Posts Tagged ‘PV’

B of A raises GTAT Target $18.50 to $21.50

Posted: March 11, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in GTAT Investor Information
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3rd upgrade since 2/24/14 from B of A

In a report published today BofA Merrill Lynch raised the price target on GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) to $21.50 from $18.50 and Reiterated its “Buy” rating on the stock.

“GTAT announced a new agreement with Cosmos Chemicals Berhad to supply poly reactor and technology (we estimate FBR technology to make TCS, Siemens to make silicon) worth $336M for a 25K MT/annum polysilicon facility in Malaysia. Given that GTAT’s polysilicon backlog was ~$300M exiting C4Q13 and the orders were well below that, this news is incremental, in our view. This also highlights the fact that GTAT is more than just an AAPL supplier.” BofA Merrill Lynch said

“We reiterate our Buy rating. GTAT should benefit as the supplier of Sapphire for mobile applications to AAPL, the polysilicon reactor (non-sapphire) segment bottomed out in the December quarter (4Q13 revs 98% below the peak in C1Q12). As fundamentals improve, the rev/EPS should recover off the trough levels in CY13.” it added



Today’s contract announcement was with Cosmos Chemicals Berhad. GT is still waiting to hear back from bid selection from Idea Polysilicon Company (IPC). I expect today’s deal to impact 2016 revenue and IPC’s contract award that is pending final selection could be worth an additional $300m+.

July Article from PV Tech

Updated: Plans to build a fully-integrated PV supply chain within Saudi Arabia on the back of plans that could include 41GW of PV installations by 2032, continued slowly with reports that Idea Polysilicon Company (IPC), have received four bids to build its planned 10,000MT polysilicon plant and ingot/wafer operations.


Saudi PV Contracts May Deliver Sunshine Either Way?

Posted: March 2, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Solar News, Uncategorized
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A new article from PV Tech from Author Mark Osborne, who by the way is always on top of his game, made some interesting comments about 5 days ago (link below).

In reference to the Middle East, GTAT was one of a group of preferred bidders for a major new polysilicon plant in Saudi Arabia, which would be built in phases over several years. The successful bid for that plant was originally expected to have been announced at the end of 2013, which suggests a decision is imminent.

Recently, SunEdison announced it was undertaking a feasibility study with Saudi partners to build a major PV manufacturing complex that would include polysilicon production through to PV module assembly.

Though it is unclear at this time whether the two polysilicon plants are connected or not, GTAT could benefit from both regardless.

He also made one more comment regarding 3/14/14 webcast on new technologies

major new product announcement on March 14 is not related to its Twin Creeks acquired Hyperion wafer technology, nor the HiCz low-cost monocrystalline polysilicon technology, previously touted to enter the market in 2014.

Perhaps a new tool is coming out of GT’s war chest?

Polysilicon Market Headed for a Shortage in 2014?

Posted: February 28, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Solar News
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Matt Margolis – 2/27/14


Courtesy of greentechmedia  it appears as though polysilicon shortage may arrive before the end of 2014.  The magic number mentioned by various sources is that a polysilicon spot price of $25 per kilogram will trigger expansions.    One other interesting point is greentech is coming up with a base forecast of 42 GW for demand versus Solarbuzz at 49GW.  Greentech, however does have a high supply estimate of 50GW, which will lead to a “market would be grossly undersupplied, and significantly more manufacturing capacity than we currently forecast would have to be added to meet demand”.  If you believe Solarbuzz current forecast of 49GW and greentech’s high demand case of 50GW.  It does sound like polysilicon orders will be flying in before the end of 2014

Some key excerpts are below from greentechmedia.

2014 Supply-Demand: The Base Case

After having accounted for likely expansions in 2014, a clearer picture of supply-demand for 2014 emerges, as shown in the chart below, where additional supply comes on-line to meet expectations of strong demand growth. Under this scenario, available supply for wafers, cells and module exceeds demand by 30 percent to 45 percent, implying a stable and balanced market. It is only in the case of polysilicon, where excess supply is just 13 percent, that we appear to be headed for a real supply shortage: this is the driving factor behind GTM’s previously expressed view that polysilicon pricing will climb back to levels of $25 per kilogram by the end of the year.

Screenshot - 2_27_2014 , 9_14_39 PM

2014 Supply-Demand: The High Case

Before rushing to conclusions, it is worth remembering a final point. Much of the analysis above ultimately comes down to our 2014 end-demand estimate of 42 gigawatts. But time and time again, early-year PV market sizing forecasts have proven to be conservative in the final analysis.

