A New Era in Battery Technology

Written By Nick Hodge

Posted February 22, 2011

(Correction: The symbol for China BAK Battery originally appeared CRTP.  The correct symbol is CBAK on the NASDAQ.)

I used the long weekend to bend some rods and sip on frozen drinks in the Florida Keys.

My dad and I spent one day fishing offshore and one fishing in the backcountry among mangrove islands.

But even when I’m away from the ticker, I’m constantly looking for new ways to profit in the market…

Even before we left the boat slip on the first day, I was struck by how much electricity the vessel needed to perform its duties: radar, bilge pump, livewell, electric start, anchor winch, flushing the head…

All of it required electricity.

And while you can plug into shore power when docked, getting power while 10 or more miles out — especially on overnight trips — is another story.

That realization is what got my prop spinning.

Portable power?

I can tell you from experience the sun beats down on you when on the open sea… 45 SPF wasn’t enough to keep the back ofSolar Boat my neck and legs from tinging red.

So, with the vast amounts of sunshine available on the open sea, many captains are turning to solar to power their onboard devices. 

They can use the panels to power devices directly, or use them to charge batteries for later use. 

Problem is, current battery technology leaves a lot to be desired. And it isn’t advanced enough to store the amount of energy needed for the many electrical needs of an offshore boat — let alone an entire household.

And that’s where my profit realization comes in…

Solar domination

You can’t discuss solar without discussing China. So let’s begin there.

China already produces 50% of the world’s solar panels. Its rise to dominance in the sector has been astronomical.

And its success is putting intense pressure on U.S.-based solar companies.

Already this year, Massachusetts-based Evergreen Solar (NASDAQ: ESLR) announced it was shuttering a plant and cutting 800 jobs. It cited overwhelming competition from China as the reason.

And the few solar earnings reports out already tell a similar story. Evergreen continued to falter while Chinese solar companies continue their ascension to utter dominance.

Just look at these headlines from the past few weeks:

  • Yingli Green (NYSE: YGE) Q4 tops Street, sees surge in shipments – Reuters

  • Trina (NYSE: TSL) Jumps 6% on Blow-Out Q4 – Barron’s

  • JA Solar (NASDAQ: JASO) 4Q Soars on Higher Shipments; Sees Strong FY Demand – Wall Street Journal

Earnings like that translate to charts like this:

Chinese Solar Companies YTD

The next link in the profit chain

Now that China owns the majority of the world market for solar panels, the Middle Kingdom is turning its attention to the downstream market.

Just as I saw the opportunity for electrical power improvement on offshore fishing boats, China is realizing similar potential.

China is as hungry for profits as I am.

And now that their panels are preferred in Europe, the U.S., and Asia, they’re focusing on solving a broader solar issue: collecting the sun’s energy for later use (at night, in an offshore boat, in remote locations, etc.).

The obvious solution is better batteries.

Buffett realized this back in 2008 when he took a large stake in battery and electric carmaker BYD (PK: BYDDF). I recognized it, too. And like Buffett, my readers earned in excess of 300% because of it.

Two years have passed since then. And a host of new companies are now working on the improvement of battery technology.

Companies like China Ritar Corp (NASDAQ: CRTP) and China BAK Battery (NASDAQ: CBAK) have had stellar days on the market as they tackle this problem and more investors take notice.

But another China-based battery company has made a discovery that will blow them away.

Being perfected right now, it will soon usher in a new era of solar energy… An era that will see solar power used constantly and efficiently throughout the night. An era that will make power concerns on an offshore boat as distant as the shoreline.

But most importantly, an era that will see easy profits for investors wise enough to get ahead of this battery curve.

Call it like you see it,

Nick Hodge

Editor, Energy and Capital

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