OilPrice say “This $10 Stock Will Unleash the Greatest Leap in the History of Energy…”

by Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe | February 13, 2017 1:01 am

This article first appeared on October 24, 2016, but readers are asking about it now so we’re re-publishing it for your information. The commentary below has not been changed, the ad is still running and also appears unchanged, and the company that’s being teased is down about 10% in the 3-1/2 months since we first de-teased the ad. Enjoy!

–from 10/24/16–

James Stafford at OilPrice.com is getting into the “crazy hyperbole” business as he promotes their new subscription service, Energy and Resources Insider ($49 “on sale” for charter signups), and several readers have asked me what he’s hinting at.

And I can see why, the promised “Unlimited FREE Energy Transformation” the ad talks about sounds awfully compelling, and it’s built on both a trend we’ve all seen (more solar installations) and a “secret” compound that can replace the current silicon solar cells and “transform an industry.” So are you dying to learn about that “secret?”

Don’t worry, we’ll dig in and see what we can see … and yes, we’ll ID the company for you after we sift through the clues that Stafford provides. Let’s jump right in, here’s the part of the ad that caught my eye:

“Scientists and engineers have been trying to squeeze profitable energy out of silicon solar cells for 62 years.

“What they’re starting to realize is… as you’ll see in a moment… that’s never going to happen.

“When it comes to extracting energy from the sun – profitably – silicon is just not up to the task.

“Unfortunately, as things stand today, 90% of the world’s solar cells are made from silicon.

“But here’s where things are about to change in a big way…

“There’s a new element – what I’ll call a ‘super crystal’ – that will soon replace silicon, and transform an industry.”

That was new to me, so I went digging to see what this “super crystal” might be… here’s a little more about that:

“As the scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory put it, this ‘super crystal’ has facets that ‘behave like billions of tiny solar cells, all connected in parallel.’

MIT Technology Review says it will ‘far outperform silicon’.

“The World Economic Forum calls it a ‘wonder material’…

“Adding that it will, ‘transform the lives of 1.2 billion people.'”

So what he’s talking about there are Perovskite crystals, which have the theoretical potential to reach something like 30% efficiency in transforming sunlight into electricity according to this article[1] (though that same article says “in development” Perovskite solar panels are at 20% efficiency)… and yes, that top end would be better than typical silicon solar cells — right now the “world record” for silicon-based solar panels is 24% efficiency, and several of the top companies can put out high-end panels that have 20-24% efficiency with various different techniques and technologies.

These Perovskite crystal cells can be made to be much thinner than conventional solar panels, and made more c cheaply with common materials, we’re told, and the maximum theoretical efficiency is much higher — so there seems ample reason to be testing out this newer Perovskite technology.

But what does that mean for us investors? Well, that’s when we get to the good part…

“There’s one little-known company at the center of it all…

“Right in the middle of what Navigant Research predicts will be a $134 billion market by 2020.

“Now, I just got word that no less than six executives at this company are using their own money to buy their company’s stock at market.”

And the ad shows an image, which looks to have been clipped from the Nasdaq’s data pages, listing the insider purchases by several directors and officers in this stock in February, April and May — which will give the Thinkolator a little something to chew on. That indicates that the stock price was in the neighborhood of $14 to $15.50 or so for at least a little while during those months, as well as giving us some specific trade details to confirm.

And, we’re told, this company’s next quarterly release is “just a few days away” — so you have to “act before it’s too late.”

More push:

“You see, early investors in this under-the-radar company have a chance to get a whole lot richer…

“By our conservative research estimates: 20,280% richer.

“That’s enough to turn $10,000 into $2.02 million on a single trade.

“There’s no bigger prize in energy than harnessing the FREE unlimited energy of the sun.

“Solar companies have been trying – and have failed – to fulfill on this promise for decades.

“But they’ve been held back by silicon.

“For the first time ever, that’s about to change, and this one small company holds the key.”

OK, so we’ve got some insider purchases, a stock in the solar business, and some connection, apparently to this new Perovskite crystal design for possibly newer and more efficient solar panels.

Here’s more of the hyperbole:

“Silicon solar cells… after 62 years of research and development…

“Have been squeezed to their electrical limits…

“They are still too expensive to produce… they’re woefully inefficient once they’re in place…

“And, after all this, without subsidies they are not profitable for the companies that manufacture them.

“In short: Solar as we now know it will soon be dead.

“But you see, the world wants and needs solar…

“We just need something better than silicon.”

