EverQ Eyes Public Market

Solar-electric panel-maker EverQ is getting all dolled up in preparation for its public debut.

The joint venture between panel-maker Evergreen Solar, cell-manufacturer Q-Cells and silicon-maker Renewable Energy Corporation said Thursday it signed a binding agreement outlining the steps needed to prepare EverQ for its initial public offering.

The partners also said they approved the construction of a €125-million (about $179.9 million) plant to make solar wafers, cells and panels.

The facility, which is set to open in Germany in early 2009, is expected to boosts EverQ's production capacity from 100 megawatts to about 180 megawatts. Evergreen, Q-Cells and REC also agreed to up EverQ's production capacity to about 600 megawatts by 2012.

EverQ IPO details -- including timing -- are sparse. But in a research note, Sanjay Shrestha, a senior analyst for Lazard Capital Management, said the company will enter into a five-year royalty-sharing licensing deal with Evergreen, once EverQ is public.

The companies will share all royalties made from advances on Evergreen's string ribbon technology, which makes cells using less silicon than traditional crystalline technology.

DayStar Hits the Nasdaq

Thin-film solar developer DayStar Technologies raised $68.8 million Friday in its Nasdaq debut.

Shares closed at $4.79 per share, up 3 percent from the offering price of $4.25 per share.

The Halfmoon, N.Y.-based company (NSDQ: DSTI) is developing a solar-cell technology that uses little or no silicon. The company claims its technology will result in panels that cost less than $1 per watt to make.

Such efforts have become increasingly attractive as the solar industry faces a worldwide shortage of solar-grade silicon (see Silicon Starvation), but the technology is still costly and few thin-film solar companies have managed to grow beyond demonstration size.

DayStar plans to use its new money to pay off debt and build a 25-megawatt manufacturing line, among other things.

The company said the manufacturing line, expected to be completed early next year, will enable it to ship its first products in 2009. DayStar signed a deal for Blitzstrom, a thin-film solar integrator, to purchase at least half of its production through 2011.

Of course, DayStar is not the only one developing thin-film solar technologies. Other companies, such as Austin, Texas-based HelioVolt, which raised $24 million in venture-capital funding Monday, also are forging ahead (see HelioVolt Gets More Cash For Thin Solar).

All Smiles for MEMC

No doubt the execs of solar-wafer maker MEMC Electronic Materials will be celebrating this weekend after the company's stock surged almost 20 percent to a 52-week high.

On Thursday, the St. Peters, Mo.-based company reported a sharp rise in its third-quarter net income to $151.5 million, or 65 cents per share, up from $91.1 million or $0.40 per share in the same quarter last year.

While the company's gross margin dropped to $238.8 million from $245.6 million last quarter as a result of a power outage at its Pasadena, Texas, facility, that news didn't faze Wall Street.

MEMC offered a fourth-quarter revenue guidance of $540 million to $545 million.

Also Thursday, the company also announced it signed a deal to sell an additional $800-million worth of wafers to Taiwan's Gintech Energy Corporation in the next 10 years, bringing the total agreement between the two companies to between $3 billion and $4 billion through 2017.

The same day, MEMC said it struck a 10-year deal to sell $7 billion to $8 billion worth of wafers to German solar company Conergy.

Investors showed their affection for the company's news by pushing MEMC shares up $11.78 to close at $71.08.

But MEMC customer Conergy didn't fare so well this week. Shares plunged 30 percent to €37.19 (about $59.43) during afternoon trading Friday after the company lowered its outlook.