(Solar winners story updated for Q-Cells commentary)
NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Solar stocks experienced a surge on election results in Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel's party suffered big losses, and with the German electorate citing anti-nuclear energy policy as a primary issue. The long-term implications of the Green Party election victories in Germany have to be viewed as a positive for green energy, but there are important short-term solar sector catalysts that could take away from the one-day surge in the days and weeks to come.
In the superficial rendering of German politics, Merkel's CDU party is the long-time friend of nuclear energy, and every time a new round of debate comes up over solar incentives in Germany, the solar industry has positioned the issue as "the nuclear lobby versus green energy."
There's some truth to this divide, according to solar analysts, and in the least it means that political debate becomes more favorable for renewables with energy policy and anti-nuclear sentiment clearly on the ascendant as talking points in German politics.One particularly painful loss for Merkel's Christian Democrats came in the key industrial state of Baden-Wuerttemberg, where the Green Party unseated the conservative side of the German political spectrum, which had ruled for the past six decades. In a sign of how important the nuclear issue was in the German elections, after the losses at the polls Chancellor Merkel said that the seven nuclear reactors that were taken offline for safety checks probably would not ever come back on line. As the Japanese nuclear crisis emerged, Merkel shut down seven of Germany's 17 nuclear plants and placed a moratorium on plans to extend the lifetime of nuclear plants, a move that was seen by critics as a campaign season flip-flop by Merkel and an attempt to avoid the election losses that her party ultimately suffered. Jefferies noted that 45% of German voters polled put energy/environment policy as the most important criteria for their voting decision. There were also mass protests of as much as 200,000 to 250,000 people demonstrating across Germany on Saturday against nuclear power. Jefferies also noted that the state of Baden-Wuerrtemberg, where the Greens achieved their historic victory, now owns 45% of Germany's third largest utility, after a "rushed acquisition decision in December which saw Baden-Wuerrtemberg purchase the French utility EdF's 45% stake in EnBW as rumours spread that EdF was going to sell its stake to Gazprom.... This leaves the Green Party in a very good position to close permanently the four nuclear power stations of EnBW and to influence its energy policy." All solar stocks, from the German solar manufactures to the Chinese and U.S. solar companies, rallied on Monday after the German election results. German solar companies Conergy, Q-Cells, Solon and Solarworld were all up on Monday, with one-day returns between 8% and 12%, and Conergy leading the way. Q-Cells is scheduled to release its earnings on Tuesday.
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