Guys, I’m going to have to cancel this week’s Live Q&A Chat, as I’m leaving for San Francisco for an event I’m attending with Bob Weir, Elon Musk and I’m sure a few other faces and names I might end up recognizing. I’m not sure exactly what it is I’m heading to so I’ll let you know more details after I’ve been on the short strange trip (see what I did there?). Now onto a trade alert.
It looks to me like most solar stocks, at least the decent ones, are trying to bottom here. There has been a steady sell-off in everything solar-related for the last six months and that broad sell-off action is giving us some opportunities here to pick amongst the rubble for some stocks that could thrive in years ahead.
First, let’s review why solar.
The beautiful part of solar energy generation vs crude energy generation is the recurring nature of the source of the energy vs the depletion of the other. The sun shines over and over and over every year. Dinosaurs and ice ages won’t combine for to make new oil supplies on earth for at least another few millennia, so you can’t really consider carbon-based energy to be renewable in any real-time sense. So once you build a solar generation plant, the significant part of the spending to build such recurring revenue generating assets is over. Oil wells, shale oil wells and oil barges and coal mines and so on, all deplete over time and new investment to find new sources is a constant in the carbon-based energy business.
By its very nature then, solar and other renewable energy sources like wind, with their fixed investment and recurring revenue generation models are inherently more viable over the long-term than oil, coal or even plant-based energy sources like ethanol. You have to plant your corn fields and then harvest them and then process them into energy over and over every year forever, right?
Meanwhile, once built you just have to make sure your solar and wind generation plants are maintained but not much more than that. And even here,solar energy has an inherent long-term cost advantage over wind energy. Wind energy requires moving parts on the windmill and inside their motors. Any engineer will tell you that the more movement you have in your product, the more wear and tear and therefore the more costs you’ll have to maintain your product over time. Solar panels move to follow the sun by tilting slightly, but the source of their energy is light and heat, not movement. And that makes solar a better longer-term solution as a renewable source of energy than wind.
So looking out over the next ten to thirty years, I remain as bullish and excited about the upside potential in First Solar and other solar stocks as I have been since we moved into this sector after its bubble had popped and we were able to get into it while sentiment was low and stock prices collapsed. Indeed, we even nailed the popping of the alt-energy bubble by riding A123 and other alt-energy stocks into their bankruptcies as the crash finished itself up. Recall that when I turned bullish on the alt-energy sector, it was in the midst of a wave of bankruptcies in the sector and it just about marked the bottom. Recall that I’m expecting to see a rash of similar bankruptcies in the oil and carbon energy sector in the next year or three before we’ll see energy bottom.
Again though, I won’t be looking to invest in the cyclical carbon energy sector but do plan on continuing to invest in the Revolutionary solar energy sector for the long term.
So with that, I’m looking to add a new solar stock to the portfolio today and to nibble on a little an existing solar position. First, the nibble. I’m nibbling on some more First Solar, adding a 1/5th-sized tranche today.
I’m also adding a 1/3-sized position in Solar Edge common stock.
Solar Edge’s stock is down from above $40 a share a couple years ago, and well below its $30 per share 52-week high set a year ago. Currently trading at $16 per share, the company has nearly $5 per share in net cash.
|SolarEdge Technologies Inc. (SEDG)||($ and shares in millions except for per share values)|
|Total Cash & Investments||$171.3|
|Long-term Net Cash (Debt)||$171.3|
|Net Cash / Share||$4.21|
|Total Market Cap||$651.7|
|(-) Net Cash (Debt)||$171.3|
|Enterprise Value / Share||$11.79|
|FY 2017 Sales Growth Estimate||19.21%|
|FY 2017 Earnings Estimate||$1.73|
|Enterprise Value Multiple||6.8x|
|Financial Health Metrics:|
|Debt / Capitalization||0.0%|
|Debt / EBITDA, Adj (LTM)||0.0x|
|EBIT,Adj (LTM) / Interest Expense (LTM)||N/A|
You know that I don’t often invest in companies outside of the US, and Solar Edge is based in Israel. But you also know that I’m an opportunist when it comes to investing and I do think we’ve got an opportunity to nibble on a very cheap stock that could end up with some real technological advantages in the next few years if the company delivers. The company is expected to grow its topline 10-15% per year for the next couple years at least and should earn $2 or more next year, up about 15-20% from this year. That gives the stock at P/E of just 8. I like buying Revolutionary Stocks when others hate them. Solar is revolutionary and its hated right now. I’m buying some solar.