The big story on renewable energy is great. Faced with dwindling fossil fuel supplies and global warming, of course governments are going to promote renewables. As renewables become more common and the technology they use more accepted, a virtuous circle of economies of scale will set in, driving more widespread adoption, higher returns, and thus further economies of scale. And we'll end up with a world that looks like the Teletubbies' paradise, with turbines turning slowly and solar panels everywhere you look.

So much for the big picture. (Actually, though I have been a bit naughty here, I'm a big believer in renewables - but just as being an early webhead and being able to code html  didn't mean I would buy Freeserve on 1,500 times future earnings, believing in sustainable energy doesn't mean I'm willing to buy pay growth stock multiples.) Unfortunately, the economic crisis seems to have derailed this as it has derailed so many other projects. This spring was notable for a rash of downgrades from renewables companies - in particular, photovoltaics manufacturers who found themselves facing a downturn in new orders - and share prices crashed.

PV Crystalox Solar (PVCS) was one of the companies affected. It's one of the oldest companies in the market - it was the first to develop multicrystalline silicon wafers for the photovoltaic market, back in 1982. It listed in 2007, and has production plants in the UK and Germany - the latter producing wafers by slicing the polysilicon ingots that are made in the UK.

The first warning was made at the time of the 2008 annual results, in March this year, when management warned that the market was in oversupply, with projects being delayed, and the outlook was uncertain. The shares fell 10% on the day, but rose back till in June, the company released an interim management statement reporting a decline in demand.The shares haven't recovered since.

Other solar manufacturers hav also reported poor figures. German solar cell manufacturer Q-cells warned on profits and has reported a fall in Q2 revenues and profitability, with falling prices due to oversupply.

PVCS' interim results showed wafer shipments down 10%. While revenues were broadly maintained, the start-up costs of the new plant at Bitterfeld and currency impacts, together with lower margins as feedstock prices rose, led to a decline in EBIT - from EUR 50.5m to EUR 21.5m as reported, though…

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