If there is one sector that continues to grow at a huge percentage rate, it is the clean technology sector. While the final figures for 2014 are still coming in, the overall numbers are stunning. A new report from Cowen points out that the firm expects 25% growth in solar in 2015, largely coming from the United States, China, Japan and some emerging market countries. The analysts expect the final solar capital expenditures for 2014 to be a staggering $3.1 billion, and that is up from the 2013 lows of just $1.5 billion. They see 2015 exploding up to $5.2 billion, or 69%, with the bulk of the capacity additions in China.
Any way you slice it, the numbers compared with other sectors are impressive. While the top stocks to buy are far more volatile than other growth stocks, the future returns may be much better if the trends can continue. Cowen analysts are focused on four stocks to buy as they await all the final numbers for 2014: Amtech Systems Inc. (NASDAQ: ASYS), SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE), Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) and SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR).
This company manufactures capital equipment, including silicon wafer handling automation, thermal processing and ion implant equipment and related consumables used in fabricating solar cells, LED and semiconductor devices. Its wafer handling, thermal processing and consumable products currently address the diffusion, oxidation and deposition steps used in the fabrication of solar cells, LEDs, semiconductors, MEMS and the polishing of newly sliced silicon wafers. While earnings were less than expected, the company recently received large orders from China and Japan.
The Cowen price target for Amtech stock is $15. The Thomson/First Call consensus price target is higher at $16.63. Shares close Thursday at $9.57.
One of the top cleantech picks at Cowen, SunEdison is widely recommend around other Wall Street firms as well. The company manufactures solar technology and develops, finances, installs and operates distributed solar power plants, delivering predictably priced electricity and services to its residential, commercial, government and utility customers. SunEdison also provides 24/7 asset management, monitoring and reporting services for hundreds of solar systems worldwide via the company’s Renewable Operation Center.
SunEdison and its yieldco TerraForm Power signed a definitive agreement in November to acquire First Wind for a total sum of $2.4 billion. The combined entity becomes one of the largest clean energy companies in the world. With the cash generation potential of SunEdison due to the multitude of positive corporate moves becoming increasingly clear, the Cowen analysts’ sum-of-the-parts-based value above $30 a share seems very realistic.
Cowen’s price target is $33, versus the $28 consensus target. The stock closed Thursday at $21.15 a share.
China’s largest profitable panel manufacturer is also a global leader in photovoltaic (PV) modules, solutions and services and a top company based in China for investors to consider. Founded in 1997 as a PV system integrator, Trina Solar today drives smart energy together with installers, distributors, utilities and developers worldwide. The Cowen analysts see the company very well positioned for share gains here and in the U.K. project sales. They see those gains starting very soon this year.
The Cowen price target is $15, but the consensus estimate is higher at $16.41. Trina Solar shares closed Thursday at $10.66.
This company offers solar power products, including panels, balance of system components and inverters. It also designs, manufactures and sells high-performance rooftop and ground-mounted solar power systems, as well as utility-scale PV power plants. In addition, the company offers operations and maintenance services, including remote monitoring, preventative and corrective maintenance services, as well as rapid-response outage restoration and inverter repair services.
The Cowen analysts see a yieldco as highly likely with a strategic partner and a potential key for the company to monetize retained projects that represent as much as 600 megawatts. They also think new capacity in the spring can be a catalyst for the company.
The Cowen price objective is $46, and the consensus target is lower at $39. The stock closed trading on Thursday at $28.22.
Many of these top stocks traded down as oil plummeted, a correlation many on Wall Street see little connection to. With margins coming off lows, and policy risk lessening, the Cowen team sees huge growth potential in the United States, Asia and the United Kingdom.