Is this really true? Is the Perovskite crystal going to do to the silicon solar cell what the microchip did to the transistor? I would imagine that’s putting the cart a few miles ahead of the horse, but here’s a snippet about that efficiency weakness:

“At silicon’s absolute theoretical limit… it can convert 23% of the sun’s light in to electricity.

“But it took us 62 years to get anywhere close to that.

“The very best commercial thin film solar cells now convert just 20% of the sun’s light in to electricity.

“And until a few months ago, silicon was the best practical material we’ve had to convert the sun’s energy in to electricity.”

And we’re told that it took decades for Silicon to become 20-25% efficient in solar cells (the first solar cells were developed in the early 1960s), but that these “secret” Perovskite crystal-cells have leapt from 5% to 25% efficiency in just a couple years, and may shoot higher much more quickly.

I’m not sure this efficiency talk is entirely accurate, though perhaps the physicists in the audience will chime in — there is a theoretical limit for the efficency of photovoltaic cells, the Shockley Queisser Efficiency Limit, which is based on a formula that I don’t understand… and it’s really a theoretical single-panel, simple cell, pure and unconcentrated sunlight limit. Much of the reported super-efficient solar cells that you hear about from labs are based on multiple layers of solar cells within a panel to increase efficiency, or on multi-material panels, heat harvesting, sunlight concentration with lenses or mirrors, or other strategies to get beyond this theoretical limit — and there are lots of different materials that are used both in conjunction with silicon and in place of silicon that offer either increased efficiency or decreased cost or some other benefit.

So I can’t solve that for you, I just don’t know — it looks to me like these Perovskite crystal cells are a long way from becoming commercially competitive with silicon, just given the huge manufacturing head start that silicon has, but perhaps there really will be a rapid breakthrough, I don’t know. There’s an interesting quick article about Perovskite crystals as a breakthrough technology in Scientific American here[2], and there are some folks, like Lux Research[3], who believe that there’s a chance we’ll see meaningful commercial production within five years as academic researchers spin out their work to startups.

And, of course, I’m sure that there will be some of those startups or Perovskite researchers who end up being publicly traded companies… and those are bound to be the subject of plenty of future “teaser” ad campaigns from whatever newsletters are still around by then (and hopefully your friendly neighborhood Stock Gumshoe will be around to give some perspective). But as of now, there isn’t a commercial Perovskite crystal solar panel business… so what the heck is James Staffords talking about in his ad?

Back to the spiel:

“Let’s talk about this ‘super crystal’ company at the center of it all…

“This one little-known company that could soon dominate the $134 billion solar market…


“… what we’re looking at here is a company that could rise 20,280% by capturing just 1% of the advanced energy sector…

“Getting in now would be like going back in time and grabbing absolute ground floor shares in Standard Oil…

“Where just 1 share would be worth $119 million today.”

Huh? Any more clues?

Just this:

“There’s one publicly traded company…

“Trading for around just $10…

“That could change it all.”

And then a bit about what this company is doing right now:

“Few analysts cover the company, but the consensus was a 2-cent loss per share this quarter.

“The actual result? They shocked the market with a 27-cent PROFIT per share.

“Our intel is telling us that they are quietly expanding a portfolio of projects, including providing electricity for at least…

– Public school districts in California

– One of the largest upscale retailers… with 770 stores… in the world

– Ten campuses and up to 244,000 students in the University of California public college system.”

And then he drops discussion of this magical crystal and goes into the “completely new business model” that this company is testing:

“FREE solar installations.

“No up-front costs.

“So they could charge HALF and still be insanely profitable.

“And we’re not talking about this as a test… or some sort of testing phase.

“We’re talking about LIVE testing of this business model.

“They are generating revenue.

“So why would they give away solar panels?

“Simple: For long-term rental agreements at a price much lower than the local power company.

“It’s a win-win for both parties.”

That doesn’t sound all that revolutionary or new, we get people calling us every week offering “free solar installations!” — what they’re usually selling is a PPA, a power production agreement, whereby they install solar panels on your roof and sell you power at a (hopefully much lower than your utility) rate from those panels while they’re working, they collect the tax credits and manage any net metering benefit, and then the panels are turned over to your ownership after 20 years or some other period of time (there are also loans, leases, and lots of other variations on this — many solar installers, including all the big players like SolarCity, SunRun, Sungevity, etc. will put panels on your roof at no up front cost to you, but there is no such thing as “free”).

And then the ad uses a very familiar tactic — they use what sounds like a tiny number to make what is, in reality, a wildly optimistic prediction about a company’s growth potential:

“Let’s say this company captures just 1% of the entire electricity market of the United States…

“One country. One percent.

“Each year, according to the US Energy Information Administration, power companies in America rake in $31 billion in revenue.