As with previous years, the forecast risk for 2014 seems to lie very much on the upside, with GTM’s high-case installation estimate for 2014 in the neighborhood of 50 gigawatts. In this case, the market would be grossly undersupplied, and significantly more manufacturing capacity than we currently forecast would have to be added to meet demand. Given China’s new PV regulations, still-prevailing constraints on capital spending and equipment lead times, it is unclear if suppliers would be able to react in time to meet such an upswing in demand, especially in the case of polysilicon.

Source: GTM Research Global PV Competitive Intelligence Tracker

In conclusion, there are definite signs that at long last, balance between supply and demand in the PV market has not just been restored, but is beginning to trend in the opposite direction from the past few years — with the very real possibility of a supply shortage in the offing. Once again, it is a reminder that when it comes to the PV market, the winds of change can blow very quickly.



Decision Due Soon on Major Saudi PV Contract – GTAT in Full Play

Posted: February 27, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Uncategorized
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GT is in the running to win a major Saudi contract PV. News was supposed to come out in 2013. Recent rumblings suggest the “winner” is expected to be announced “soon”.

GT’s CEO made this comment (below) on Monday regarding the Middle East. Did TG tip his hand?

In addition, our opportunities in the Middle East continue to solidify and we remain well positioned on several projects of substantial size

Updated: Plans to build a fully-integrated PV supply chain within Saudi Arabia on the back of plans that could include 41GW of PV installations by 2032, continued slowly with reports that Idea Polysilicon Company (IPC), have received four bids to build its planned 10,000MT polysilicon plant and ingot/wafer operations.

Centrotherm SiTec, a subsidiary of centrotherm photovoltaics, had previously been selected as IPC’s technology concept partner, while Technip from France was awarded project management contracts. However, IPC told PV Tech that Centrotherm SiTec had only provided a customised technology report on the initial plant feasability.

According to reports the lump sum turnkey (LSTK) EPC bidders included a China/US consortium, Chengda Engineering Corp and US specialists, Poly Plant Project, while Centrotherm SiTec has teamed with Hanwha Engineering & Construction.

A German consortium between hi-tech facility design engineers M+W and equipment specialist Schmid Silicon Technology also bid for the project.

Other major polysilicon equipment specialist, GT Advanced Technologies bid for the project with Samsung Engineering.

The contracts are expected to be signed with winning bidders in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Saudi Arabia is targetting 41GW of PV installations by 2032.

Matt Margolis – 2/25/14

Credit Suisse $18 PT Grade B+ 2015 EPS $1.38 on $1.559B of sales, 2016 EPS $2.12B on $2.122B of sales.  No specifics were provided of product detail but they cited: “normalized earnings of PV, polysilicon, and sapphire businesses with upside from new products”.

UBS $18 PT Grade B- 2015 EPS $1.20 on $1.249B   2016 EPS $1.50 on $1.608B.  Apple sales estimated at $505M in 2014 and $980M in 2015.   2015 total sapphire revenue at $1.055B out of $1.249 (84% of Total Sales).  Estimated Mesa capacity at 1,500 furnaces.

Stifel $12.50-$14.90 PT Grade F 2015 EPS $0.45 on $1.086 sales. 2016 EPS $1.25 EPS on $1.637B sales.  No breakout was given on mix between Apple and other sapphire revenue.  2014 sapphire revenue $0.559B, 2015 sapphire revenue $0.94B and 2016 $1.1B “We view the company’s current product mix supporting $1.25 (2016) and look for the company’s March 15 new product and technology briefing fur further earnings growth drives into 2016”.   Stifel earned their grade, because it’s obvious they haven’t spent any time to dig into GT’s  corporate overview that was published in January 2014 to understand the growth factors for GTAT beyond sapphire.

Canaccord Genuity $21 PT Grade F  2015 EPS $0.50 on $1.109B sales.  2016 EPS $1.52 on $1.887.  Estimated 2,000 furnace capacity for Apple operations. “We reiterate our BUY pm GTAT as we believe the combination of Apple related earnings and the recovery in its LED and Solar business will result in above-consensus earnings growth and multiple expansion.  Canaccord earned their grade, because they failed to do any modeling for 2015.  They expect revenue in Q3 2014 of $324m followed by $264m in Q4 2014.  An annualized run rate of Q4 $264m x 4 is $1.056B versus their full year forecast of $1.109B,which tells me Canaccord assumes no new business coming online in 2015.  Canaccord doesn’t even give GTAT any credit that they will recognize any sizable chunk of their $600m order backlog.

