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First Solar appears to have reached an important and, for many solar companies, elusive target: grid parity, or the point where photovoltaic electricity is as cheap as conventional electric power. In a research note, Pacific Crest analyst Mark Bachman ran some calculations on First Solar’s 12.6 […] Read more »

Let’s say Steve Jobs retires next year. So what? I’m one of those in the lonely camp that doesn’t believe Jobs is Apple and Apple is Jobs. Or that when he disengages from Apple the wheels must necessarily fall off. Jobs bought Pixar in 1986, and […] Read more »

During the last recession, eBay not only prospered but flourished — not so this time around. Over the past year, eBay has de-emphasized auctions and put more focus on “buy-it-now,” fixed-price sales. In some ways, the strategy makes sense. But the move away from the freewheeling bazaar and into tighter competition with the likes of Amazon has resulted in a drop in traffic. Read more »

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“If we are lucky, we will come out with a bill next week that nobody likes.” With those words, Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, wrapped up two days of testimony from auto executives intended to be something like a truth […] Read more »

Even if your Thanksgiving gathering had its share of sour family moments, consider yourself lucky: You weren’t stuck with a bunch of OPEC ministers in Cairo, where they couldn’t even agree on whether to cut oil production further. Even though oil recently dropped below $50 a […] Read more »

Google shares recently fell as much as 67 percent from an all-time high in November of 2007. But while there is plenty of reason for concern in the short term, there are also signs that Google is growing slowly more integrated into many facets of our online experiences. So does that mean it’s time to buy Google shares? Read more »

It’s far from certain — it’s even a fairly remote possibility — but the possibility of an economic depression is being discussed more and more these days. As is to be expected, the discussion tends to be centered around how much of what we’re used to […] Read more »

For the past few months, stocks of solar-energy companies have been following the movements of the broader market, only with amplified volatility. So it comes as no surprise that, with stock indexes in general rising for the fourth straight trading day, solar stocks are up big. […] Read more »

President-Elect Barack Obama reaffirmed his commitment to addressing climate change this week, asserting that “few challenges facing America – and the world – are more urgent.” But the speech was notable for skirting that other urgent challenge facing the world: its tanking economy. Read more »

Who says corporate blogs can’t be informative? Sometimes what is deemed worthy of a blog post can speak volumes about the companies publishing them. Let’s look at two companies and their posts. Both employ a lot of U.S. autoworkers. One of them is seeking a massive […] Read more »

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J.P. Morgan analyst Christopher Blansett created some buzz in the solar sector Monday with a note urging investors to make a “flight to safety” — noting that companies will have to weather “reduced solar subsidies next year, higher solar system borrowing costs and increasing competition at […] Read more »

Updated: It’s a classic PR play: When you start to look like the bad guy, call out a bigger bad guy. And it seems to be the strategy that the Securities and Exchange Commission — besieged by accusations of lax enforcement before and during the credit […] Read more »

One of the unintended but still entertaining side effects of deflated market caps is the corporate catfight. As of yesterday, we have a promising one being performed in the energy sector: After a few weeks of gentle pawing at smaller rival NRG Energy, industry giant Exelon […] Read more »

Growth Energy, a new trade organization for corn ethanol companies, is lashing out against critics of corn ethanol by buying ad space in the New York Times and issuing “policy briefs” (bulky pdf files peppered with Excel graphs). Read more »

Solar stocks continue to have a rough time. In stark contrast to 2007, when the bigger names in the sector were rallying month after month on the promise of solar power, there is no clear sign of where the bottom is. Just when it looks like […] Read more »

This year has brought more than its share of surprises to the energy industry, but the bankruptcy of ethanol giant VeraSun Energy was one that few would have predicted at the beginning of the year. The stock started the year at $15.28, down from its June […] Read more »

As we continue to slide into a dire economic correction, a silver lining is starting to emerge around the dot-com crash. By pushing a lot of froth out of the system several years ago, it has spared us from a true “Perfect Storm” of an economic crisis in 2008. Read more »

It’s easy to read too much rational thought into a market that is as volatile as U.S. stocks are these days, but it seems First Solar has just handed the solar bulls a couple of very good reasons to be optimistic. The Tempe, Ariz.-based, maker of […] Read more »

Remember those tens of millions of shares that Lehman Brothers held in solar companies as part of convertible bond deals it underwrote? It seems Barclays PLC ended up holding them after it bought Lehman’s broker dealer business following the U.S. investment bank’s bankruptcy. A couple of […] Read more »

Exelon’s unsolicited $6 billion bid for its smaller rival NRG Energy may have been prompted by short-term concerns about raising capital and cash flow, but the longer-term outcome could reshape the nuclear industry’s landscape. Nuclear power makes up only 5 percent of NRG’s power-generation capacity (vs. […] Read more »