“That’s $14 billion for residential electricity… and $17 billion for commercial.

“A 1% cut of that is $310 million in revenue per year.

“A 10% cut… $3.1 BILLION PER YEAR.

“That’s a 4,836% INCREASE in revenue for this tiny company.”

And apparently you’d only need to “paint” or “wrap” one out of every 25,000 buildings to get to that $310 million in revenue per year — gosh, doesn’t that sound easy?

The 20,280% increase they use in their headline? That would be taking 1% of the global market for electricity and hitting revenue of $13 billion.

It’s not easy, of course… nor is it really fathomable in the near term for any solar power utility (and that’s what this would be, a solar power plant owner — if they own the panels and sell the power they’re a solar utility company… whether those solar farms are rows of giant panels in the desert or networked rooftops across a state), but let’s see who it is that Stafford is hinting at.

“Remember, this is a small company.

“We’ve tracked one executive who has a $59,000 a year salary investing $73,000 in his company.

“Another executive takes home $61,500 a year… but he’s invested in this company four times over the past few months.

“We’ve tracked at least three more insiders like this going ‘all in’ with personal money.”

Thinkolator results, please!

We had to go back to those clues about insider buying to confirm, partly because the Perovskite claims were so over-the-top, but here we go: This is 8point3 Energy Partners (CAFD), a solar power yieldco.


Yes, that’s right — this is not a solar power innovator, or a company behind some hot new technology in commercializing Perovskite crystal solar panels, this is a limited partnership formed by SunPower and First Solar to own solar installations.

That term “yieldco” is going to make some people feel a little queasy, it was first popularized when David Einhorn and other hedge fund types were trying to get SunEdison to spin out their valuable, long-lived solar farm assets (and the power supply contracts based on those assets) into a separate company so that the long-term stability of those assets could be turned into dividends, for which investors are perennially willing to overpay. That led to even faster ramp-up of installation growth and even more debt at SunEdison, which led to bankruptcy for SUN and lots of sadness for unitholders of the yieldcos that SunEdison created, including Terraform Power (TERP) and Terraform Global (GLBL)… both of which have so far survived and are paying big dividends relative to current share prices, but are also down at least 50-70% from their spinoff prices (and down much more than that from their peaks). I don’t know what their litigation status is now, but the yieldcos have also been involved in the lawsuits over the SunEdison bankruptcy (both suing and being sued, I think).

So you can think of it as being kind of similar to the oil companies selling off their pipelines into master limited partnerships, or the telecom companies selling their towers into tower-owning REITs, I suppose — long-term revenue-generating assets get more visibility and more credit for being stable if they’re by themselves, especially if they generate cash flow that can be pushed right through to shareholders in the form of dividends… though in this case, they’re not even really selling off an operating or controlling stake, it appears that 8point3 consistently buys 49% of these projects so they really are just a junior financing partner.

It’s no coincidence that 8point3 chose the ticker symbol “CAFD” — that stands for “Cash Available For Distribution,” a non-GAAP accounting term that is one measure of the cash flow that they can generate for shareholders after subtracting required costs like any recurring capital expenses (maintenance of the solar arrays? Not sure what those costs might be)… it’s similar to the way REITs report their ability to pay dividends, since “income” isn’t as meaningful to dividend-focused shareholders as “cash in pocket.”

“Income” comes after you deduct important things like depreciation and amortization… REIT holders don’t generally care about depreciation because real estate is more likely to appreciate enough to absorb some capital investment needs in the future (renovating a building, for example), and they often don’t care much about amortization because they think they’ll be able to keep refinancing their debt. Perhaps solar farm owners should care a little more about depreciation, because solar panels will degrade and generate less power over time, and it could be that the land the panels are on isn’t owned by the solar utility, or that the land has no other value, but I can’t claim any great expertise on that. Solar installations are not generally expected to “poof!” stop working at year 18, but the “rule of thumb” I usually see is that panels will degrade by about 1% per year.

But anyway, yes, this is a simple yieldco — it may be one of the more appealing yieldcos out there in the solar space, I’ve seen several pundits opine to that effect, but it’s still a yieldco… they buy assets from their general partner parents, they own a share of those assets, but they don’t really have any employees or anything else, they’re just financing partners. They sell yieldco shares to the public with an implied dividend yield, and they borrow money based on the predictability of their long-term power purchase agreements with utilities, and that money is used to buy more power plants that are built by their general partners (First Solar and SunPower), and the general partner continues to operate and manage the solar plant and charge a management fee to the yieldco.

