Another Fan of SunPower?

Just a quick note here for you, no complicated teaser to suss out.

I received a brief email from Steve Sjuggerud, one of those Daily Wealth missives, and in it he teased a recent recommendation as follows:

“For my paid subscribers, I uncovered an extraordinary opportunity – the “Hillary Trade.” I found a tech stock that happens to own half of a solar power company… and its stake in the solar company is worth more than the tech company’s entire stock market value!

“Out of respect to my paying subscribers, I can’t share that opportunity here. But there are other ways to make this bet… and spread your risk… For example, you could own one of a handful of alternative energy exchange traded funds (ETFs), like the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy Portfolio (PBW).”

Now, I obviously can’t be certain because that’s a pretty limited clue, specifics-wise … but I think I can be almost certain that this is teasing …

Cypress Semiconductor (CY)

Avid readers will remember that we looked at this one a little while back, as part of a writeup of a Navellier solar teaser … Cypress does own a bit more than half of SunPower, which technically isn’t quite worth more than CY’s market cap, but it is getting close, and you could make the argument that half of SunPower is worth more than $4 billion if you argue that SPWR is currently undervalued, as some folks do. Nothing of substance has changed at either company since the comments in this space a couple weeks ago.

I don’t know whether or not they’re right, but I do appreciate that SunPower is the big American company in this business, with the most efficient traditional solar panels and a good distribution network, and if Sjuggerud’s “presidential trade” is right and we’re going to see even more investment in solar energy under the next administration, this would be considered one of the leading companies to benefit — along, of course, with the other big ones like First Solar and Suntech power, and probably many of the tiny ones, too.

And just as an aside, my next door neighbor here in Washington, DC just had solar panels put on his roof, which he calculates will take about 20 years to pay for themselves even with the (fairly modest) federal tax credit — the city apparently doesn’t throw in more credits like California does. But who knows, if natural gas goes much higher and skyrockets electric rates, or he gets to sell his carbon credits someday, he might get to cut that number down significantly. And there’s the psychological benefit, too, even if you don’t consider the environmental benefits — he does seem to get a bit giddy when he stands out by the electric meter on a sunny day, watching the numbers roll backward.

The panels were put in by an authorized SunPower provider, by the way, who bragged about that connection with big signs on his truck.

And no, sadly, the installer was not Akeena Solar.


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Dividends4Life
Guest
May 6, 2008 6:33 pm

I think Solar, like geothermal, will only be a piece of the puzzle. It is disappointing to see how little progress has been made over the last 3 decades.

Best Wishes,
D4L

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Michael Alexander
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Michael Alexander
May 7, 2008 9:49 am

D4L, you seem to be naive on the reality of the free market. The progress over the last 3 decades has been due to consumer demand. It’s cheaper to burn gas in our cars, oil and natural gas in our homes and businesses and who cares where the electricity comes from, right. It’s all about choices and sometimes you have to pay more to do the right thing.

I have been personally involved (without profit) with Sustainable Business Practices for well over a decade.

OBTW: I did buy SunPower and Suntech well over a year ago (and happy for it!!)

Best regards

Michael

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vaag
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vaag
May 7, 2008 10:04 am

The problem I see with traditional solar panels is that as soon as Nanosolar starts mass producing their panel all others become obsolete.

Investorgirl
Guest
Investorgirl
May 7, 2008 10:17 am

WRONG WRONG WRONG! THE REASON WE HAVEN’T SEEN EXPLOSIVE PROGRESS IS BECAUSE THE ELECTRIC COMPANIES HAVE BOUGHT UP ALL THE TECHNOLOGY, AND SMALL COMPANIES, AND KEPT THE PROGRESS DOWN TO SUIT THEM SELVES, IE: TUCSON ELECTRIC POWER BUILT SOLAR UNITS IN AZ. I AM UNDER THE IMPRESSION THAT THIS HAS BECOME A CONFLICT OF INTEREST, AND THE GOVT SHOULD STEP IN AND MAKE THEM SELL THE SOLAR PART AND JUST LIKE THE BELLS PHONE COMPANY WE NEED TO RPESS THE GOVT TO MOVE FASTER THEN THEY DID BACK THEN. THIS COULD BE CONSIDERED A MONOPOLY AS THE ELECTRIC COMPANIES HOLD OUR FUTURE PROGRESS IN THEIR COMPANIES, DICTATING WHAT CAN AND CAN’T BE DONE. WE THE PEOPLE NEED TO WRITE, CALL AND HEDGE OUR VIEWS BEFORE CONGRESS SO WE CAN BENEFIT IN OUR LIFETIMES. HOPE THIS HELPS.

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farley 5
farley 5
May 7, 2008 10:37 am

Wow! I haven’t heard anyone yell that loud on this site. Investorgirl is right. It is all a conspiracy. Just like the car companies bought the 100 MPG carburetor. And the CIA shot JFK.

In reality, solar is inefficient. While nano tech folks claim to have the Holy Grail, I don’t see GE rushing in and doing a joint venture. There really are smart folks in the world. If there is a promising technology out there someone will exploit it.

Geothermal has huge problems with caustic steam degrading the pipes, pumps, turbines, etc. Most of the fields are a thousand miles away from demand with no transmission towers anywhere near. Huge capital costs.

Wind Power – Sounds great. However, the wind only blows in the daytime and then about 30% of the time. The towers are maintenance intensive and not cost effective.

Yes, it is easy to wish we had a solution for our energy problems but it ain’t here yet.

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SageNot
Member
SageNot
May 7, 2008 11:18 am

GreenChip Stocks also recos SunOpta (STKL) which isn’t a biggie yet! CY costs you less to gain an intro into SPWR : http://finance.yahoo.com/q/ta?s=CY&t=1y&l=on&z=m&q=l&p=&a=&c=SPWR

I’m a nuclear energy guy from years ago. If France can gain 80% of their energy needs from nuclear, what in God’s name is wrong with the USA I ask you?

Two nuclear accidents in over 30years (Russia’a accident was far worse than 3 mile Isle) shouldn’t keep us from the obvious choice & look at how CLEAN it burns.

TR99
Guest
TR99
May 7, 2008 11:28 am

Yes Farley5, every technology has HUGE problems at the beginning, until people like yourselves get up off your collective butts and demand action! Forget about venture capital, they are only interested in the fast buck, only Gov’t and your tax dollars can tackle the long term research needed to bring permanent solutions into society. As for the problem of holding patents and not developing them, the solution is stupidly simple, develop the patent in 5 yrs. or lose it.

31 October
Guest
31 October
May 7, 2008 11:53 am

Regarding “only Gov’t and your tax dollars can tackle the long term research needed to bring permanent solutions into society.”

WHAT?

When government walks in the front door, innovation walks out the back. ’91-92, I worked for gov’t grants – I saw a lot of waste and fraud. 93-99, I worked in local govt (pretty efficient.) ’99-2006, I was a gov. accountant. I have never seen such wasteful incompetence. Do NOT EVER let those fat bastards in Congress have your money or make ANY policy. Every budget we submitted was wacked to hell so that they could pay off their buddies. They divert money all over the place.

I don’t care how alternative energies are advenced, as long as it is not done with tax dollars. If Congress and government are involved, alternative energy will fail.

Just let oil & gas go to $7 like we paid in Germany, and it will happen naturally, without any diverted funds, tax increases, conflicts of interest, or contributions from offshore supporters.

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farley 5
farley 5
May 7, 2008 12:47 pm

31 October is dead on. The government is the last entity that should attempt anything that