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With clean energy on the front burner this week as China's President Hu Jintao visits Washington, D.C., there has been a slew of positive news crossing the wires for equipment providers. As solar and wind manufacturers duke it out for lower costs, the biggest winners may be those providing equipment to manufacturers.
More than just wind turbines
American Superconductor (Nasdaq: AMSC ) recently announced additional orders for its D-VAR grid interconnection product in the United Kingdom. The company is known for the electronics and technology that powers wind turbines made in China, but the company is expanding its reach in the supply chain. AMSC is proving to be more than the one-trick pony investors thought it was, but the market has been too nervous to jump in so far.
Making solar affordable
GT Solar (Nasdaq: SOLR ) announced its newest ingot growth system, the DSS 650, this week. The company supplies equipment to the solar industry, and as manufacturers grow at a rapid pace, its products are seeing higher demand. Trina Solar (NYSE: TSL ) recently ordered $23.8 million worth of ingot growth systems, and GT Solar just received a $33.3 million order for sapphire crystallization furnaces from Korea based OCI.
The market isn't rewarding GT Solar's potential with a ridiculously low 8.7 forward price/earnings ratio. With $279 million in cash and no long-term, debt the market has left this stock out to dry.
Fuel cells, the forgotten technology
FuelCell Energy (Nasdaq: FCEL ) also got a boost this week when the South Korean Ministry of Knowledge Economy announced a funding mechanism for new and renewable power sources. The government's last feed-in tariff program had a 50 MW limit, but this new program has a goal of installing 7 GW of new and renewable power plants by 2022.
Fuel cells are a forgotten technology, with wind and solar capturing most of the headlines, but FuelCell's products can use a variety of fuel sources and are extremely efficient.
Equipment suppliers may not get the same press as their manufacturing counterparts, but they look to be in a sweet spot as demand for alternative energies grows.
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