solar panels
I was surprised to hear an investment banker talk about social justice at an energy finance conference recently. He was concerned about a relatively new phenomenon, especially in California, where there is an explosion of homeowners leasing solar panels.

Suntech could be the canary in the coal mine…


Is Suntech too big a Chinese brand to fail?

On March 15, the cash-strapped solar company—until recently the world’s biggest photovoltaic panel maker—faces a $541 million payment on convertible notes, a quarter of the $2 billion in debt it has incurred.

Whether Suntech can strike a deal with its bondholders or secure a government bailout will set the stage for the collapse or consolidation of the Chinese solar industry. Other photovoltaic giants, including Trina Solar and JA Solar, also face crushing debt and overcapacity—a result of a rapid expansion of manufacturing that sent solar panel prices plummeting and allowed China to dominate the global market.

Given that Suntech founder Zhengrong Shi became famous as China’s one-time billionaire Sun King, it’s tempting to draw Shakespearian allusions as March 15 approaches – the Ides of March and all. Except that the Suntech board dispatched this solar Caesar on Monday, replacing him as…

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NYC natural gas pizza truck

NYC natural gas pizza truck

New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg almost burned the roof of his mouth on a steaming slice of pizza from a food truck this week. I was among the reporters in attendance who yelled for him to wait for it to cool.

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sandy wall street

I work down on Wall Street where the lingering effects of Superstorm Sandy are the dozens of vacant buildings still being rehabbed from flooding. Those blackened windows don’t just mean displaced workers, they mean lost jobs and businesses.

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Maple Ridge Wind Farm

Lowville, New York is one of those striking places that hark back to long ago times when the world was simpler and made more sense. I got to go there this summer to tour a massive wind farm, the largest on the Eastern Seaboard when it was built six years ago.

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Watching President Obama sign the Jumpstart our Business Start-ups Act into law last week brought to mind a company I have followed since they filed a prospectus with the SEC to go public last year.  The night before its shares were to begin trading on the NASDAQ, a week after the president signed the law, BrightSource Energy cancelled the offering due to “adverse market conditions.”

Upstate New York towns that host power plants are getting socked by fallout from the same low natural gas prices that are hurting savvy investors like Warren Buffett and Carl Icahn.

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