And I wouldn’t get too excited about that insider buying that was a big part of the teaser ad — there have been a couple real purchases over the past year, and the insider buying teaser hints in the ad do match CAFD’s records exactly, but the vast majority of that “insider buying” is actually the compensation plan for the Board of Directors: Directors of the yieldco who are not also employees of either SunPower or First Solar are each paid $75,000 a year for their service, and payment is made in the form of yieldco shares once per quarter, so that’s why you’ll see several “Acquisition (Non Open Market)” form 4 insider filings at the end of February, May, August, etc. Those are Directors getting paid. It looks like CAFD employees don’t really get paid, since they’re also employees of either First Solar or SunPower and draw their salary and benefits from one of those parents (and have that offset by the management fee paid by 8point3), but a couple of them have made small insider purchases over the past year. Those purchases may be much larger than the compensation they get from CAFD, as is noted in the ad, which makes them seem consequential, but they’re probably much lower than the compensation they earn from their “real” employer (SunPower or First Solar).

Which isn’t to say that CAFD is a terrible stock, or that it won’t grow as they buy more “drop down” stakes from their general partners — they are off to a decent start, they have ramped up to what looks like a reasonably sustainable level of cash flow from the megawatts that are already operating to pay out a growing distribution to unitholders, and they seem to have a pretty decent pipeline of assets that they can keep buying into.

Last year in their initial presentations (now up on their site as the “Company Overview”[4]) they laid out a minimum quarterly distribution that they intend to hit, and without which there will be no room for growing to hit the incentive distributions that would be due to the general partners at higher growth levels, and they have already grown the distribution pretty significantly so the distribution is already bout 15% higher than the minimum — they have forecast that this growth will continue in the fourth quarter, when they expect the distribution to be 24.9 cents per share, so that would be a 6.6% forward yield if we assume that the distribution does not continue to grow.

They also did an equity rase just last month to help finance more drop-down acquisitions, so it seems reasonable to expect that they will be able to grow the dividend each year — I don’t know if the dividend will always grow by 15% a year, which is about the rate they’re hitting now, but there should be enough pipeline to let it grow… and the sponsors are incentivized to keep making solid deals with CAFD, since they get the general partners incentive distributions if and when the growth hits that level.

This is a financing company, so it has a fair amount of debt and will depend on pretty constant access to both equity markets (to sell more shares) and a reasonable credit line (to borrow more money and get a little leverage) in order to keep growing — they can’t grow the distributions meaningfully unless they keep increasing the gigawatts they “own” in these solar installations being built by their partners, and they can’t buy those assets without a source of capital. Like most REITs, they can only grow their cash flow in a meaningful way by getting more money to make capital investments, since they distribute essentially all of their income to shareholders each quarter (they can’t reinvest their cash flow, in other words). So the biggest risk I see, other than some abrupt end to solar tax subsidies or bankruptcy by First Solar or SunPower (which seems unlikely currently), is that if the market crashes they might lose that access to debt and equity financing and might not be able to grow their revenue or their distributions.

And the Perovskite connection? There isn’t one, as far as I can tell, so presumably that’s just a hyperbolic pipe dream about “solar gets much better with Perovskite panels, people love it even more, solar farm companies expand and make even more money.” I wouldn’t spend any more time pondering that nebulous connection.

SunPower is the leader in high-efficiency silicon photovoltaics, First Solar is the leader in thin film Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) photovoltaics. Neither is a meaningful investor in Perovskite research to my knowledge, though it’s certainly possible… and it will be quite a while before the Perovskite solar cells make it into the mainstream and reach a level of marketplace acceptance that lets them get built into large solar farms that are expected to have 20-30 year operating lives (or longer). 8point3 is not the owner of any technology as far as I can tell, and is not an innovator or game-changer in the solar space, it’s just a yieldco junior partner that owns junior shares in a growing portfolio of solar power plants.

So… go forth and researchify if you like, but remember to compare 8point3 not to some breakthrough 20,000% high-tech gainer that you might imagine, but to actual renewable energy yieldcos like Transalta Renewables (RNW.TO), Atlantica Yield (ABY), NextEra Energy Partners (NEP), Hannon Armstrong (HASI), Terraform Power (TERP), Terraform Global (GLBL). From what I can see CAFD is seen as on the riskier end of that group, but that’s just based on the fact that it yields 6.5% instead of the 4.5% yield that NextEra Energy Partners currently shows… each of them owns different things, with different balance sheets, different partners and different long-term contracts or potential.