Bank of America $15.50 PT  Grade Double F 2015 EPS $0.70 on $1.086B sales 2016 EPS $1.28 on $1.518B sales.  Bank of America cites that, “GTAT is becoming more of a Sapphire story”.  Bank of America earned their grade, because they failed to understand that GTAT is on it’s way to becoming a fleet of of thoroughbreds and not a “1 trick pony”.  I really wonder if Bank of America has even read the corporate overview or can cite one product GTAT sells besides sapphire.

Obscure Message to the Analyst Community

GT’s management was very clear that 2014 was the year of Apple and execution.  GT’s pipeline is currently $600m strong and very little of this will be booked in 2014.  GT’s management stated that equipment orders would start flying in 2H 2014 and will be ready for revenue recognition at the beginning of 2015.  GT mentioned that one of their customers (OCI) is already restarting their PV expansion project. If the analyst community wants to learn about GTAT’s up and coming products and industries they support perhaps they should try a google search.  The information is readily available and makes for a very interesting late night reading.

Every analyst cited Apple and sapphire as a major driver, but not one of them wanted to get into the Apple product ecosystem to adjust future growth for expanded sapphire usage across the portfolio.  The facility at Mesa is 1.3 million square feet or approximately 52 times greater than GT’s Salem, MA manufacturing facility.  GT’s salem facility held approximately 80-100 furnaces inside, using the same furnace to square foot ratio as Salem the Mesa facility can house between 4,200 and 5,200 furnaces.    Do any of the analysts follow Apple and industry growth projections?  Do the analysts understand the Apple portfolio of products and how GTAT can and will pair Hyperion with sapphire to create sapphire laminates that can be out rolled across Apple’s product portfolios once Hyperion is ready for commercialization in 2015.

The Obscure Analyst’s Analyst Report takeaway :

As an investor I was glad to see upward revisions to GTAT’s target price.  As the Obscure Analyst, I was surprised at how ignorant the analysts are to the markets that GT will begin serving in 2015.  Not one analyst understands GT’s Hyperion technology, that was purchased in November 2012.

GT management left us with this information during Monday’s call which relates directly to Hyperion and Solar Cells:

we have a deployed a new technology that we expect will significantly impact the economics of producing solar cells and modules. This technology was developed and comes out of a research operation we established in the Bay Area over a year ago to focus on advancing the state of the art and the design and assembly of solar cells and modules. We look forward to talking with you about this development on our March ‘14 webcast.

Well here is your spoiler alert:  Hyperion is going to be  a “disruptive technology” and a “game changer” that can and will be applied across all of GTAT’s platforms in the foreseeable future and for the foreseeable future.   During the March 14, 2014 webcast GT management will most certainly focus some of it’s attention on the design and assembly of solar cells and modules.  I’ve done my best to translate the patents so everyone can understand the key takeaway.  I’m sure the sci-fi team at GT Advanced Technologies will give a cleaner explanation but this is my best shot!  Essentially GT has patented a new process that likely creates the lowest cost, thinnest and most efficient solar cell technology on the market   The process to create this amazing innovation begins by leverage GT’s Hyperion technology (which is protected by over 50 patents) to fire hydrogen ions against a solar cell to create super thin solar cells that can be used in PV technology (solar panel).   The super thin solar cells are more efficient due to design (cutting angle) allowing them to improve efficiency.  They are lower cost due to Hyperion exfoliating abilities which allow for one of if not the thinnest solar cell produced in the industry (I hope the analysts ask if TG doesn’t tell us anyways).  Further cost reductions are found because the Hyperion method of exfoliating the solar cells reduces waste that results from through traditional “kerf” methods.

Obscure Analyst’s Spoiler Alert Takeaway: GTAT may have just come up the most efficient solar cells available on the market today due to the degree of the cut plane of the solar cells which allows for more light absorption than traditional methods.  The cost of the solar cells is greatly reduced because Hyperion allows up to a 2 for 1 benefit on thinness (current benefit might be 1.75 to 1) but it was 2:1 when GTAT acquired Twin Creeks in 2012.   Lastly, the method of using Hyperion versus traditional kerf methods of cutting solar cells will greatly reduce the amount waste, which will lead to further cost savings.  If I had to put names on who they are partnering with I would go with Yingli Green Energy or Trina Solar, who finished 2013 as #1 and #2 in PV supply.  Below are two of GTAT’s  key patents related to the growth and bonding of thin lamina.



