NewEnergyNews: WASH POST ENDORSES SOLAR

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    Thursday, October 26, 2006

    WASH POST ENDORSES SOLAR

    It's a good investment. That's what matters, right?

    For Solar Energy Firms, Future May Be Brighter
    Jane Spencer, October 25, 2006 (Washington Post)

    - Shares of solar energy companies in the United States and Asia have fallen about 25 to 50 percent in recent months as declining oil prices have cooled interest in renewable-energy stocks. But analysts who see long-term growth potential in the $10 billion global solar equipment industry say the recent pullback is creating a buying opportunity.
    - The prospects for solar power may be particularly strong in Asia, which is rapidly becoming a production hub for photovoltaic cells…
    - Asian expertise in high-tech manufacturing, combined with low production costs, could turn some companies into industry powerhouses. The region's mushrooming energy needs, coupled with growing concern about environmental problems, are also likely to fuel the global market for clean, renewable energy sources…
    Japanese electronics giants Sharp Corp. and Kyocera Corp. and China's Suntech Power Holdings Co. are among the world's largest producers of photovoltaic cells…But a number of smaller Asian companies, many of them based in Taiwan, are experiencing rapid growth…. Taiwan's Motech Industries Inc., E-Ton Solar Ltd. and Sino-American Silicon Products Inc., and Hong Kong-listed China Solar Energy Holdings Ltd.

    - Solar-generated power accounts for less than 0.1 percent of the world's electricity supply. But the global solar equipment industry has grown by 30 percent annually over the past five years…Demand for solar panels is expected to boom in the next few years as dozens of countries approve new subsidies, tax breaks and other incentives to promote use of renewable energy sources. Historically, the price of solar stocks has been closely correlated with the price of energy sources such as oil, coal and natural gas…When high energy prices spark concern about energy security, investors tend to pour money into renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and hydroelectric power as a hedge against the price of crude. This year has been no exception…But analysts say the historic pattern is about to change, and solar stocks might still be a decent long-term bet, even if oil prices continue to fall…

    - Some analysts who are less enthusiastic about solar power say subsidies are masking a long-term problem in the industry: Solar power isn't yet a cost-effective energy source because of the high price for panels…many energy companies in other industries receive government support…

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