NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - Feb 14, 2013) - After struggling through most of 2012, the solar industry has started 2013 on an impressive run. Both the Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (KWT) and the Guggenheim Solar ETF (TAN) have gained nearly 20 percent year-to-date. Research Driven Investing examines investing opportunities in the Solar Industry and provides equity research on Advanced Energy Industries, Inc. (NASDAQ: AEIS) and MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE: WFR).
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Solar companies received a boost last week after analysts from Citigroup's global solar sector research team initiated coverage on several companies in the industry. First Solar, Inc. and SunPower Corp. were the biggest gainers after receiving an initial "buy" rating from Citi, while Trina Solar Ltd. and Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. benefited from a "neutral" rating.
"The upstream segment of the solar value chain is going through a permanent structural shift -- mainly the commoditization of the panel manufacturing business," wrote Citigroup analyst Shahriar Pourreza.
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Advanced Energy is a global leader in reliable power conversion solutions used in thin-film plasma manufacturing processes and solar energy generation. The company reported sales in the fourth quarter increased slightly year-over-year to $113.0 million in the fourth quarter. Citigroup has recently initiated coverage on the company with a "buy" rating. Shares of Advanced Energy have gained over 25 percent year-to-date.
With R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe and Asia, MEMC enables the next generation of high performance semiconductor devices and solar cells. Through its SunEdison subsidiary, MEMC is also a developer of solar power projects and a worldwide leader in solar energy services. The company reported its net loss shrunk to $11.8 million in the fourth quarter, compared to a net loss of $1.48 billion a year ago.
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