[0001] Sivaram et al., U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/026,530, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina,” filed Feb. 5, 2008, owned by the assignee of the present invention and hereby incorporated by reference, describes fabrication of a photovoltaic cell comprising a thin semiconductor lamina formed of non-deposited semiconductor material. Using the methods of Sivaram et al., photovoltaic cells, rather than being formed from sliced wafers, are formed of thin semiconductor laminae without wasting silicon through kerf loss or by fabrication of an unnecessarily thick cell, thus reducing cost. The same donor wafer can be reused to form multiple laminae, further reducing cost, and may be resold after exfoliation of multiple laminae for some other use.

[0002] Referring to FIG. 1A, in embodiments of Sivaram et al., a semiconductor donor wafer 20 is implanted through first surface 10 with one or more species of gas ions, for example hydrogen and/or helium ions. The implanted ions define a cleave plane 30 within the semiconductor donor wafer. As shown in FIG. 1B, donor wafer 20 is affixed at a first surface 10 to receiver 60. Cleaving is most easily achieved by heating, for example to temperatures of 500 degrees C. or more. Referring to FIG. 1C, lamina 40 is heated and cleaves, or exfoliates, from donor wafer 20 at cleave plane 30, creating second surface 62. It has been found that the step of implanting to define the cleave plane may cause damage to the crystalline lattice of the monocrystalline donor wafer. This damage, if unrepaired, may impair cell efficiency. A relatively high-temperature anneal, for example at 900 degrees C., 950 degrees C., or more, will repair most implant damage in the body of the lamina.

[0003] In embodiments of Sivaram et al., additional processing before and after the cleaving step forms a photovoltaic cell comprising semiconductor lamina 40, which is between about 0.2 and about 100 microns thick. In other embodiments of Sivaram et al., lamina 40 may be, for example, between about 0.2-50 microns thick, between about 1-20 microns thick, between about 1-10 microns thick, between about 4-20 microns thick, or between about 5-15 microns thick, though any thickness within the named range is possible. FIG. 1D shows the structure inverted, with receiver 60 at the bottom, as during operation in some embodiments of Sivaram. Receiver 60 may be a discrete receiver element having a maximum width no more than 50 percent greater than that of donor wafer 20, and preferably about the same width, as described in Herner, U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/057,265, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina Bonded to a Discrete Receiver Element,” filed on Mar. 27, 2008, owned by the assignee of the present application and hereby incorporated by reference. Alternatively, a plurality of donor wafers may be affixed to a single, larger receiver, and a lamina cleaved from each donor wafer.

0004] In summary, the primary stages of producing a lamina are ion implantation, exfoliation (cleaving the lamina from the donor wafer), and annealing (to repair defects in the lamina).



[0002] Sivaram et al., U.S. patent application Ser. No. 12/026,530, “Method to Form a Photovoltaic Cell Comprising a Thin Lamina,” filed Feb. 5, 2008, and issued as U.S. Pat. No. 8,481,845, owned by the assignee of the present disclosure and hereby incorporated by reference, describes fabrication of a photovoltaic cell comprising a thin semiconductor lamina formed of non-deposited semiconductor material. Using the methods of Sivaram et al., and others, photovoltaic cells and other electronic devices, rather than being formed from sliced wafers, are formed of thin semiconductor laminae without wasting silicon through kerf loss or by fabrication of an unnecessarily thick cell, thus reducing cost. The same donor wafer can be reused to form multiple laminae, further reducing cost, and may be resold after exfoliation of multiple laminae for some other use. Methods are needed for handling thin lamina in order to process them into electronic devices.


[0003] Methods and apparatus are provided for bonding a thin lamina to a carrier, the methods may comprise providing a thin lamina wherein the lamina has a first side and a second side and wherein the first side of the lamina is separably contacted to a support plate; providing a first carrier having a first side and a second side and wherein the first side comprises a layer of adhesive material; contacting the second side of the thin lamina to the first side of the first carrier; fixing the lamina to the first carrier wherein the fixing comprises applying a first application of heat and a first application of pressure to a portion of the lamina and the first carrier; removing the support plate; applying a second application of heat and a second application of pressure to the lamina and the first carrier wherein the second application of heat and the second application pressure promotes an adhesive bond between the lamina and the first carrier and wherein the second application of pressure comprises moving the lamina, the first carrier and the cover sheet between a pair of rollers.

