A123 Systems (NASDAQ:AONE) has announced that it landed a $450 million financing deal with a Chinese auto parts maker. This infusion will likely help the company stay afloat at a time when it continues to bleed cash. As I've mentioned in the past, I'm a fan of the company, but I'm still not convinced that AONE can swim upstream against the reality of cost advantages boasted by foreign competitors. Still, today's news catapulted the stock from yesterday's close of $0.47 to almost $0.60 in pre-market. It'll be interesting to see how the stock does today.
In an effort to cut its $4 billion annual energy bill and to lessen the potential of blackouts, the Defense Department is working with developers to build solar and wind farms on 16 million acres of open land that currently surrounds military bases. According to a recent DoD study, the lands that surround military bases in Southern California alone could generate seven gigawatts of power. That's the equivalent of seven nuclear reactors, or enough to power more than five million homes.
Although sales of SUVs have fallen over the past few years, mostly due to the fact that it can cost well over $100 to fill one up, Americans still love these vehicles. It's why smaller, crossover SUVs continue to sell. And to make sure the electric car segment doesn't miss out on an opportunity to convert internal combustion lovers to electric, a number of automakers are electrifying SUVs. Toyota has its new RAV4 EV, which goes on sale this month, and Ford's new C-Max Energi comes in both conventional hybrid and plug-in hybrid electric. The conventional hybrid model delivers a stellar 47 mpg and the electric model offers the highest electric-only speed of any plug-in hybrid on the road. So is this the new trend in vehicle design for SUVs? Brad Berman from Plugincars.com dives into this question here.
Most likely in an effort to help its domestic solar market plow through what seems like a never-ending glut of inventory, China has increased its 2015 target for solar power capacity to 21 gigawatts. This is a 40 percent increase from its initial goal. Of course, while this sounds like a lot, solar, as well as other forms of renewable energy will still only account for about 9.5 percent of the country's total energy consumption by 2015. Also worth noting is that hydro is included in this renewable energy goal. That being said, the more solar China installs, the quicker that glut gets depleted. And once that happens, solar stocks will be on much steadier footing. In the meantime, we continue to watch solar stocks from the sidelines.
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