Japanese Solar Panel companies Sharp, Kyocera, Panasonic-Sanyo, Mitsubishi are the top solar panel producers in the world. Solar Energy in Japan has a long future dating back to 1994 when the government introduced capital subsidies to boost solar energy installations on rooftops. Till 2004, Japan was the largest solar market in the world after which [...]

This may be a dramatic statement to make about the world’s most valued solar company but there are several reasons which I will explain below to illustrate this point. Note the solar industry is in a league of its own in the astonishing drop it solar panel prices (80% price drop over the last 3-4 years) and the rapid increase in demand (60% CAGR over the last 10 years).So the comparison and analysis by your usual stock hacks on financial portals like Motley and Seeking Alpha is way off the mark. First Solar had the worst 2 quarters in its history in 2011 as it went from a record breaking profit company into the red. Many issues which were hidden by its past success came out in the open and some of them are life threatening. Here are these problems

The falling prices of solar panels has made almost impossible thought of solar electricity prices possible today. In a state auction of solar projects ,a small company Alex Green Energy bid only 14c/ KwH to win the auction. The price is lower than that seen in the Indian federal subsidy auction JNNSM. Note Rs 7/ Kwh that was bid is close to the Rs 6-7/ Kwh retail electricity prices in most cities in India.Note in the first phase of auction the lowest price was more than 50% higher at Rs 10/ kwh

India’s Solar PowerIndustry is starting to see some M&A with both domestic and foreign companies buying smaller firms. While the biggest M&A story is that of Tata Power acquiring the stake in Tata BP Solar, other firms without any grounding in the energy industry are too getting in. Now a Coal Equipment and EPC company Tecpro is getting into the solar energy business by acquiring a small solar lighting and heating company Eversun.Tecpro Systemsis primarily focused on the Power Sector Space.It is a leader in the ash handling and material handling systems and is currently diversifying into becoming a turnkey provider in this segment.Like other infrastructure players it has seen amazing growth in the last 3 years at around 70%+.The growth has been fantastic both on the topline and the bottomline.The 2300 crore Order book provides some comfort over the next year’s revenues or so.The Power Sector in India particularly the Thermal Power Plants are expected to see an explosive growth period.Steel and Cement sectors are also growing strongly.With Tecpro Systems focusing on these 3 segments,it should be able to maintain a good growth trajectory in the future years as well

The Indian Solar Power Industry is starting to see some Solar M&A activity pick up as the sector starts maturing. The Indian Solar Energy Industry starting picking up pace in 2009 with the advent of the first phase of the solar federal subsidy which envisaged putting up 20 GW by 2022 (a figure which I think is too low btw) . A large number of companies entered the fray many of which were small . These companies hoped to profit from selling the licenses rather than being serious players. Many of these companies could not do so as the reverse auction process was quite competitive. A large number of companies also got started to take advantage of individual state subsidies from governments in Gujarat.

While US Solar Installers are making Hay while the Chinese Solar Panel Companies flood the world with super cheap solar modules,Western solar manufacturers are being killed at an astounding rate.The second biggest thin film solar panel company in the US United Solar Ovonic has gone belly up.The company was fighting a losing batter as the more efficient crystalline solar panel prices went below its production cost.The company had tried to fight in a the niche of BIPV solar panel market but could not survice. After First Solar,Energy Conversion Devices seemed the mostly likely viable company in Thin Film Technology.After a few quarters of profits in 2008,the company went into the red as its flexible a-Si modules failed to cut costs as fast as others.It has been shutting factories in the US and shifting to low cost locations.