And that’s about all I’ve got for you today… if CAFD can continue to increase the distribution each year at about the same pace as they’re doing now (which implies that they can get funding at a decent price to buy pretty much all the projects that they have “right of first offer” on from their partners), and if interest rates don’t rise too dramatically from here, then the shares should have the potential to grow at perhaps a slightly faster rate than the dividend increase rate (since age would connote stability, and if investors in the future grow more confident in the dividend/distribution growth they’ll probably be willing to accept a lower yield). Expecting anything greater than that, which would still be a nice ceiling of 15-20% growth, is pretty crazy… and there are plenty of reasons, including rising interest rates or regulatory changes or the relatively untested nature of this business model in the stock market, to keep your expectations even a bit more in check than that.

P.S. Back to February now…

I did just check, and CAFD’s total return of negative 7.57% since this teaser stock was first ID’d back on October 24 is not the worst in its peer group — the worst is the 13% loss posted by Hannon Armstrong and Terraform Power… but it’s also far from the best, NEP, GLBL and ABY have all had decent mid-teens returns since then, and TransAlta Renewables has broken even… here’s the chart, just FYI:

  1. according to this article: https://www.technologyreview.com/s/601835/a-new-way-of-looking-at-solar-cells/
  2. in Scientific American here: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/perovskite-solar-cells-supercharge-electricity-production/
  3. like Lux Research: http://www.pv-tech.org/news/lux-research-bullish-on-perovskite-commercialization-timelines
  4. up on their site as the “Company Overview”: http://phx.corporate-ir.net/External.File?item=UGFyZW50SUQ9NTg2OTQ4fENoaWxkSUQ9Mjk0OTA4fFR5cGU9MQ==&t=120Overview%20FINAL%20v3.pdf
  5. [Image]: http://www.stockgumshoe.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/CAFDetalOct2016.jpg

Source URL: https://www.stockgumshoe.com/reviews/oilprice-com/oilprice-say-this-10-stock-will-unleash-the-greatest-leap-in-the-history-of-energy/

  1. 15 |
    Oct 24 2016, 05:38:48 pm

    Hi Travis,

    These perovskite christals are really an intresting development. This company http://www.deysol.com continue with orginal german concept with these
    christals. I would prefer investing in deysol as they are much more promising
    in this area. Great analyse you wrote again. rgds Pieetr

  2. Dave S.
    Oct 24 2016, 06:00:20 pm

    Thanks Travis. Can you be right about this one?! If you are, then it was an unusually deceptive spiel. Had I spent the 49 bucks and only then found out that there was no “‘super crystal’ company at the center of it all” I’d have immediately asked for a refund.

    • 5512 |
      Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
      Oct 24 2016, 06:47:40 pm

      It’s not possible for it to be another company other than 8point3, the match to all the insider trades is too specific and perfect … maybe he’s also suggesting something else, or maybe the Petroski bit is just to lure the general “solar is getting bigger!” Idea (that would be my guess).

  3. dave
    Oct 24 2016, 08:10:56 pm

    Not by chance Solar City will receive and distribute government incentives to install panel production contracts along with lay outs. This is been works since the ice age exposed dirt. Al Gore is genius.

  4. ZZMike
    Oct 24 2016, 08:43:00 pm

    There’s one thing that raises a big red flag in those spiels: one-sentence paragraphs. And I will not watch a video of someone reading a script.

  5. Edward
    Oct 25 2016, 12:20:56 am

    Good thing we have Travis because more and more of these promotions are embellished almost to the point of fraud, well maybe little white lies. Thank you for the fine research.

  6. Hal Chamberlin
    Oct 25 2016, 04:24:32 am

    One rhetorical device almost always seen in teases like this is very unrealistically precise predictions of gains. For example ” 20,280% richer”. Why not just “20,000% richer”? Nothing in life (or the stock market) is predictable to 4 decimal places!

    Fortunately such claims are usually very near the beginning of the pitch, often even in the headline, making them easy to spot (and ignore).

    • Dave S.
      Oct 25 2016, 04:04:38 pm

      Perhaps without the illusion of precision, “20,000%” would more clearly be seen for the absurd exaggeration this it is.The illusion lends (false) credence to the magnitude of the claims and to the publisher’s ability to predict them. Weiss, Inc. nearly always uses this idiotic ploy, probably because it works. Says as much about the consumers of the absurd hype as it does about the honesty of the publishers. But hey, the homeopathy industry sells billions of dollars/yr of utterly worthless non-remedies to Americans. As W. C. said, “Never give a sucker an even break.”

  7. 580 |
    Oct 25 2016, 05:16:16 am

    Thanks Travis – paying to be an irregular has saved me a lot of money – and a lot of distraction! I really treasure your insights!

