5 Year Projection: Here Comes The Sun?

by: Jessica King Holden

On Tuesday the sun had, well, its day in the sun, for lack of a better phrase. Many woke to news of a solar eruption reported, though we on earth were told not to be concerned about any apocalyptic Hollywood type scenarios. Later in the day, the IBISWorld study of the fastest growing industries was released with our star playing a key role in two of the top sectors. On opposite ends of the astral spectrum, IBISWorld highlighted two industries that have a sunny outlook: Solar Panel Manufacturing and Self-Tanning Products.

Solar Panel Manufacturing Expected To Rise

First Solar, Inc. (FSLR) released news Tuesday of its impending layoffs amid a downturn in demand highlighting the recent slide in the sector. A slowdown in subsidies and government initiatives globally coupled with the ever-stingy oil stronghold, have left speculative investors sour on the sector. Despite negative news, IBIS released its projection that solar panel manufacturing will grow moving into 2017. Predictions take the current industry revenue of $4.6 billion to a steady growth of $6.8 billion in five years. Solar is a good hold for now if you've already bought in, hang in. Could taking a position now pay off? SunPower Corporation (SPWR) has recently started to rebound from its 52 week low. ReneSola LTD (SOL) and LDK Solar (LDK) may all offer options from the Chinese markets. Both companies have so far withstood the volatility and remain as one of the few polysilicon manufacturers in China. There are countless other options. In the gladiatorial battle of speculative alternative energy stocks, few remain to get the glory, but those who do are assured quite the prize.

Love The Sun But Don't Get Burned

What the sun provides as a benefit for solar panels can be deadly to the skin. For those not interested in playing the speculative solar energy game, there is a way not to get burned figuratively and perhaps literally. Sunless tanning products made the list of top growth industries propelled by greater awareness of skin cancers and greater availability of beauty products into emerging markets. With skin cancers leading the way in many age demographics, younger generations are turning away from tanning beds and towards a host of self-tanning products. For a little disposable income every few weeks you can look like you've had a weekend in Cabo without the cancer concerns. The sector is expected to grow to a billion dollar a year industry by 2017.

Currently, the $609.3 million industry is led by Kao USA, Inc. of Cincinnati, which houses the Jergen's brand Natural Glow Express. Priced at a budget $8 a bottle and making many "best of" lists, it's no wonder the product made Oprah's Top Self Tanner list. This privately held company is rivaled by other top revenue generators however making the list. L'Oreal (OTCPK:LRLCF) markets its Sublime Glow Daily Moisturizer at a similar price point. Johnson and Johnson (JNJ) offers its Aveeno brand Continuous Radiance Moisturizing Lotion priced at an affordable $15. For a more sophisticated product, Clarins (CLR) offers its Self Tanning Instant Gel valued at $33 a bottle and targeting a more refined customer. Even Victoria's Secret (LTD) is in on the act with its alliterative Beauty Bare Bronze Gleaming Self-Tan Body Tint at $18 a bottle.

Obviously none of these companies offers the pure play speculation in the industry as its solar counterpart does. On a sliding scale of product focus, it is clear that even those companies specializing in dressing up where the sun doesn't shine (Victoria's Secret) see the value in adding self-tanning products to its line. This type of diversification may be an indicator that a retail outlet or over the counter drug manufacturer has room to move in this growing industry.

Weatherman is Forecasting Sun …

After nearly 5 years of economic strife, the American public is hungry for some time in the sun. Be it artificial or alternative, change is good. If it's ushered in with sunny prospects of lower skin cancer rates and less fossil fuel emissions, all the better.

Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.