Solar Energy Technologies

It's Like Printing Your Own Money

Written by Brian Hicks
Posted August 29, 2007

Solar energy is big business these days. What started as a niche market is quickly transforming into a worldwide movement.

Producers are barely keeping up with demand as homeowners and corporations alike are beginning to realize the drastic effect that electricity produced in-house can have on the bottom line.

There was even talk of a silicon crunch as manufactures in the U.S., Europe, and Asia pumped out panels at break-neck pace.

But, just as in other industries, the solar sector is evolving. And the best panels these days are considerably different from the panels being produced even just one year ago.

They use less (if any) silicon, are more efficient, thinner and, in some cases, even flexible. But it hasn't always been that way. . .

Investing in Next Generation Solar Technology

The solar industry started with bulky, rigid panels that had to be installed after a building's construction. These are the photovoltaic systems most people think of whenever solar is mentioned--clunky panels that are clearly visible on a building's roof.

Those first generation solar cells were either monocrystalline or polycrystalline--the latter is what we normally see on roofs today.

After those cumbersome cells came the second generation, thin film models. The most successful of this generation has been the cadmium telluride (CdTe) series of cells.

These cells are much thinner, use less material, and are easier to produce--but they're still rigid.

And the main company that produces these cells, First Solar (NASDAQ: FSLR) has been the darling of Wall Street for the past nine months, soaring from $23.50 last November to around $97, where it hovers today. (Before the recent correction, it got as high as $123.21.)

That's over a 310% gain for the lucky green investors got in on this thing's IPO.

fslr

Another company that's made tremendous strides with the advent of new solar technology is WorldWater and Solar (WWAT.OB)

Worldwater specializes in international solar engineering and water management. The company makes mobile solar solutions for a variety of industries and applications worldwide.

Until Worldwater came along, there was no solar power generation system in the world capable of powering the high horsepower requirements of pumps and motors typically used for agricultural, refrigeration, and water utility applications.

But WorldWater changed all that with the introduction of their AquaMax technology and related products.

The AquaMax system supplies electricity from a solar panel array to pump water for irrigating fields or for livestock, essentially solving two problems with one system. It is completely automated, can make a business completely independent from grid electricity during peak hours, and will pay for itself in electricity bill savings.

wwat

WorldWater also makes an AquaMax system that is powered by a completely portable array of solar panels. The panels are mounted on a trailer and can be set-up literally anywhere to provide power and water simultaneously.

They also make an incredible system called the Mobile MaxPure. This device uses solar power to purify water on a completely transportable base. Recently, WorldWater signed a contract to provide ten of these systems to Sudan. The MaxPure also has auxiliary power outputs so communities can power other necessary devices from the electricity produced via the solar panels.

These apparatus are truly revolutionary--and they're turning a handsome profit while providing much-needed solutions to very important problems. It's up over 750% from just one year ago, and at around $1.70, only looks like it's going to go higher.

By using solar to provide water for irrigation, agriculture, crisis management, and drinking, WorldWater is beginning to corner the market on two very lucrative industries. As the world's energy and water crises continue to play out, this will be an excellent stock to own.

The Best is Yet to Come

And those gains could be minor compared to what's about to take place in the solar

Back in May, I wrote an article for Energy and Capital about thin film organic solar. In that article I talked about being able to spray solar cells on nearly any surface using nanotechnology.

While we may not be there just yet--at least on a commercial scale--we're getting closer.

Using CIS (Copper-Indium-Diselenid) technology, a few companies are now making thin film solar cells that are flexible. So instead of casting silicon into blocks and cutting them into wafers, thin solar cells can be printed on sheets and rolled off on film with much less waste--much like how a newspaper is printed.

Companies are using this technology to make products that can be integrated right into the products used for building construction. These are called building integrated photovoltaics (BIPV).

This technology can be used to make solar roofing tiles and architectural photovoltaic glass--very cool stuff. Solar panels can be incorporated right into a building's facade or roof, and my even add some aesthetic appeal.

Green Chip Stocks has had its eye on a company that is on the cusp of dominating this new sector of the solar industry. Over the past few months, this company has been lining up some pretty impressive marketing and distribution agreements.

With the current solar bull market and cutting edge technology on their side, this company truly looks like it's going to become a giant.

To learn more about it, Click here.

Until next time,

nick

Nick