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Dave Zgodzinski

Dave Zgodzinski

Dave Zgodzinski is the editor of the Green Miner newsletter and thegreenminer.com web site.  The Green Miner is dedicated to searching out valuable investments in…

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Renewable Energy Stocks to Watch Out For

Renewable Energy Stocks to Watch Out For

Chinese Solar Stocks

There was a revival in Chinese solar stocks last week. On Wednesday alone, many of these stocks went up 10% to 20% in one day. According to a Bloomberg News article on Dec.12, there were a number of reports from China that the government is going to subsidize solar panel manufacturers to the tune of $2 billion.

Also, according to the Bloomberg article, the Chinese government is prepared to double the target for the number of solar installations in China. These are important developments that can only help these companies. As an example of the moves, Jinko Solar is up 50% since we wrote about the company on Oct. 8.

Jinko Solar 52 Week Chart: Source
Jinko Solar 52 Week Chart: Source - Bigcharts.com

There is a heavy short interest in many of these stocks, and a short squeeze may be responsible for part of this move. Recently, the short interest in Jinko`s stock on the NYSE was equal to forty days of average trading volume.

Electric Car Charging Companies

The electric car revolution is still in first gear. Sales of expensive plug in vehicles are slower than was hoped. The good news is that car companies around the world are working hard on producing new electric models. Battery makers are working furiously to bring costs down and efficiencies up.

Still, there is sticker shock holding back some potential consumers and techno-phobia and range anxiety holding back others.

And then there is the convenience factor. There are gas stations everywhere. Why buy an electric car if there are no charging stations anywhere to charge it up? Well, there are companies that have seen an opportunity in this conundrum, and they are building charging networks. You can actually invest in a couple of them.


Related Article: The Renewable Energy Illusion

Ecotality installs electric charging stations around the US in a network they call Blink. The chargers are manufactured by ABB – the Swiss multinational. In 2009, ecotality partnered with the US Department of Energy (DOE) in a venture called the EV Project. The government grants the funds and ecotality deploys and manages the electric vehicle chargers. ecotality collects data on the charging habits of electric vehicle owners and will share this information with the government as part of the EV Project.

The DOE has allotted $100 million to the EV project, funds that can be deployed to the end of 2013. Blink chargers have been deployed in 21 metropolitan areas in 9 states. Some of the chargers are installed in private homes and owned by the user, and others are installed as public charging stations.

 Blink Fast Charger
Blink Fast Charger

Thus far, ecotality has set up 8800 Blink chargers - 2600 of which are public charging stations. Ecotality has made deals with big retailers like Walmart and Kohl’s and shopping center owners with lots of public parking to install Blink chargers in select locations. The chargers are owned by host.

Users originally were able to use the Blink charging network for free. Now they pay on a per charge basis, based on the amount of electricity they download – just like pumping gas. Those revenues will be shared by ecotality and the parking lot owners going forward.

Currently the company is bringing in $10,000 a week in revenues from users charging their cars. This isn’t a gigantic revenue, but it’s the growing quickly. Charging events grew 44% in Q3 versus Q2. The number of member using the Blink netowrk stood at 8200 at the end of the last qaurter - a 67% increase over the previous quarter.

The purpose of the EV Project is to learn how people will use and charge their electric vehicles and how to deploy a charging network in the future.

ecotality hopes to have 16,000 charging stations running nationwide by the end of 2013. Most of these will be residential – owned by the users. But many thousands will be public. There is still $45 million left in the grant for this project.

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ecotality also sells chargers for industrial machines like forklifts. The company has about $4 million in revenues a year selling and servicing these chargers and the company is coming out with new lines and a partnership in China where they hope to grow this business segment.

If ecotality can turn Blink into bling, the stock will go up. There only 23.9 million shares outstanding, so that puts the total market capitalization at Fridays close of 49.5 cents per share at only $11.83 million.

Car Charging Group Inc.

Car Charging is based in Miami Beach Florida and the company has done a good job of partnering with condo developers, mall owners, and car park owners in the sunshine state to install public charging stations for electric vehicles.  Car Charging pays for the installation of the chargers and service revenue is then split with the owner of the parking space.

Car Charging Group 2 Year Chart: Source
Car Charging Group 2 Year Chart: Source - Bigcharts.com

Like ecotality, Car Charging has retail partners that are putting charging stations in their parking lots. Walgreens drug chain is the biggest of Car Charging’s partners. Car Charging has over 40 major partners that combined have about 6.5 million parking spaces.

Car Charging also sells car charging units to customers who want their own units. But like ecotality, they do not manufacture the units. Unlike ecotality, Car Charging owns the public chargin stations and shares the revenue with the parking lot host company.

The technology of charging will advance quickly, and hopefully make the whole process cool. As an example, Car Charging chargers already have a smartphone app that lets you see the charging status of your car, on your phone. So you can shop or eat lunch till your phone tells you that the battery is full.

Car Charging recently filed a patent for a wireless charging system for electric vehicle batteries that uses parking bumpers as the charging mechanism. These could be installed in parking garages and parking a properly near them would be sufficient.

In the first nine months of 2012, Car Charging installed 62 car chargers at 45 separate locations. As of the end of September, the company had 226 charging stations up and running. In July, Car Charging announced a deal to purchase a company called 350Green LLC that also has a network of charging stations. If the deal goes through, Car Charging will have a total of about 1000 charging stations throughout the US.

Car Charging had revenues of $4.6 million in the third quarter. That compares with revenues of $981 for the same period last year. So the company is growing fast.

Car Charging has 41 million shares outstanding and a market cap of almost $65 million at Friday’s closing price of $1.58 a share.

Both Ecotality and Car Charging are small companies with big risks. The companies are in the deployment phase that will mean spending lots of money before much money comes in. They will need financing to grow the networks and that might mean diluting the stock or leveraging the company. There are potentially large and powerful competitors out there – the electric utilities.

It’s too early to say if these two companies will succeed.

There are a few more than 8000 public charging stations in the US. This number will grow enormously if more buyers choose electric vehicles. There are over 150,000 gas stations in the US. It is much simpler and cheaper to install an electric charger than a gas station. It’s a reasonable assumption that hundreds of thousands of chargers will eventually be deployed.

Think of them going ka-ching whenever someone plugs in.

By. The Green Miner

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