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Solyndra's bankruptcy has captured most of the solar headlines nationwide this week, but there have been developments outside of this high-profile failure.
Bullish signs from China
Over the summer, LDK Solar (NYSE: LDK ) , JA Solar (Nasdaq: JASO ) , and ReneSola (NYSE: SOL ) all announced share repurchase programs, signaling that management had confidence in their company's future. Well, ReneSola gave us an update on its progress this week, saying it had purchased 645,424 ADS's and the company's CEO, Xianshou Li, had purchased 1,071,540 shares himself.
The company's buyback may be off to a slow start, but the CEO's purchase is worth noting. Insider buying is typically viewed as a strong sign for long-term investors and may be a sign it's time to get bullish on solar stocks.
Two become one
SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWRA ) , (Nasdaq: SPWRB ) announced a proposal to combine its Class A and Class B shares into a single class of shares. This happens periodically at companies, especially when the two classes trade at two different prices for no good reason.
You would think this would mean shares would converge to the same price, but the B shares are still trading significantly lower. For investors looking to buy, I don't see any reason to pay more for Class A shares right now and would recommend Class B shares because with majority owner Total (NYSE: TOT ) behind the deal, it's very likely to happen. (A note of disclosure: I purchased Class B shares this week.)
This is a good candidate for a long/short pair trade for those so inclined.
Sports and solar
Sports and solar manufacturers continued their strange marriage this week when NRG (NYSE: NRG ) and the Washington Redskins unveiled the largest solar installation on a football stadium. The system will provide up to 20% of power needs on game days and can generate 100% of the stadium's power needs on non-game days. Ten electric vehicle charging stations, shaded parking, and a 30-foot "solar man" highlight the installation.
United Solar, a subsidiary of Energy Conversion Devices, also announced its panels will be installed at Pituacu Stadium in Brazil.
Who would have thought solar and sports would be such a great fit? But with World Cup sponsorships and stadium installations, sports and solar are like two peas in a pod.
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