Solar Stocks Plunge for Second Straight Day

Joel Anderson  |

Shares in solar companies fell for the second straight day, with the most likely culprit being wary investors shifting to a risk-off environment. Stocks tumbled again Wednesday, and the solar industry appeared to be among those segments deemed too volatile to risk while the markets watch the stalemate in Washington.

The Guggenheim Solar Trust ($TAN) fell almost 3.5 percent, putting it off almost 5.5 percent over the last two days, and the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF ($KWT) dropped almost 2.25 percent for a two-day loss of just over 5 percent.

Yingli Green Energy (YGE) in the News

Chinese panel-maker Yingli Green Energy (YGE) was in the news Wednesday as its stock followed the industry down with losses of over 4.5 percent. The company responded to an antitrust filing by Energy Conversion Devices in filed on October 4 in Eastern Michigan. The suit, which includes Sunech Power Holdings (STP) and Trina Solar Limited (TSL) , alleges unfair trade practices stemming from a conspiracy by the three companies to export 95 percent of the production to dump onto the American market and drive down panel prices.

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"We are still reviewing the filing, but at first glance these are baseless claims that seem similar to the Solyndra antitrust case. In both instances, the companies are bankrupt and appear to be blaming others for their own failed thin-film technology and flawed business models. We will continue to aggressively defend ourselves and expect that Yingli will prevail in both cases," said Managing Director for Yingli Green Energy Americas Robert Petrina.

Wednesday also brought a press release from Yingli announcing it had been selected by the European Commission to participate in the PV Consortium and Technical Secretariat as an active member during the pilot phase of a Product Environmental Footprint program.

Shunfeng Interested in Suntech (STP)

Interest in Suntech doesn’t appear to be diminished based on the Energy Conversions lawsuit. Shunfeng Photovoltaic International, a Chinese panel-maker listed on the Hong Kong stock exchange, made a big for a stake in Suntech’s main unit. Suntech, struggling under $1.75 billion in debt, is in need of a cash infusion, and Shunfeng made an $81.68 million deposit.

"The possible acquisition is in line with the group's expansion strategy and will enable the group to further strengthen its production capabilities of solar cells and modules," said Shunfeng on Wednesday.

Shunfeng is competing for a piece of Suntech with China’s top polysilicon producer, Hong Kong-listed GCL-Poly Energy.

India Opens Solar Bids

The nation of India ended a two-year cessation of national bids for solar products on Wednesday, opening bidding for solar plants with 750 MW of solar capacity. The nation’s Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs noted that “these projects will also lead to an associated development of their surrounding areas with positive impact on the socio-economic conditions of the local population.”

The plans involve dispersing grants to ensure the build-out meets guidelines and should include one 2.5 MW solar thermal plant and 131 photovoltaic plants, including 65 made with locally-manufactured solar cells and modules.

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