Solar energy may have had its ups and downs over the last few years, but it appears that more people than ever are turning to the sun to provide power for their homes and businesses. Growth in solar is forecasted to continue growing - according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), utility-scale solar installations will grow approximately 40% between year-end 2013 and year-end 2015. The Alternative Energy Outlook 2014 Early Release Report, also by the EIA, also predicts growth in home solar installations. Meanwhile, the solar sector is adding jobs rapidly, to the tune of 20% growth in the last 14 months.
New technology and installation models for solar energy may help add to growth for years to come. For example, MIT scientists are working to create solar panels that incorporate carbon nanotubes to use more of the sun's light to create energy. Meanwhile, companies like SolarCity Corp (Nasdaq:SCTY), based in San Mateo, CA, offer new leasing and installation models for individuals looking to install solar panels.
In fact, in the last year, small cap solar companies have been doing quite well. Since the last time we covered the solar market, many of the companies from our previous small cap stocks list have grown large enough to be considered mid cap stocks. Solar City closed last March 15 at $16.74, but closed January 27th at $69.99, down $0.32 for the day. Its 52-week trading range is $14.15 - $79.86, and its market cap is $6.01 billion - quite a bit larger than just 9 months ago.
Canadian Solar Inc. (Nasdaq:CSIQ), based in Ontario, Canada, is another solar stock success story. This international small cap company offers the highest PTC ratings for their photovoltaic (PV) modules, topping out at 91.90%. The PTC rating is praised for being a "realistic" measure of PV output - the higher the rating, the higher the on-site energy production, which means a faster return on investment. CSIQ closed January 27th at $37.41, up $0.42, with a market cap of $1.7 billion. Its 52-week trading range is $3.12 - $43.60.
In our last article on solar companies' stock, we discussed the global oversupply of solar panels. Part of this was due to China's "excess capacity." This year, however, the country is reducing production by supporting only a limited number of companies. One company that will continue receiving support is Baoding, China-based Yingli Green Energy Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE). The company creates PV cells, modules and systems, covering the enter product chain. The last time we checked in on YGE on March 15, 2013, it closed at $2.47. On January 27th, YGE closed at $6.05, up $0.35, with a market cap of $964.56 million. Its 52-week trading range is $1.62 - $8.77.
The global outlook on solar appears to be sunny indeed. Investors looking for a tech investing opportunity can still get in on solar companies stocks, as it appears that the industry still has plenty of room to grow.