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Itron, Inc. (ITRI - Analyst Report) and ZBB Energy Corporation along with their associates have provided an update on the earlier-announced project. The project has been designed to demonstrate the combined value of a photovoltaic (PV) energy source and the integration of energy storage system.

The location for the venture in Southern Calif. has been confirmed but is yet to be revealed publicly. The confirmation of the site opens the way for the commencement of the project.

Partly financed by California Solar Initiative Research, Development, Deployment and Demonstration Program (CSI RD&D), the project involves the integration of storage technologies at the chosen site.

The partners of the project are optimistic about the long-term procurement goals relating to energy storage and its imminent realization. The project is expected to be commissioned this summer.

Itron, in Feb 2013, reported adjusted earnings per share of $3.62 for fiscal 2012 compared with $4.19 recorded in fiscal 2011. Total revenues for the year fell 10.5% year over year to $2.178 billion on unfavorable impact from foreign currency translation.

Our View

Restructuring of Itron’s manufacturing operations comprising project closure, consolidation of several manufacturing facilities and curtailment of global workforce will have positive impact on its earnings.

Concurrently, the acquisition of SmartSynch will enable Itron to strengthen its position in the integrated cellular network market and provide the customers with wider choice across the spectrum of smart metering. However, the completion of the OpenWay projects is expected to impact revenues negatively in the next few quarters.

Liberty Lake, Wash-based Itron produces electricity, gas, water, and heat meters, data collection and utility software solutions along with various other associated metering products for residential, commercial and industrial, and transmission and distribution customers.

Itron currently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

National Instruments Corporation (NATI - Snapshot Report) and Ametek Inc. (AME - Analyst Report) also belong to the electrical equipment industry and carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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