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SolarCity's Massive Manufacturing Ambitions Look Increasingly Realistic


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This just in:



•SolarCity recently announced that its 100 MW pilot plant is producing the world's most efficient commercial modules at ~22% efficiencies.

•While SolarCity has yet to ramp up production at its 1 GW Buffalo facility, the company's module announcement hints that the factory will be a success.

•Successfully integrating high-efficiency, low-cost modules would further differentiate SolarCity from its competitors.

•Cost comparisons of SolarCity's modules to lower-efficiency Chinese modules are largely meaningless given tariffs and different target markets.

SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) announced that it has been able to produce ~22% efficient modules at its 100 MW Fremont pilot plant. This is huge news as it makes SolarCity the highest efficiency commercial module manufacturer. This efficiency level even surpasses that of SunPower's (NASDAQ:SPWR) famous X-Series modules, which boast efficiencies of around 21.5%. Should SolarCity reach its $0.55/watt module cost goal after its 1 GW factory ramps up production, the company could very well replace SunPower as the most cost-effective, high-efficiency module manufacturer.

This huge efficiency announcement is clearly one of SolarCity's most meaningful to date. The ability to produce high-efficiency, low-cost modules will make an enormous difference for a rooftop solar player like SolarCity. In fact, SolarCity expects its own manufactured modules to save $0.1/watt on BOS (balance of systems) and labor costs alone. While $0.55/watt will not be competitive with the lowest cost manufacturers on a pure cost/watt basis, high efficiency is an advantage in itself. In the increasingly likely case that SolarCity's 1 GW Buffalo plant is a success, SolarCity will differentiate itself from the competition in one of the biggest ways possible.

The fact that SolarCity can already hit 22% efficiency levels at its 100 MW pilot plant is a big deal for the company. While hitting such an efficiency at a 1 GW scale is an entirely different story, SolarCity has at least proven its mass production capabilities at a smaller but still significant scale. As SolarCity expects its modules to save ~$.15/watt in total installation costs, the factory should go a long way in preparing the company for a post-30% ITC landscape. Despite SolarCity's recent upsurge over the past week, the company is still extremely undervalued at a market capitalization of $4.45B. With near-doubling per annum growth rates and manufacturing ambitions that look increasingly realistic, SolarCity has much more room to grow. SolarCity is an excellent pick for growth investors interested in the solar space."


There are all the facts and pictures of the new massive 1GB plant in Buffalo, and details of their competitor's profiles, as well as the fact that they are taking a huge risk, in the full much longer article here: http://seekingalpha.com/article/3549236-solarcitys-massive-manufacturing-ambitions-look-increasingly-realistic?auth_param=ee6s6:1b0vfed:c5ce76690d30a12c7a5d84b91dbba32f&uprof=46


The rapid move to sustainable energy and alternative transport energies cannot be ignored by even the crustiest old ICE proponent. Yes they were and are great! So were the Steamboats of the Mississippi, and the first telephone systems, and their time is past. No one in their right mind would suggest we go back to the heavy first cell phones or heaven forbid use punch cards, then feed them into our computer card ports, then have them decoded at the other end to communicate on the Internet. Of course not!


Resistance to the obvious change is the business of each. The age of carbon fuels ends soon, relative to the time it took for commercial air travel to overtake the sailing clippers and locomotives. Investing can be exciting when major shifts are occurring and most can't see or understand it. Only the rich could afford the first cell phones. The first EVs had extremely limited range and wet cells that were heavy and hazardous in accidents.


Our grandkids will marvel that we allowed our families to drive their own cars, with to them in hindsight, an outrageous risk of death or maiming. And drunk drivers are eliminated as well as accidents by heart attacks or texting.


We know that is coming. So once we don't drive them, it seems to me a small step to not owning them and having electric individual trolley-like cars for local transport like in Airports now, with the rich using private cabins. The ICE has had its hundred years of development. I'm 63 and fully expect to see many sustainable breakthroughs before I am 70. But my grandkids! Oh well, had our Grandparents an inkling of what was coming with the development of the innocuous transistor, they'd have said the same of us. My grandfather, a kind and gentle soul of breeding would have enjoyed this.


When we transitioned to horseless carriages many stables went out of business. Others installed a funny looking pump in front. At first they had few customers. Then many, and Ford brought the prices down.


There are funny looking pumps sprouting up all over North America, Europe, and China. Most are ignored as a passing fad just like the gas pumps in front of working stables.


Today's look like this:



That one is in Waco Texas


Here are the locations around the world. http://www.teslamotors.com/findus#/bounds/49.38,-66.94,25.82,-124.39?search=supercharger&name=us Remember how Route 66 died when the superhighways came in and bypassed it? I-20 will do the same if the states that are fighting competition for their frightened ICE dealers don't allow Tesla to fill in the gaps.


Safe Investing!

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Along this same line. I talked to a body repair shop in the Atlanta, GA area that had two electric LEAFS that they were going to sell. Both had very little damage to the body that they had already repaired. Drove one it is a neat electric car. But they only have a 65 -80 mile range. Currently thinking about purchase.


Safe Travels!

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The big deal is manufacturing in America by Americans. That they are approaching it in a big way bodes well.



I've driven the Leaf, the iMiEv, and the Tesla Model S. I liked the Leaf but living in the rural area we do means some round trips would exhaust my batteries. The little Mitsubishi drives great but the same issues with range. See, the range figures are with no A/C, and cruising well under our 70/75,mph highways here and in E.Texas. My buddy has had a used iMiEv on his lot for almost a year now. It is the one I drove. I agree the Leaf is very well designed and appointed inside. Much nicer than the Prius, which is a hybrid not even a real BEV.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Oh well. My friend has a 2010 Mitsubishi MiEV for $9999.99 on his lot that I've driven. I'd buy it but it has only 50% of the range I need. I love it. But we get to town at 75mph on a 70mph I-20, and have to run A/C most of the year, which cuts range way down running both. But the folks that haven't driven one, especially the Tesla, have no idea.

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Thanks Star, but I have a reservation for the new three wheel Elio (If it ever gets into production!) and will be getting my first EV when the Model 3's come out. I really need more than the ~ 60 miles per charge my buddy got with his Leaf in summer here. We both live about 10-15 miles from town and that on I-20 at 70-75 when the temps are in the triple digits in summer. Michael owns a used car lot here in my area and we are friends since he gives me deals I can't refuse so I can try out a vehicle for a year when the fancy strikes and get back what I have in it. He had the Leaf for about six months as his personal car and it made him a tad nervous more than a few times with range anxiety.


I have also driven the Tesla Model S. I can afford a P-90D if I sell half of my remaining stock, but I think a nice Model 3 is more my style. I have owned my Porsche 911s and Mustangs as well as my MG Midgets and 4 Subarus, one custom Brat back in the 70's and three AWDs. So my need for speed is now more a need for comfort, climate control, and emergency maneuvering capability and low fuel costs.

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I hear ya and agree. That's why I kept photos of before and after for my many restorations and modding my rides. I can see them and that is enough. Besides, whether the Porsches or my Hot VW Westphalia pop up campers, they made millions of them. If I really wanted one I can buy another. Diesel Jeep? Now that sounds really interesting. Modified or did they sell it factory with a diesel? What diesel is in it?

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