Sunday, August 5, 2007

Stick with Alt-Energy Through the Near-Term: Zacks

Checking in on the alternative energy [alt-energy] sector recently, we noticed that Zacks senior alt-energy analyst Jon Kolb is currently bullish on significant portions of his coverage. We spoke to him to find out where the alt-energy standouts are.

What’s the verdict on your alt-energy coverage at this point – Buy, Hold or Sell?

Oh, definitely Buy, at least in a few cases where I’ve recently updated my research reports on companies within my coverage. The growth potential for the solar industry as a whole, and Evergreen Solar (ESLR) in particular, remains a compelling story. Capacity expansion and near-term projected break-even earnings make it one of the fastest growing alternative energy stocks.

Where are you seeing the positive factors?

Many places: new multi-year sales contracts, a new operating facility at Massachusetts, capacity expansions at EverQ over the next few years, improving operating efficiencies, technological upgrades, and new silicon supply contracts. The company, through its crystalline silicon technology known as String Ribbon, offers solar modules which are used to generate electricity for on-grid and off-grid applications. These modules are designed for a range of solar electric power applications, including water pumping, communications, outdoor lighting, rural electrification, recreational vehicles, and stand-alone or grid-connected AC applications.

What are some of the other names you like in this space?

Well, staying in the solar arena for a moment, I also like Energy Conversion Devices (ENER). We remain optimistic about this company’s long-term potential success, given increased activity in solar power projects, and progress toward sustainable profitability in 2008.

There’s also Hawaii-based Hoku Scientific (HOKU). Since its inception, HOKU has focused its efforts on the design and development of fuel cell technologies, including its Hoku MEAs and Hoku Membranes. The products have all been developed internally by the research and development [R&D] team, leveraging both pre-existing publicly available technology and its own proprietary developments.

Are there still significant risks to owning alt-energy stocks at this point?...

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