Bad Times – Solar Equipment Industry To say that Solar Equipment Suppliers to solar panel makers like Trina, Yingli are going through bad times is an understatement. Like the other players in the solar supply chain, major solar capital equipment companies like Applied Materials, GT Advanced Technoloiges, Meyer Burger have seen their revenues and stock [...]
Meyer Burger (MBTN.S) the 6th largest supplier of solar equipment in the world jumped up 2 places by acquiring the 7th largest global solar equipment manufacturer Roth & Rau of Germany for a little over $500 million.The combined company will have revenues of over $900 million overtaking another Germany company Centrotherm with $825 million in revs.Note Applied Materials continues to be the market leader in the solar equipment market with $1.5 billion in solar equipment revenues just like it is the leader in the semiconductor equipment market.Note while European solar module producers have seen their marketshare and revenues crumbling in the face of the Chinese onslaught , there domination of the solar equipment continues. European Solar Companies had found things going tough in 2009 as the solar market changed radically with the Lehman crisis.As the prices of the raw material Polysilicon crashed and Chinese competition increased,these companies started bleeding red ink in a prodigious manner.The high cost structure of these companies with factories in Europe stood naked against the competition.With high debt loads,there was a high chance that these companies would go bankrupt.Most of them like Q-Cells,REC started to move manufacturing to Asia while Solarworld moved to Europe.
There are only 2 Solar Energy ETFs in the Market right now – TAN and KWT.Note buying solar ETF provides a less risky way of investing in solar energy as some stocks can dramatically underperform in this fast growing industry.However Solar ETFs will on the other hand perform much worse than the best performing stocks in the solar universe.This is because their holdings are also concentrated on some of the lesser quality companies.KWT and TAN are better investments for the less informed and less sophisticated investors.Amongst the 2 ETFs,KWT is the better option than TAN for a number of reasons which are described below.