  8. Mary Recupero
    Oct 25 2016, 01:07:27 pm

    This morning on CNBC there was discussion on energy from the sun on a new device other than solar panels that was not placed on the roof but on the side of the house. All agreed that this new system was far superior. Did anyone else see that? I missed the name of it.

    • 5512 |
      Travis Johnson, Stock Gumshoe
      Oct 25 2016, 01:32:05 pm

      I didn’t see it, but often when folks start touting solar collection on walls and windows they’re talking up SolarWindow (WNDW), which is a company that’s been trying for several years to commercialize a solar “film” that could be applied to skyscraper windows to collect electricity.

      They’ve been teased and touted by a few newsletters over the years as well, though it strikes me as a technology that is very pre-commercial since their press photos indicate that they still seem to be confined to “films” that are a few inches on each side — and often these microcap public companies that tout breakthrough developments are not actually doing anything more worthwhile or advanced than the hidden academic or large-company labs who are also working on next-generation projects… it’s just that the tiny companies have to exaggerate their progress to get attention (and funding), while the bigger players might prefer to keep their advances private (and the academics just talk to each other).

      I did notice that Bloom Energy was featured on CNBC earlier today, they’re in a partnership with Home Depot and Southern Co, apparently, but that’s a fuel cell company that sells big power-generating boxes.

      • Carbon Bigfoot
        Oct 26 2016, 09:12:23 am

        Travis- Bloom sells modular solid oxide fuel cells which is quietly taking over the co-generation market. This process uses natgas or propane as fuel and in an non-combustible electrochemical process generates on-site electricity– competitively. In addition the residual heat generated is used for heating and/or domestic water heating.
        Private held company that sells a package where they maintain and monitor the system. Obviously they don’t trust customers with the technology and as a result their growth is limited to Fortune 500 companies that buy into the program.
        Still the technology is superior and worthy of following.

      • 6213 |
        Oct 30 2016, 03:21:29 am

        Travis I agree and add that any solar collector on a vertical surface is a scam,,, a shovel with a rope handle,,, it may look good until you try to put it to use and find it is useless. Solar cells are extremely inefficient and especially so unless they directly are focussed on the sun. Ideally they should move like a sunflower to do that. Leaves are still the best solar collectors by far. A major problem with all solar collection is that the area of earth where best collection is possible is where the population is very small… on the equator..

      • 794 |
        David B.
        Feb 13 2017, 05:04:53 pm

        Yes, $WNDW is an interesting “story stock” as the concept sounds so simple that the common Joe and Jane get intrigued quickly. The share price has also be far less volatile than the other tiny solar tech company Natcore ($NTCXF) which in my opinion has better science behind it, but like WNDW has had a failure to launch in terms of deals and revenue despite empty promises. What WNDW has going for it is one deep pocket investor who gives them a lot of stability. Natcore shares were decimated over the past couple years, but WNDW shares have done fairly well.

    • 6213 |
      Oct 25 2016, 07:47:27 pm

      The problem with what would be vertical solar collectors is that they receive far less energy density on the surface as the light rays are oblique to that surface. Panels/collectors are aimed toward the Sun to maximize the energy available. At the 45th parallel that is circa 42 degrees facing South.
      On the equator you would have them flat or facing straight up and that would be the most efficient place to harvest solar energy. A problem arises though in that world population is clustered near 45 degrees North and South as that is where most food is produced.
      Windows are designed to admit illumination to a building interior and the more light that is harvested by those collectors the dimmer/darker the building interior would be. If you used electric lighting then you would be defeating the purpose of the collectors.

  9. coolhandluke
    Oct 25 2016, 05:52:28 pm

    I wanted to personally thank Travis for his excellent research on this stock that had me baffled, and he got thru all the “chaff” of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and MIT Technology, to finally figure out that this was just a yieldco stock! As Travis pointed out this is one of the more riskier types of yildco’s, and listed the more stable ones, that for me are worth considering. Travis – You are the absolute best and most trusted by me, and many others! – Best Regards – CH

  10. Jan
    Oct 29 2016, 10:05:29 am

    These yield Co companies will slow or stop their growth as interest rates rise. If return on investment is 10% but borrowed money is 2% there is a nice spread. As borrowing costs increase the spread income disapears.

  11. noglossplz
    Oct 30 2016, 06:01:03 am

    I am looking forward for the day when we have Travis of this world to give us (consumer/customer) their intelligent take on the gloss and spin that are constantly generated by the likes of Big Pharma, Superannuation conglomerate, Insurance companies and their kind. Their fraudulent claims and white lies would be seen for what they are given a “Travis-once-over” analysis !