Like most sectors, the coming crop of quarterly earnings reports from solar companies will be watched closely. There are arguments for and against the health of solar power in the imminent recession. On the one hand, companies needing capital may be stretched, silicon may be expensive […] Read more »

The Obama campaign’s web site is suggesting that their new economic plan may be eliminating capital gains taxes for venture capital investors, a move that would surely be welcomed as VCs look for strategies that will carry them through a tough economy. For cleantech startups, such […] Read more »

The poor state that U.S. automakers have found themselves in started a while ago. Built to churn out SUVs that were in demand for the last decade, they were sideswiped by the surge in oil prices. Now the recession that likely started this summer and is […] Read more »

I blame David Hasselhoff. Everything was going fine for the web — the financial world had been unwinding its overleveraged excesses for nearly a year without nary a ripple into Silicon Valley — until the launch of HoffSpace, a social network revolving around the oogachaka-ing, burger-wagging […] Read more »

There is so much bad news spinning out of the financial markets these days that it might be hard to spare a few moments for carbon trading markets. But the dramatic freezing up of credit around the world may threaten to spill over into the nascent […] Read more »

A day after bearish notes from three securities analysts pushed already beaten-down solar stocks even further downward, one solar company fought back with sunnier guidance than analysts had been expecting. LDK, a Xinyu City, China-based maker of multicrystalline solar wafers, boosted its outlook for the third […] Read more »

The remarkable rise and fall of Imperium Renewables — from a rising star in the alternative fuel universe to a green basket case — may finally be coming to an end. On Monday, Imperium became one of the many beneficiaries of the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act […] Read more »

After Monday, the belief that Silicon Valley is going to remain immune from the Wall Street fallout is gone. While some tech companies had been saying they weren’t worried that the credit crunch would hurt them, I don’t believe them. Read more »

The failed passage of a financial bailout bill has taken a harsh toll on most corners of the stock market, but few sectors saw steeper one-day declines Monday than solar stocks. That’s largely because there was a second piece of bad news coming from Congress that […] Read more »

Following a rocky first half of 2008, LED maker Cree is starting to see more news in its favor. The stock rallied 12 percent on Friday, well above the 3.4 percent rise in the Nasdaq. It closed the week at $28.75, up 67 percent over the […] Read more »

The good news for VeraSun on Thursday was that, early in the morning, its stock was up 42 percent from Wednesday’s close. Now the bad news. That 42-percent jump was just a bounce from one of its stock’s worst days ever. On Wednesday, VSE plummeted 73 […] Read more »

The turmoil on Wall Street has until now had a muted impact on clean technology, but that’s starting to change. Some solar stocks are reeling from the shock waves of Lehman Brother’s bankruptcy. Evergreen Solar (ESLR), JA Solar (JASO) and SunPower (SPWR) took hard hits early […] Read more »

The tug of war between bears and bulls in the solar sector continued this week, with the bulls finally gaining some ground on Friday after what had been a bearish week. Solar stocks closed mixed Friday despite a flash of good news that could dispel a […] Read more »

The mood in the solar stock sector today might best be described as dark green. Shares in Qidong, China-based Solarfun posted financial earnings that were ahead of analyst expectations, but the shares dived as much as 11 percent percent on concern that prices for its photovoltaic […] Read more »

One by one, the erstwhile stars of the solar sector are coming back into the sunlight. Now it’s Suntech Power’s (STP) turn. The Wuxi, China-based company saw its stock rally more than 12 percent to $41.75 Wednesday after earnings showed revenues in the second quarter were […] Read more »

It’s just a matter of time now before someone writes another one of those “wind in its sales” headlines, this time about Vestas Wind Systems. It is just the kind of bottom-branch fruit that looks appetizing to an editor starved for inspiration. Here’s why: Vestas, the […] Read more »

Lots of children grow up with disapproving parents — the unloved child is the staple of TV and movie dramas. That movie-of-the-week cliche is now playing out on the U.S. stock market, where Trina Solar (TSL) saw its earnings more than double. Trina’s net profit for […] Read more »

Cree, the maker of LED lights and chips, is having its best day on the stock market in nearly six months, rising 16 percent to close at $22.20 after posting fourth-quarter results and issuing a first-quarter forecast late Tuesday that were ahead of Wall Street’s expectations. […] Read more »

Chip equipment makers, like most of their customers, have to weather turbulent shifts from boom times to lean ones. Applied Materials (AMAT), which is near the bottom of one such chip cycle, decided a few years ago it would build a buffer by moving into the […] Read more »

In an era of high energy prices, the most effective solutions are now the least glamorous ones. Ethanol, solar panels and wind energy all have their share of promise and problems. But a company like Enernoc — which helps utilities use traditional energies more efficiently — […] Read more »

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