After several years’ worth of cloudy skies, solar stocks may finally be finding their place in the sun. We have finally hit the inflection point with regards to solar installations and technology. In many areas, costs for solar — without subsidies — are now on par with other more traditional energy means. As a result, renewables are quickly gaining on market share from fossil fuels.
According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), investments in renewable energy sources grew 55% from 2010 to 2018. More importantly, the agency predicts that 65% of all global energy spending will come from renewables like solar by 2030.
For solar stocks, this is great news. No wonder why the Invesco Solar ETF (NYSEARCA:TAN) is up nearly 60% year to date.
The long-term is very bright for solar stocks as well. With more money allocated towards renewables, the sector is finally poised to be a real moneymaker for investors. And there’s still plenty of time to cash in on the biggest trends out there. For investors, the time to add solar stocks is now.
With that, the sun is shinning for these three solar stocks today.
Solar Stocks to Buy: First Solar, Inc. (FSLR)
If you’re going buy a single solar stock, it has to be kingpin First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR). The firm has been at the forefront of several key shifts in the industry that continues to this day.
FSLR started out as a maker of very efficient solar panels with some of the highest rates of sun-to-energy conversion around. This advanced technology served it well with many utility-scale solar producers.
When the glut of cheaply-made Chinese panels hit the market a few years ago, FSLR switched gears into being a producer of full-scale solar plants for utilities. The firm has managed to see plenty of rising revenues from key utility customers.
During the last reported quarter, FSLR managed to see its revenues jump 89% as the solar firm was able to see a great combination of rising production and growing bookings from utilities. First Solar’s new Series 6 panel — which promises high efficiency coupled with low costs — surged, while new bookings pushed FSLR’s backlog to 12.9 GW.
The strong first half of the year performance, as well as continued demand from utility and residential customers, has allowed FSLR to boost its already impressive guidance for the rest of the year. The firm now expects to pull as much as $3.7 billion in revenues and EPS near $2.75 on the high end.
Adding in its strong balance sheet to its key leadership position, FSLR is one of the best solar stocks to buy for the long haul.
To win in solar, it takes plenty of scale. This is especially true when it comes to residential solar installers. Putting solar panels on the roofs of consumers is a relatively low-margined business. It takes scale to clip small revenues from each one. Luckily for Sunrun (NASDAQ:RUN) it’s building that scale in a big way.
RUN is now the largest residential solar installer serving more than 255,000 customers and employing more than 1,700 MW worth capacity. Because of this surge in customers and installed wattage, RUN’s revenues have sacked upped. Over the last three years, the firm’s sales have surged by over 108%.
Here’s where it gets interesting for RUN. One of the problems for many residential customers is that they often don’t have the cash up-front to pay for new systems. In this, Sunrun will often lease the systems to consumers. In that regard, RUN actually owns the panels on your roof. In order to make that happen, RUN needs to take out financing.
If that sounds familiar, that’s exactly what Tesla’s (NASDAQ:TSLA) SolarCity did. But unlike TSLA — which is having troubles — RUN is actually seeing sales rise in a big way that’s allowing to service its debts with ease.
While it’s a riskier solar stock play, RUN makes an interesting addition to a portfolio to play the rise in residential solar installations.
Israel is often ignored by investors, which is a real shame. The nation has long-been a technology and healthcare powerhouse that extends into the solar sector, with SolarEdge (NASDAQ:SEDG) being a top solar stock to buy. The key is in its products.
SEDG doesn’t make panels — which can be fraught with wild price swings. What it does do is make various components needed to make solar power work. Solar panels produce direct current (DC) electricity. However, the grid and household devices use alternating current (AC) electricity. In order to get energy from a solar panel, you need to use a device called an inverter. It’s here that SolarEdge shines.
The firm’s inverter products not only convert energy from DC to AC, but also optimize power output from panels and boost efficiency. This allows installers and consumers to get a bit more from their installations. You get a product you need that is better than the standard.
Customers love it. SolarEdge reported record revenues in its last quarter — growing more than 20%. This follows its streak of record results. Meanwhile, this niche of providing needed components has allowed SEDG to be profitable as well — a rarity among the solar names.
The best part is that SEDG has the potential to keep the growth going. Aside from solar, the firm has moved into providing renewable energy storage products as well as other inverter items for wind energy. Using the same model for solar, SolarEdge is poised to win here as well.
At the time of writing, Aaron Levitt did not have a position in any of the stocks mentioned.