"This is a sign that the industry is no longer in its infancy," said Michael Rogol, an analyst with CLSA and MIT's Lab for Energy and Environment.
"As an analyst, I think it's in its adolescence."Mr. Rogol
added that solar companies have matured and are now being run by group of business people, instead of by a group of techies.
"And the financial markets are saying, â€˜This group is trustworthy with money.There's real upside, and we can trust them to manage this money,'" Mr. Rogol
"These are the types of Internet growth curves that would make people go â€˜Wow,' but it's profitable already," Mr. Rogol
said."This isn't a cash vacuum; it's a cash generator.And when everyone was doing dotcoms, there was this swagger, this Gold Rush feel to it that is not apparent in the solar industry."
The investment community has been willing to give solar companies a lot more money over the last two years because they think the growth and earnings are sustainable for at least the next three years, he
is a star of the solar universe, said Mr. Rogol
, who added he
has no investments or affiliation with the company.The company makes only solar cells, not modules, but still competes with companies that make both, such as Sharp Electronics
, and BP Solar.
is the best pure play solar company," Mr. Rogol
said."It's easy for investors to understand, it's got very good margins, it's got very good supplier and customer relations, and it has some risks, but those are risks that many investors are going to ignore.Out of the hundreds of companies we've scanned, they are way at the top."Q-Cells
has about 11 percent of the market share, in volume, between 10 and 11 percent of the revenue for solar cells alone, and about 10 percent of the total money spent on solar power, Mr. Rogol
The company's estimated revenue grew to $161 million in 2004 from $18 million in 2002, and Mr. Rogol
projects they will grow to $380 million this year and up to $1.98 billion in 2010.He
projects that pre-tax profit will grow to $76 million this year from $24 million last year, with net profit growing to $46 million from $14 million.