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Investors go green

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16/11/2007

The upsurge of oil prices to more than $90 a barrel has focused investor interest on alternative power generation technology, according to Gartmore.
The asset management firm has identified a number of organisations based in emerging markets that are exploring applications that allow the conversion of energy from the sun into electricity. Such technology is relatively expensive to produce, but it is pollution-free and low cost to operate.

Government targets and subsidies are available in countries such as South Korea, Japan, Germany and the US, for companies operating in such areas. Many of these schemes offer pre-agreed tariffs for energy produced and fed back into a national grid system from renewable sources.

Chris Palmer, head of global emerging markets at Gartmore, said: “There are a lot of players in the solar technology arena. We recently added Suntech Power Holdings, China’s largest solar cell module maker, to our emerging market funds. Suntech has a long track record and the lowest non-silicon manufacturing costs of its peers. We believe it also has a significant intellectual property advantage with its ‘Pluto’ initiative. This technology offers the prospect of introducing higher energy conversion efficiency into the generation process.”

Both the Gartmore Emerging Markets Opportunities Fund and the Gartmore SICAV Emerging Markets Fund hold Motech Industries, Taiwan’s largest solar cell producer, and Korean construction materials company KCC, currently preparing for mass production of polysilicon, the material used in solar cell production.

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