Maxwell Technologies, Inc.
) has received a $1.39 million contract from the California
Energy Research and Development Commission for the designing and
integration of an ultracapacitor-based energy storage system with
Soitec's Concentrating Photovoltaic ("CPV") system.
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As a result of this contract, Maxwell has collaborated with
Soitec for a two-phase program to demonstrate the cost and
efficiency benefits of combining an energy storage system with
Soitec's Concentrix CPV technology. The project will be
implemented at two sites - one at the Soitec CPV system in the
Univ. of Calif., San Diego campus and the other at a commercial
scale Soitec solar power plant in Southern California.
In order to take 100% advantage of the incorporating
ultracapacitor energy storage, the system will also utilize other
advanced technology, which includes solar forecasting and
predictive energy control. The work on the contract is expected
to begin this month and get completed by Nov 2015.
Ultracapacitors are energy storage devices that charge rapidly
from any electrical energy source and discharge their stored
energy on demand. Maxwell's ultra capacitors store energy in an
electric field. This electrostatic energy storage mechanism
enables ultra capacitors to charge and discharge in fractions of
a second, perform normally over a broad temperature range of -40
to +65 degrees Celsius, operate consistently through one million
or more charge/discharge cycles and resist shock and vibration.
Soitec's new fifth-generation Concentrix CPV systems are made up
of modules with a 30% market-leading module efficiency which is
equivalent to two to three times the efficiency of conventional
PV technology. The CPV system has a two-axis tracker installed on
it that enables a high and constant power production throughout
daylight hours. With the help of concentrator optics and
high-efficiency solar cells, the system converts sunlight
directly into clean electricity.
The fusion of these two high tech products will act as a standby
reservoir of electrical energy and will lessen the variability of
solar energy generation. Besides fulfilling peak power demand,
the integrated systems will help California in reaching its goal
of 33% renewable generation by 2020.
Last month, the company reported preliminary numbers for the
fourth quarter 2012 and first quarter 2013. During the fourth
quarter of 2012 and first quarter of 2013, invoiced shipments
were $41.9 million and $46.6 million, respectively. Invoiced
ultracapacitor shipments in fourth quarter 2012 were $26.1
million. The number increased 27% sequentially to $33.1 million
in the first quarter 2013. Invoiced shipments of high voltage
capacitor and microelectronics products were $15.8 million in the
fourth quarter of 2012. These shipments declined 15% quarter over
quarter to $13.4 million in the first quarter of 2013.
Although the hiccups remain with the recent notification letter
from NASDAQ as the company is not in compliance with NASDAQ
Listing Rule 5250, the company is continuously taking initiatives
to expand its ultracapacitor production capacity to meet
increasing demand. It continues to monitor ultracapacitor demand
indications and intends to adjust its operating plans
accordingly. The company received the notification letter for not
filing its annual report on a timely basis with the Securities
and Exchange Commission for the period ended Dec 31, 2012.
However, going forward, we expect top-line growth to be fueled by
the expected increase in ultracapacitor sales through a
production ramp-up for automotives. The company is also focused
on improving its cost structure and the steady demand from heavy
transportation, wind, braking recuperation and automotive
programs continue to act as tailwinds. The company presently
retains a short-term Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Other well-placed stocks are
LightPath Technologies, Inc.
AU Optronics Corp.
). While LightPath Technologies and Stoneridge Inc. hold a Zacks
Rank #1 (Strong Buy), AU Optronics holds a Zacks Rank #2