The solar industry might not be a big market as it accounts for merely 2% of the total electricity generated in the U.S. Worldwide, it amounts to a $53 billion industry. But it’s growing like crazy as it is projected to be worth $223.3 billion by 2026. Tesla Inc (NASDAQ: TSLA) attracts a lot of attention even in this industry with its skyrocketing stock price. But Tesla still does not have a history of consistent profits, so many argue that the company is inflated in comparison to its book value, as well as top and bottom lines. As for the EV race, Tesla is well ahead. But, in renewables, Enphase Energy Inc (NASDAQ: ENPH), Brookfield Renewable Partners LP (NYSE: BEP) as well as the recently separated SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ: SPWR) and Maxeon Solar Technologies (NASDAQ: MAXNV) are much better suited to win that race.
Enphase Energy has measurable fundamentals as a supplier for solar energy growth. It supplies micro inverters for solar panels as well as solar system tracking and storage technologies. Since it acquired the microinverter business from SunPower in 2018, Enphase has shown admirable sales and profitability. Its revenue growth has outpaced that of Tesla in the past three years. Moreover, the future looks bright for the business as the International Energy Agency has predicted that solar power generation will grow by an average of 15% per year over the next decade. In addition to its already thriving microinverter business, Enphase also began shipping its Encharge energy-storage systems in June. Therefore, this company can only continue growing with solar growth.
If there’s one aspect that Tesla has failed to turn into a breakthrough, it’s the solar business. After acquiring SolarCity a few years ago, Tesla has shrunk its solar business and hasn’t delivered on the promise that Elon Musk made. But Brookfield Renewable, whose core business is to develop and operate utility-scale renewable energy-generation facilities, is a good solar business. Over the past several years, the company has delivered wonderful returns for investors as it made solar its big priority.
SunPower And Maxeon Solar Technologies – Better Apart?
Solar panel installer SunPower recently began its life independently from the division that used to manufacture the solar panels it installs, which is now called Maxeon Solar Technologies. This was a long-awaited spinoff as it will allow Maxeon to expand its footprint in manufacturing solar panels, while SunPower will further develop solar panels and battery storage systems. Following this separation, shares of SunPower were up almost 24% while Maxeon was up 16.2%. SunPower CEO Tom Werner elaborated that split is aimed to allow both companies to specialize in programs that will unlock their growth and future profitability.
Besides the cost advantage, there is the regulatory support that is fueling the sector. Already 28 states have set CO2 emission reduction targets and 23 states have signed the U.S. Climate Alliance pledge to reduce emissions by 28% by 2025. If Biden wins, the skies look much brighter than if Trump remains president for four more years. But at this point, the solar industry does not even need the federal government’s support to thrive. Just like the Sun itself, its unstoppable.
During the first quarter of this unprecedented year, residential solar installations hit a record high. Last year, solar accounted for 40% of all new power capacity. It is growing because it is now competitive with traditional energy sources. The cost of solar energy has plunged 90% over the past decade. Moreover, the price of residential solar power is projected to fall another 17% over the upcoming five years. SunPower, Enphase, and Brookfield Renewable Partners may not have Tesla’s flamboyancy and skyrocketing stock price, but they’re still great companies with a great runway for growth.
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