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Solar Energy Monthly Report | July

 

In June 2021, we launched Europe's first Solar Energy ETF. Learn more about the fund here

 

The Solar Industry has spent the last two decades slashing the cost of generating electricity using the sun, but now it is focusing on advances in technology to make the panels more powerful and efficient. (Bloomberg)

Solar power was already “dirt cheap”, but now it is about to get more powerful.

Some of the technological methods being used to “supercharge” panels are:     

  • Perovskite, a thinner and more transparent polysilicon,
  • Bi-facial Panels, that make use of the small amount of light that reflects back off the ground,
  • Doped Polysilicon, where N-type material is made by doping polysilicon with a small amount of an element with an extra electron like phosphorous.
  • Bigger Wafers, Better Cells, as producers are now pushing 182- and 210-millimeter wafers, and the larger sizes will grow from about 19% of the market share this year to more than half by 2023, according to Wood Mackenzie’s Sun. Factories that wire wafers into cells are also creating new designs that increase power generation.

 

Performance Review

Breakdown of Performance

The underlying index of our Solar Energy ETF, the EQM Global Solar Energy Index, has delivered a positive return of 15.78% since inception as solar energy stages a clean energy resurgence. Spanish solar plant development firm Solarpack was the top index performer (+43%) after receiving a $1 billion bid from Swedish fund EQT.  Other top performance holdings were Chinese solar product manufacturer JinkoSolar and Hong Kong listed photovoltaic glass producer Flat Glass Group.  JinkoSolar announced the application for an IPO of one its subsidiaries, providing a new funding source for the company.  Flat Glass’s returns are associated with robust product demand.

EQM Global Solar Energy Index Performance

June

12 Month*

15.78%

177.21%

Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Source: Bloomberg *NTR Index, in USD.  12 Month figures from 09.06.2021 inception to 30.06.2021

 

The bottom index performer in June was Chinese high-purity polysilicon manufacturer Daqo New Energy, down more than 5%, but investors are generally positive regarding the company’s plans to issue additional shares on the Shanghai Exchange on July 19th.  But a unit of the company was recently blacklisted in the U.S. on forced labour concerns.

 

Solar Energy Performance Table (As of 30.06.2021)

 

1M

3M

6M

YTD

12M

SI

EQM Global Solar Energy Index

15.78%

-2.33%

-6.26%

-6.26%

177.21%

15.78%

Performance before inception is based on back tested data. Back testing is the process of evaluating an investment strategy by applying it to historical data to simulate what the performance of such strategy would have been. Back tested data does not represent actual performance and should not be interpreted as an indication of actual or future performance. Past performance for the index is in USD. Past performance is not an indicator for future results and should not be the sole factor of consideration when selecting a product. Investors should read the prospectus of the Issuer (“Prospectus”) before investing and should refer to the section of the Prospectus entitled ‘Risk Factors’ for further details of risks associated with an investment in this product. Source: Bloomberg / HANetf. Data as of 30/06/2021.

 

Industry News

The recent rise in solar component prices took a breather, providing some relief to an industry that had been experiencing rising cost pressures. According to BloombergNEF, the key solar raw material, polysilicon, is at $28.2/kg, below the $28.6 in early June. Mono wafers, the next step in the supply chain, fell 7% and solar cells -2%.

US Solar installations soared by 46% in the first quarter and are on track for record-breaking growth over the next three years according to a report by energy research firm Wood Mackenzie and the industry trade group Solar Energy Industries Association. The report reflects both robust demand from utilities and corporations seeking to meet greenhouse gas reduction goals and declining costs for the technology that has made it competitive with power generated from fossil fuels.

In a draft law, Germany is seen to be up solar energy expansion by 2030 as part of its climate protection program. The new plan aims to expand installed production capacity of solar energy to 150 GW from 100 GW, the draft showed. Germany's installed capacity of solar energy at 52 GW in 2020.

May was a major month for the cleantech and energy world. First, a Dutch court ruled that oil giant Royal Dutch Shell must cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030. Secondly, activists won three of twelve Board seats at ExxonMobil in a push for climate strategy change.

U.S. Democratic Sen. Jon Ossoff of Georgia introduced legislation that would give tax credits to manufacturers throughout the solar energy supply chain. The idea of giving incentives to onshore solar manufacturing has gotten more support in Washington than some observers may have expected.

The Biden administration ordered a ban on U.S. imports of a key solar panel material from Chinese-based Hoshine Silicon Industry Co over forced labour allegations. The U.S. Commerce Department separately restricted exports to Hoshine, three other Chinese companies and the paramilitary Xinjiang Production and Construction Corps (XPCC), saying they were involved with the forced labour of Uyghurs and other Muslim minority groups in Xinjiang. Reacting to these actions, China's foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said China will take "all necessary measures" to protect its companies' rights and interests. Beijing has dismissed accusations of genocide and forced labour in Xinjiang as lies.

The three other companies added to the U.S. economic blacklist include Xinjiang Daqo New Energy Co, a unit of Daqo New Energy Corp (DQ.N); Xinjiang East Hope Nonferrous Metals Co, a subsidiary of Shanghai-based manufacturing giant East Hope Group; and Xinjiang GCL New Energy Material Co, part of GCL New Energy Holdings Ltd (0451.HK).

 

Constituent News

Swedish private equity fund EQT, the biggest publicly traded private equity firm in Europe, launched an offer for the Spanish solar developer, Solarpack with a 45% premium over its closing price.

Jinko Solar (JKS) shares rose 23% the day following news that it will IPO a subsidiary on Shanghai's Sic-Tech innovation board (STAR market). Canadian Solar (CSIQ) also rose 13% on news that it, too, will separately IPO a subsidiary on China's STAR market.

The stock price of Daqo New Energy Corp (NYSE: DQ) rallied on news that Daqo New Energy – a leading manufacturer of high-purity polysilicon for the global solar PV industry – is in the process of applying for an initial public offering (IPO) of the company’s major operational subsidiary Xinjiang Daqo New Energy on the Shanghai Stock Exchange’s Sci-Tech innovation board.

Solar energy stocks rose, after Stephens’ analyst Gail Nicholson published a positive commentary on the industry. She sees the recent decline of solar stocks presenting a nice buying opportunity. The commitment that companies and government have for solar energy will boost demand for it, she said, according to Bloomberg. (The Street)

 

Outlook

  • Solar Stocks on Sale: Trading down with other clean energy sectors, the recent decline in solar stocks represents a buying opportunity.
  • M&A and IPO’s Fueling Interest in Solar Names: The offer for Solarpack and recent solar industry IPO’s have generated interest in the space as industry consolidation continues and value is recognized.
  • Allegations in Xinjiang Favor U.S. Producers:  The ban on U.S. imports from several solar manufacturers in Xinjiang on forced labour concerns and proposed legislation subsidizing U.S. manufacturers could provide a boon to U.S. solar manufactures relative to Chinese producers.

 

To learn more about our Solar Energy ETF and the solar energy industry, please visit the fund page

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