SunPower looks to solar leases as a bright spot

SunPower, which makes solar panels and develops power generation projects, has seen quick growth of its residential solar lease program since its launch last year. The surge reflects the growing popularity of solar leases in California and elsewhere.

Credit Suisse Concedes Ground on YouTube Costs

Investment bank Credit Suisse, which had garnered major attention for claiming YouTube would lose $470 million this year, and then sustained criticism from infrastructure experts who said it greatly overestimated YouTube’s (s GOOG) costs, has revised its estimates. A little bit.
Now Credit Suisse analysts Spencer Wang and Kenneth Sena say (via Multichannel News and Contentinople) the Google-owned video site will spend $300 million on bandwidth in 2009, down from the $360 million they’d estimated in April, with the lower costs due to YouTube’s use of peering — where large online entities exchange traffic for free.
RampRate, a firm that advises companies on IT costs, in June released a challenge to Credit Suisse’s report saying YouTube’s peering and bandwidth costs would amount to just $75 million in 2009. RampRate also shaved off Credit Suisse’s storage and data center costs for YouTube, though the bank has apparently not made adjustments to those estimates.
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YouTube Infrastructure Costs Vastly Overestimated: Report

YouTube is much closer to breaking even than widely thought, says a firm with intimate knowledge of global infrastructure costs. A widely publicized Credit Suisse report that said Google (s GOOG) would lose $470 million on the site this year neglected to account for factors such as peering traffic, wholesale bandwidth deals and cheap data center locations. Where the bank said YouTube’s costs will amount to $711 million in 2009, RampRate, a San Francisco-based company that advises large companies on IT infrastructure, says the actual cost is $415 million.

YouTube - RampRate vs Credit SuisseGiven Credit Suisse’s revenue estimate for YouTube, that would give the site an operating loss of $174 million this year. If you use other people’s revenue numbers — for instance, Jefferies said $500 million — the site would actually turn a profit.

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Analyst: YouTube Could Lose $470M This Year

A new report by Credit Suisse projects that video-sharing giant YouTube (s GOOG) is on track to lose $470 million this year, writes Multichannel News.
Credit Suisse says YouTube will generate $240 million in revenue, but those revenues will be dwarfed by the $711 million in licensing, hardware, marketing and other expenses the site will incur. About half of that expense will go towards bandwidth, which Credit Suisse pegs at $360 million through the following math:

To arrive at the estimated $360 million bandwidth tab for YouTube, the analysts assumed the site will receive 375 million unique visitors in 2009 and that a maximum of 20% of those users are on the site at any given time. Credit Suisse’s analysis then assumed each user downloads a video at 400 kilobits per second, to yield a peak bit run-rate for YouTube of 30 million megabits per second.

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Are Thin-Film Solar Efficiency Standards Unfair?

Thin-film solar companies are tired of being asked about their conversion efficiency, which is basically the amount of sunlight a panel can convert into electricity. Part of that is because the thin-film manufacturers say the efficiency standard is flawed. And increasingly some thin-film companies are pushing for a new standard.
At a Credit Suisse party last month, John Argo, vice president of operations for Bloo Solar, said he would like to see the formation of an independent body to come up with an objective standard more reflective of the sunlight a panel would get on an average day.
“No standards measure for that,” he said. “It should be possible to come up with an equation to do this.” He argues that what really matters is the total kilowatt-hours a panel produces, not the cost per watt. (This is in contrast to the viewpoints of people like Suntech Power CEO Zhengrong Shi, who has said that cost per watt is the only metric that matters.)
What’s the problem with the current efficiency measurement? Commercially available thin films aren’t as efficient as conventional silicon-based solar cells, at least the way efficiency is measured today. The standard of measurement is based on peak power, or the maximum amount of electricity that a panel can produce in ideal conditions.
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