Demand for Copper Indium Gallium Selenide (CIGS) thin film solar technology gained strong momentum in 2013. The demand was best typified by Canadian Solar (CSIQ) whose shareholders watched the company become the second biggest gainer in the Nasdaq during the year.

The success of thin film has lifted the solar power industry from the dismal depths endured during 2011, when the technology was prohibitively expensive and unreliable. The development of thin film and refinement of the manufacturing process has transformed the solar energy industry into an affordable, cost-efficient way to harness the unlimited energy from the sun.

There are two important types of solar energy; active and passive. Active solar energy deploys the latest technology to harvest the energy gathered from the sun for future use. Passive solar energy uses the sun’s energy to heat and cool properties and equipment.

The new thin film advances have drawn great interest from the world’s biggest energy consumers; the US, China, Japan, Europe and India, where solar energy installations increased by 300 percent last year.

A report from Lux Research indicates that the US will become the second largest consumer of solar energy by 2018. In the US, qualifies homeowners can receive 30 percent tax credits for investments in solar energy systems.

The Lux report also indicates that what was once a struggling industry seeking an identity will exceed $155 billion in sales by 2018. Supporting the optimistic view of the clean energy marketplace is international demand for large solar systems.

Solar energy is the ideal clean energy solution. Imagine that every day enough of the sun’s energy reaches the planet to power the world for the next 4 or 5 years.

Canadian Solar, Inc.

As the Nasdaq’s second biggest gainer, up 809.94 percent in 2013, CSIQ has been busy. Canadian Solar is now the largest solar manufacturer in North America. Company shares were upgraded by Zacks on December 6, 2013, but Canadian Solar has had an extremely busy and lucrative month.

The company has been successful in securing large contracts around the globe and has made significant headway into the Indian and Chinese markets as well as in emerging economies in Africa.

Significant December Activity

December 9 – Secured a $40 million loan agreement with Harvest North Star Capital with the first drawdown later in the month. Proceeds will be used to commence development of approximately 145 MWdc in Japan in 2014.

December 13 – Signed a new contact for 100 MW modules to be used by China’s Zhenfa New Energy Science & Technology.

December 16 – Company was awarded contract for solar installations at Clovis Unified School District in California.

December 23 – CSIQ subsidiary CSI Holdco sold two power plants in Northern California to PSEG Solar Source, a division of Public Enterprise Group (NYSE:PEG).

Along the way, CSIQ executed a $139 million non-recourse loan agreement with Deutsche Bank. Proceeds will be used to construct and install numerous solar power projects in Ontario.

Analysts do not see the usual performance support for solar companies but CSIQ Price to Sales is 1.0 percent, below the peer median and sales are climbing rapidly. The company is now positioned to deliver 1,015 MW of globally distributed solar projects that will drive revenues and increase profits.

Despite the company’s remarkable performance in 2013, the future looks even brighter for CSIQ.


Hiland Doolittle

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