Investment Underground took a look at 6 alternative energy stocks that will benefit from the hit taken by nuclear after Japan's earthquake. While we do like Exelon (NYSE:EXC), as we wrote here, investors should consider the 6 stocks below for diversification into the alternative energy space:
Evergreen Solar (ESLR): Evergreen makes solar panels and has achieved subsidy-driven growth to $300+ million in revenue. Evergreen's future depends on whether the costs of alternatives reach parity with market prices from non-subsidized commodities. The company will get a huge boost should its String Ribbon automated manufacturing process show results on the cost front. Shares are worth $5.50 apiece assuming Evergreen can get its fiscal house in order over the next 12 months.
First Solar, Inc (NASDAQ:FSLR): In its latest quarter, this fast growing name reported a slight drop in revenues but the company maintained gross margins north of 45%. The company has a large backlog of business in North America. While the company has succeeded in penetrating the major European markets, growth will likely slow as maximum subsidized capacity is reached. If the company can continue improving on cost efficiences at 3-5% per year and capture market share in burgeoning Chinese and U.S. markets we think shares will be worth 200 apiece on a discounted basis by year-end.
Veolia Environment ADR (VE): Veolia continues to improve with revenue in its environmental services group increasing 7% and energy services revenue increasing 8%. Veolia provides the technical skill to address the needs of urban and emerging markets. The company does a good job of partnering with the public sector in a manner similar to defense contractors to supply waste removal and clean water and infrastructure for this capacity. Shares are worth $38 apiece on a discounted basis assuming a 6% growth rate and expansion of operating margins to 10% as the company signs longer-term contracts which are more lucrative.
SunPower Corp. (SPWRA): SunPower recently rode large-scale project build-outs in Italy to record sales of $937 million and 14% margins. SunPower has the more technologically advanced panels using electricity per panel as a gauge. The company has a cost-reduction plan which anticipates lowering costs to $1 per watt by 2014. Shares are worth $22 apiece on a dcf basis using an 11% cost of equity.
Yingli Green (NYSE:YGE): Yingli is the lowest-cost solar panel maker. The Chinese solar market is key, as China will likely be the leader in solar generation installations over the next several years. Yingli will be a "preferred" player and will benefit handsomely as long as it can keep costs in check. Shares are worth $15 per ADR in our estimation, assuming sales growth of 25% over the next several years.
We also think diversifying into green energy ETFs can be smart move given the outlook on the nuclear industry moving forward, as we wrote about here. Check out the Market Vectors Global Alternative Energy ETF (NYSEARCA:GEX). The ETF seeks to replicate the Ardour Global Index (AGIXLT). Of the 31 holdings, the top five are First Solar (FSLR), Vestas Wind Systems (OTCPK:VWDRY), Cree (NASDAQ:CREE), Enel Green Power (EGPW) and MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR). The breakdown is alternative energy sources (68.8%), environmental efficiency (18.7%), environmental technology (8.0%) and enabling technology (4.5%). The NAV is $21.05, and the fund has $143.3 million in net assets. The net expense ratio is 0.62%. The fund was formed in May 2007.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.