  12. Rich Abel
    Nov 15 2016, 11:04:48 am

    Presently the solar ETF is trying to find a bottom. there have been many solar deals in the last few years to win new customers. what are the “real” answers to solar in the long run???

  13. Ken Howard
    Feb 4 2017, 05:40:20 pm

    Here are two Solar Coating Companies that are Revolutionizing the world. It’s not “All About Efficiency” more so than COST and ROI and both of these Companies get that! They are commercializing Solar power technology that is GAME CHANGE due to it’s LOW COST and FAST ROI. With Wall Street and Consumers, it’s ALL ABOUT the COST and ROI. Both of these companies DELIVER both, LOW COST and FAST ROI.


  14. Dave
    Feb 13 2017, 04:31:01 pm

    I keep getting Teasers about a fifteen cent solar stock that is going to take over the world. Can’t figure who the are but the guy keeps saying it is Nano technology and calls it nanodots.

    • Walter
      Feb 14 2017, 10:56:17 pm

      JI got the same teaser and tried to track it down, but I couldn’t find any evidence that perovskites can attain a 66% efficiency. Maybe there is a company that has succeeded in combining perovskites and graphene. The only claim of a 60%+ efficiency I’ve come across is an apparatus invented by nuclear engineer Lonnie Johnson, but it works on a completely different concept.

  15. thinairmony
    Feb 13 2017, 05:45:56 pm

    I would say that a new solar technology will come out as with everything ever invented. History has shown this to be the case in everything ever developed. Just the solar panel system now can be improved simply by having solar panels move with the most exposure to maximise the amount of sun rays the panels can absorb as the sun moves east to west and that’s just off the cuff. I have heard of Dye Sensitized cells. Don’t actually know how it works, but read off the wire that there is such a thing. And am sure many more improvements will come along. Look at NASCAR racing and how it has evolved since restrictor plates where put on them to slow them down on super speedways, and safety. As the old saying goes where there is a will there’s a way.

  16. Carbon Bigfoot
    Feb 13 2017, 07:43:17 pm

    As Colonel Harry Potter use to say…”Horse Hockey”. Barring a change in Physics and Thermodynamics, Solar Panels will NEVER replace carbon fuels, nuclear or hydro-electric power. Now if you can live without air conditioning, power for your electric vehicle, the freezer in your basement, or the extra fridge for your beer/soda and live in an area the sun shines consistently– this might work. Musk’s batteries won’t work without charging. Where I live in SE PA we only receive on average 190 days of usable sunlight. We also have to contend with snow and I ice—you want to climb up on your roof to clean off the panels…. good luck with that. If you live in an area off the grid you deserve this type of system–good luck with service. As for me, I am waiting for a residential fuel cell as is currently available for commercial installations by Bloom Energy, but it is powered by NG or propane. Barring that, I’m waiting for my self-contained miniature Thorium nuclear reactor. Our utility just put a new sub-station a quarter mile away. I pay a total of $.08/kwh. And I have a 208/120 Volt 3-phase emergency generator for back-up as I live in the country and I love the power my utility provides. ENERGY DENSITY FOLKS. BIPV ???

  17. Benjamin
    Feb 14 2017, 05:50:44 am

    I don’t get it. Yieldco’s don’t do research, so CAFD is not the way to go if you think perovskite crystals are the next big thing in solar. BTW, if they do get 30% efficiency from an inexpensive panel, that would be a huge deal, but I doubt CAFD stands to profit much. The real problem with CAFD is its debt level. It’s debt exceeds its market cap, which is not a good thing for a yieldco.

    For me, GLBL was probably my best stock in 2016, as I entered around $2.50, and it has nearly doubled. GLBL’s financials are MUCH better than CAFD’s, even at current market prices.

  18. SageNot
    Feb 14 2017, 10:33:31 am

    It yields 7.25% at a price of $13.+, & it’s never been under $12. in the last year???
    What happened to the $10. stock, have I read this wrong Travis.

  19. 26 |
    Feb 23 2017, 04:26:03 pm

    CAFD is a core holding for me. I rec’d it to my Twitter followers as a free stock pick f the month. This “Yield Co” has very good financials and is undervalued due to solar correction and I think aftermath of SunEdison Yield Co implosions. I put current fair value between 20-25. Growth should accelerate soon enough, though Trump might be minor speed bump. Basically a solar utility w/o all the utility responsibilities. Great way to pay cash flow into portfolio for buying other holdings, sort of like Berkshire does w/ companies that throw off cash to Berkshire. From these prices I expect solid low double digit total return next decade w/ good margin of safety.