Two additional relevant patents are below

Photovoltaic Cell Comprising A Thin Lamina Having A Rear Junction And Method Of Making 

The Obscure Analyst’s Analyst Report takeaway :

My Final Closing Thoughts:  I am very disappointed in the lack of research and analytics that went into these reports with the exception of Credit Suisse and UBS.  My brother-in-law jokes that I am the “couch” analyst, because he knows that’s where I do all my research.  In closing, I wanted to reference to one of my favorite movies, Good Will Hunting, because one scene in particular resonates very well right now.  Will Hunting (played by Matt Damon) was obviously brilliant and but he was working as a janitor at MIT and he kept solving the MIT professor’s math problems that not even the MIT students could understand them.   If you recall during one of the bar scenes, Will Hunting was vying for the attention of a young college co-ed and he was competing against a 1st year grad student named Clark.  Will and Clark starting a heated debate on history, a test of wits.  Will’s perfectly fitting retort to Clark:

"You got that from Vickers.  Work in Essex County, page 98, right? Yeah, I read
that, too. You gunna' plagiarize the whole thing for us? Do you have any thoughts
that...of your own on this matter? Or do you-- is that your thing? You come into a
bar, you read some obscure passage, and then pretend you, you..pawn it off as your your own idea...." 

I think it’s time the analyst community comes up with some original thought of their own rather than taking GTAT’s guidance as gospel and pawning it off as their own idea.  Will Hunting received his education for free at the public library, in this regard I am just like Will Hunting.  I conduct my own research using the tools and information that are available to the public.  At times it can be a painful act, but in the end you are handsomely rewarded with information and enough support to connect the dots and come up with your own original idea.  But hey what do I know?  I’m just the Obscure Analyst!

Full Disclosure: I am long GTAT and have no plans to buy or sell any holdings over the next 72 hours

Courtesy of PV Magazine, they expect PV  “demand for 2014 is expected to be higher than last year, the industry expects that the main driver for investment in polysilicon production tools and innovation will be increased demand for high-efficiency solar cells in 2015”.  What this translates into is that yes PV growth will be outstanding with PV demand for solar panels to grow from 3 GW in 2013 to 49 GW in 2014.  The main issue plaguing the industry is over supply of polysilicon and low prices.  As demand catches up with supply Tier-1 poly silicon producers will see higher utilization and polysilicon prices rise which will signal trigger the next capital cycle for PV equipment which is expected the 2H of 2014 or beginning of 2015.  The article also highlights that some plants in China are considering expansion but need access to funding before they can expand.  Investors should watch polysilicon prices closely as prices above $25/kg or more are needed for sustained (capital) investment.

PV magazine reached out to GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT) for an update on where they see the market going. GTAT expects further polysilicon equipment production orders especially from the Middle East.

According to GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT), a supplier of equipment for all stages of polysilicon production, regions that are responsible for investments in polysilicon production equipment include South Korea, China, especially in the northern and western regions, Malaysia, Germany – because of Wacker, the U.S., the Middle East and Taiwan. However, South Korea and Taiwan could lose some market share for new investment because of rising electricity prices. The U.S. is being affected by tariffs. “The market in the Middle East has been slow to develop, but we do expect further investment in this region,” states Chad Fero, Senior Director of Worldwide Service at GTAT.

GTAT also provided an update on their HicZ for n-type solar cells.

GTAT is continuing to develop its HiCz furnace, ideal for n-type PV cells. It has achieved some important milestones in the development of this technology and is aligning the furnace’s launch with the emergence of the n-type PV cell market, which could see the next capital equipment cycle begin in 2015 or even as early as the second half of 2014.

IKEA shoots for 100% solar powered stores by 2020

Posted: February 14, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Uncategorized
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Matt Margolis

Currently IKEA powers 39 out of 44 locations with solar power.  Their recent installation required 4,704 panels to generate 1,701,000 kWh per year (enough to power 180 homes).  I know IKEA offers nice quality stuff at very affordable prices.  Perhaps cheap energy is helping keep their costs low.  Maybe other companies should join the solar plunge

The IKEA details below were pulled from

Last spring, IKEA completed solar installations on almost 90 percent of its buildings in the U.S. (39 out of 44 locations). IKEA owns and operates all of the solar power systems and has allocated $1.8 billion globally to invest in renewable energy research through 2015. The company has installed over 300,000 solar panels on buildings around the world, and owns or operates about 137 wind turbines in Europe. IKEA’s goal is to be 100 percent renewable by 2020 , or producing as much renewable energy as consumed by its stores and plants.

SunEdison Inks Solar Deal in Saudi Arabia

Posted: February 9, 2014 by mattmargolis24 in Solar News
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SunEdison inks deal for $6.4B solar factory in Saudia Arabia.  Full coverage can be found below

CBS Marketwatch 

UPI News

Seeking Alpha