Solar Sector Up on Upgrades, EPA Greenhouse Gas Ruling

Shares of solar energy stocks were up Monday, as the U.S.Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared greenhouse gases (GHGs)a danger to public health and an analyst upgraded a number of solarcompanies.

In April, the EPA had announced a proposed finding, stating that thesix main GHGs endanger public health and welfare. (For more discussionof that announcement and the formulation of U.S. climate policy, see mypost here.)After a period of public comment and review, the proposed “endangermentfinding,” as it has come to be known, was today adopted by the EPA. Thefinding paves the way for the agency to regulate GHG emissions, anoutcome many observers believe to be less preferable than acap-and-trade approach developed by Congress.

In her announcement, the agency’s Administrator, Lisa Jackson,noted: “These long overdue findings cement 2009’s place in history asthe year when the U.S. government began addressing the challenge ofgreenhouse-gas pollution and seizing the opportunity of clean-energyreform.”

Meanwhile, Barclays Capital analyst Vishal Shah raised his ratingson JA Solar Holdings (JASO), SunPower Corporation (SPWRA) and SuntechPower Holdings (STP). Shah cited future demand in Germany, Italy, theU.S., china and Canada could drive sector growth — to as many as 9.3gigawatts (gWs) in 2010, versus previous expectations of 7.3 gW for thesame time period.

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