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Two Solar IPOs Imminent

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Two solar companies have filed for IPOs, and will be added to the crowded list of solar companies that trade on US stock exchanges

Specialized Technology Resources (NYSE: STRI), which makes materials that protect solar cells inside a panel, plans to go public November 6 on the NY Stock Exchange. The company hopes to raise $212 million with shares priced between $13-$15.

Protective layers in solar panels are important for their durability and manufacturer warranties, which are typically 20-25 years. STR also offers quality testing, audit and inspection services to retailers, raw material makers and manufacturers.

Although STR isn’t a well known solar name, it’s been around since 1944 making encapsulants under the PhotoCap brand name. Customers include First Solar, SunPower, BP Solar, United Solar Ovonic and almost 100 others around the world. It sold about 2.5 GW of encapsulants in 2008 and says 2009 production should reach 6.4 GW, a 36% share of the global market. STR has 3 factories in the US, Spain and Malaysia.

For the first six months of 2009, STR made a profit of $6.2 million on $118 million in sales, down from $16 million on $137 million in sales during the same period last year.

Trony Solar

The other solar company readying for its IPO is Trony Solar (NYSE: TRO), also on the NYSE. Trony, based in China, wants to raise $200 million; it hasn’t set share prices yet.

The company says it makes amorphous-silicon solar panels at a cost of $1.15 a watt at its 115 MW factory. Trony’s revenue grew 81% in the last quarter and profits grew 62%.

Trony was founded in 1993 to make thin film batteries in 1995. It moved into off-grid solar in 2006, and is now expanding into grid-tied solar.

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