity Micro Electronics Center - Louvain, Belgium) to decrease the amount of silicon needed for cells and improve their efficiency
LPICM: (Interface and Thin Film Physics Laboratory - Saclay, France), a joint research facility of the French National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS) and the Ecole Polytechnique's engineering school with a combined team working on crystalline silicon thin film technology.
SunPower's exposure to extensive R&D is reflected in its technologically advanced products.
P/E ratio of the company stands at 26.8x and PEG ratio at 0.76x. This indicates that the company's growth would be higher than what market is paying for a dollar of earnings. In simple terms, the market perception is not in line with future growth and we can say that the price is not perfectly correlated to the anticipated growth. Industry growth estimates are 17.09% but the street expects SunPower to grow by a staggering 30%.
With growth estimated at 30% for the next 5 years the multiplier to value the company should be higher than its P/E. That is why we are taking a relatively higher multiplier of 35x.
The mean price target is $35.7, using an average multiplier of 30x which is also above the current price. However, we will use a higher multiplier of 35x and a target price of $42. These estimates give us a 25% upside on SunPower.
SunPower Corp. is well-positioned in the solar industry. It has highly advanced and differentiated products, which, despite their high costs are capable of competing with the low cost and less efficient solar modules. With its intense exposure to R&D, we believe that the company will be able to compete on the cost basis in the near future. It has the potential to become the leader in the solar industry. With the anti-dumping legislation enacted in the US, cap on China's sales in the EU and plans to initiate global leasing, SunPower has an opportunity to penetrate these markets. The top quality cells, Maxeon, enable the company to compete with other American counterparts like First Solar. As far as Asia is concerned, the market will continue to be influenced by China until the solar giants of America can develop a cost effective solution.
Overall, the future of SunPower Corp. is bright whether fueled by their differentiated technology or by the backing of Total S A. The target price of the company indicates further price growth. So, our call on the shares of SPWR is a BUY.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.
Best Science Fair Project Websites for Kids
It is now the high time to do our own share in protecting Earth and her wonderful creatures.
Our planet is indeed gasping for breath right now, our harmful pollution is indeed choking her slowly and continues to strip off her ozone layer. I think it is about time to give our response to this alarming state of the only planet we live in, by doing our own share of protecting her with doing simple things that will surely stir big difference. For if not, we might be harming ourselves in the years ahead as well, for nature has its own destructive ways of getting back at us humans, the signs of earth's displeasure with inappropriate and harmful activities of humans are now seen and felt all across the globe like the global warming, climate change, acid rain, drought, flash floods and other forms of natural catastrophes.
Antarctic glaciers and ice sheets are melting at a fast rate, the populations of bees worldwide are dwindling down, numerous species of flora and fauna all across the world are becoming extinct as years go by, the ecosystem is continuously harmed, polar bears are getting hungry and the list goes on.
Here are some practical and small ways that could help our planet get a sigh of relief. Collective small efforts by those who are genuinely concerned with earth's welfare will inevitably help her by great leap and bounds.
1. Don’t allow your children to free those colorful balloons in mid-air. Teach your children not to release balloons. For balloons that escaped the grasps of your children that will hover the sky and eventually fell into oceans and seas will be mistaken as (irresistible meal) jellyfish by sea turtles. Sea turtles take a lot of years to mature and unfortunately some of them got killed by eating balloon or plastic bags. Sea turtles are part of the delicate cycle and if their population is affected other species of marine creatures are also under threat.
2. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Make it a habit to reduce the things we need or we consume. Purchase only things that we only need and eat only what you can. Let us do our share not to be part of the problem or should I say part of the garbage problem. Reuse all the things that can still be repaired/fixed or those things that are still okay.
Recycle things to conserve our resources, collect old newspapers, books, magazines, used papers, bottles (plastic and glass), and any other things that you could sell in junkyards. There is money in garbage and at the same time we’re doing our part in recycling process.
3. Be kind to trees. As much as possible use forests products and timber very well with optimum efficiency. You may use the back of coupons, use pencils until it become as small as possible, and don’t play with matches. Try to get involved in tree planting in your local conservation program. This could be fun as trees can give us added oxygen, shades for people and a refuge to different insects and birds.
4. Broken scientific apparatus like thermometer, barometers, manometers, sphygmanometers, and float valves and other things that have mercury on it should be disposed properly. Avoid throwing this in rivers for mercury is toxic and poisonous not only to the fishes and invertebrates but to the humans as well.
5. Minimize the use of refrigerators, foam blowers, solvents, aerosol spray propellants, fire extinguishers, and chemical reagents for these contains chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that are responsible to the climate change and depletion of our precious ozone layer. Do not burn plastic please this habit is also harmful to our ozone layer.
6. Do not buy exotic and endangered animals. These animals are intended to be in the wild not as mere decorations to your home, pets or playthings.
7. Educate our children, friends and even our local community about the harmful effects of dynamite fishing, illegal logging, animal poaching, over reliance to wood products and hos of other environmental issues.
8. Do not even bother to try eating exotic and endangered animals for they are not intended to be part of human’s diet. Let the other predatory animal do the stalking and eating hehehe you’re not fit to be a lion. One of the most badly hit by human's penchant for delicious foods are the sharks (shark fin soup), sturgeon (sturgeon roes - caviar- are valued for their great taste and one of the most prized eats in the world), snakes, sea turtles and many other animals.
9. Do not patronize things (coats, purse, belt, etc.) that are made up of an endangered animal or animal part (like skin, fur, bones, tusks, antlers, etc.).
10. Be responsible with your garbage, dispose them properly. Also try to use segregation scheme with your trashes, separate those decomposable from those that are not. You may utilize a compost pit to serve as haven for all of your organic trashes and eventually use this as your fertilizer for your backyard garden or trees.
11. Do the traditional way of helping to conserve our environment by virtue of avoiding smoke-belching.
12. Conserve electrical energy and water by employing tips such as regular cleaning of our bulb and fluorescent light in our home, use only appliances when needed, avoiding dripping of water from our faucets, and reporting any case of broken water pipelines to local government.
13. Support any environmental conservation in your community, you may give some donations if this will not bother you to support their cause. You may also join them in their information dissemination drive and campaign as well. You may also do things that can benefit our environment. If you're living in nearby beaches try putting old tires in the sea, this will serve as sanctuary for fishes to lay their eggs and for a place to hide from predators. You may have some vegetation (vegetables, trees or ornamental plants) in your own backyard, for extra oxygen in your area.
14. Support and visit eco-tours near you, these may promote awareness about the importance of ecology to your children, relative and friends.
15. When visiting any tourism site/protected parks please be responsible with your trashes as much as possible adhere to the rules and regulations of the park even if no one is looking at you.
16. Learn how to appreciate nature and her gifts to mankind and support any environmental campaigns that will help nurture and protect the only planet we live in.
This is my fifth entry to the hubchallenge...