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Solar ETFs on the Rise

Solar stocks gained today, with solar ETFs showing the industry-wide pop. Guggenheim Solar ($TAN) jumped over 4 percent, Market Vectors Solar Energy ($KWT) was up over 6.5 percent, the iShares

Solar stocks gained today, with solar ETFs showing the industry-wide pop. Guggenheim Solar ($TAN) jumped over 4 percent, Market Vectors Solar Energy ($KWT) was up over 6.5 percent, the iShares S&P Global Clean Energy Index Fund ($ICLN) gained over 2.5 percent, and the PowerShares WilderHill Clean Energy ($PBW) moved up almost 2 percent. Solar stocks are on the rise this year after a rough 2012, with Guggenheim Solar more than doubling this year.

Chinese panel maker stocks up

The day’s biggest movers for the day were Chinese solar panel manufacturers. Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd. (YGE) jumped over 6.75 percent, Trina Solar Limited (TSL) was up almost 6.5 percent, JinkoSolar Holding Co., Ltd. (JKS) leapt over 9.5 percent, and ReneSola Ltd. ($SOL) was up over 4.5 percent.

New installations to outpace wind in 2013 for first time

These gains come amid news that installation of new global solar power will exceed wind power in capacity this year for the first time according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF). Solar plants should add 36.7 gigawatts of capacity in 2013, beating out the projected 35.5 gigawatts from wind. That’s a 20 percent increase in solar capacity despite slowing growth in European markets.

Meanwhile, new wind power capacity declines by 25 percent, year over year. Justin Wu, head of wind analysis for BNEF, believes that wind power installations falling to their lowest level since 2008 because of a lack of clarity from policies in the United States and China, the two country that account for 60 percent of the global wind market.

Gains for solar, meanwhile, are most likely connected to lower solar panel costs as well as government policies supporting development of higher capacity. “The dramatic cost reductions in photovoltaics, combined with new incentive regimes in Japan and China, are making possible further, strong growth in volumes,” said BNEF’s head of solar analysis Jenny Chase.

New proposal could end US-China trade war

Also in solar news was a promising new proposal yesterday from the US Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) that could mark the end of the trade war between China and the United States over the price of solar panels. The United States has placed anti-dumping tariffs on Chinese solar panels to offset the government support being given to Chinese panel manufacturers, and the Chinese government responded with its own tariffs on American polysilicon.

The plan would call for Chinese manufacturers to contribute to a fund that would compensate American companies for business lost to cheap Chinese solar panels, offer protective mechanisms against flooding the American marketplace, and take money currently spent on third-country cell manufacture by Chinese companies and use it to fund a Solar Development Institute that would develop the market for solar panels in the United States.

“This proposed settlement is a win all the way around,” said SEIA President and CEO Rhone Resch. “It would actually lower costs to Chinese manufacturers for the export of solar cells and modules to the United States, and it would improve U.S. manufacturers’ ability to compete fairly on an even playing field. It would also eliminate current and future litigation risks and costs for both Chinese and American companies. But just as importantly, SEIA’s proposed settlement would benefit American consumers, as well as all consumers of solar energy, by holding down costs.”

As we say goodbye to 2023, there's a compelling argument to keep your portfolio anchored in growth stocks next year.