  20. 24 |
    Mar 10 2017, 10:45:01 am

    Solar is not “there” yet and I doubt in the near future that these companies will be nothing but pits to invest oin

  21. Myron Martin
    Myron Martin
    May 5 2017, 03:37:39 pm

    Since I don’t own a home my interest in solar has been muted, but the potential of a total grid failure due to am EMP attack certainly raises concerns, it could be the easiest way for terrorists to conquer advanced economies on the cheap, no need for expensive war making armies, naval fleets or air forces, destroying the electrical grid could certainly cripple any advanced economy.

    With that background, my interest was rekindled when my youngest daughter announced that they had contracted to have solar panels on their roof at a cost of $27,000. Canadian and then a week later I got a new promo from Oil Price .com which is an English Co. and I rembered Travis having written about a “Super Crtysta, replacement for inefficient silicon solar cells, so I googled “SUPER CRYSTAL SOLAR CELLS” and I did not find anything about Perovskite cells, and while I am not prepared to say that Travis is wrong in his identification, I do suggest that maybe this story should get a second more detailed look.

    I would suggest that it should not be overlooked that this is a British based newsletter and while they do mention research at MIT and specifically a Eugene Fitzgerald who launched 2 companies, Paradigm Resources LLC and 4Power LLC both obviously English companies I have not yet researched, but.they do not mention germanium as the super crystal, but rather gallium Alseride in what they call a stacked or double layer cell that captures different light spectrum’s and doubles efficiency to 40% for these new cells.

    I do not claim to have the same expertise as Travis in deciphering teasers, but I do think this one needs more detailed work.

  22. cymric
    May 11 2017, 04:12:31 am

    at: http://www.iflscience.com/physics/double-decker-solar-cells-capture-more-sunlight-0/

    Swiss engineers have demonstrated tandem solar cells layered so they can catch more of the solar spectrum, providing a route to cheaper and more efficient solar power. The cells are not yet ready for commercial applications, but could mark a major step forwards for renewable energy.

    Traditional solar cells present engineers with a fundamental problem. The colors in sunlight are photons of different energies, but individual cells can only extract the same amount of energy from each photon, leaving designers with a choice. One path involves collecting high-energy photons and missing out on the majority of the Sun’s photons whose energy is too low. The alternative is to harvest a larger portion of the spectrum, but only get a small amount of energy from each photon, so that much of the potential of higher energy photons is wasted.

    This problem can be resolved by placing different types of cells on top of each other, with the top layer catching high-energy photons while letting those of lower energy through to be captured by another cell below. Multi-junction cells that stack four layers upon each other have achieved 46 percent efficiency, but at prices not viable for most circumstances. An alternative path is to split sunlight with a prism so that each cell gets the light for which it is most suited.

    Professor Ayodhya Tiwari is co-leader of a team at Empa-Swiss Federal Laboratories who have announced in Nature Communications a proof of concept for a way to make the top cell cheaply enough for widespread use, while still letting most of the unused light through.

    Tiwari’s version uses the new wonder material perovskite for the top cell, with copper indium gallium diselenide below. Perovskite is a naturally occurring mineral that can also be manufactured for energy-collecting purposes. Although still not as efficient as the best solar cells, progress in perovskite material has happened far more rapidly than any other solar material ever tried.

    While most solar cells, perovskites included, require high-temperature manufacturing, greatly adding to the cost, Tiwari created the top layer at 50°C (122°F), opening up the possibility of very cheap mass production.

    The test cells used perovskite crystals to collect 14.2 percent of the energy in sunlight, while letting 72 percent through. The cell below captured another 6.3 percent. The total efficiency of 20.5 percent is similar to the best commercial cells and nothing exceptional by laboratory standards. However, Tiwari claimed in a statement that 30 percent efficiency is in sight for the cells made this way. “What we have achieved now is just the beginning,” he said. “We will have to overcome many obstacles before reaching this ambitious goal.”

    Higher efficiency, even at the same price per watt, would make solar energy more attractive where space is limited (such as the roofs of electric cars) and reduces the costs of installation and associated infrastructure.

    Perovskite cells currently lack the durability of silicon crystals though, particularly when exposed to water, and this remains the biggest obstacle to their widespread use.

  23. Rick
    Jun 9 2017, 12:23:50 pm

    I was interested until the announcer started saying “my associates convinced me to offer this for a lower price” blah blah blah. The “act now” pressure is another red flag for a scam. I’ll stick to Bitcoin and Ethereum as investments, and until someone solves the Perovskite crystal degradation problem.

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