Why Top Solar Stocks Should Outperform the Stock Market

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With all the gains to date this year being washed away in Tuesday’s sharp sell-off, investors may start to wonder where a good place to have equity money this year will be. In a new report from the analysts at RBC, they remain bullish on the solar sector, and they point out that the TAN, which tracks the MAC Global Solar Energy Index, closed up 11% last week, versus the S&P 500 decline of 1.6%.

With companies supplying strong earnings reports and excitement over the newly created yieldco in the industry, it is easy to see why the RBC team is bullish. While the Chinese stocks outperformed their U.S. peers recently, the analysts have them in their list of top stocks to buy. With the S&P 500 tiring after six years of rally mode, there is a solid chance that solar stocks could outperform the index this year.

Here are the four solar stocks to buy now at RBC. All are rated Outperform.

JA Solar Holdings Co. Ltd. (NASDAQ: JASO) is engaged in the design, development, production, marketing and sale of photovoltaic (PV) solar cells and solar power products based on crystalline silicon technologies. The company’s principal products include monocrystalline and multicrystalline solar cells and modules. It also provides monocrystalline and multicrystalline silicon wafers; solar product processing services; and engineering, procurement and construction services for utility companies and independent power generators.

The RBC price target for the stock is an impressive $13. The Thomson/First Call consensus target is even higher at $14.50. Shares closed trading on Tuesday at $8.75.

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SunEdison Inc. (NYSE: SUNE) is a top U.S. company on the RBC list of stocks to buy. The stock is widely recommended around other Wall Street firms we cover 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 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 sum-of-the-parts-based value above $30 a share seems very realistic.

The RBC price target is set at $33. The consensus target is $30.25. The stock closed Tuesday at $22.17.

SunPower Corp. (NASDAQ: SPWR) and First Solar announced recently plans to jointly form a publicly traded yieldco. Some on Wall Street feel this may make both companies a combined takeover target. SunPower 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 photovoltaic 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 RBC price objective is $36, while the consensus price target is higher at $41.08. The stock closed trading on Tuesday at $32.29.

Trina Solar Ltd. (NYSE: TSL) was up big last week as the company reported strong fourth-quarter earnings and guidance for 2015, in addition to an announcement of spinning off downstream project business. Trina is China’s largest profitable panel manufacturer and is a global leader in 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 now drives smart energy together with installers, distributors, utilities and developers worldwide. Wall Street analysts see the company very well positioned for shares gains here and in the United Kingdom. They also see those gains starting this year.

The RBC price target is at $15. The consensus estimate is higher at $16.39. Shares closed Tuesday at $11.24.

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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 RBC team sees solid growth potential in the United States, Asia and the United Kingdom. There is also the potential for the sector to rise up and outperform the overall stock market as well.