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Tickers in this Article: DD, FSLR, STP, SPWR
Energy has been in focus as oil prices have skyrocketed in recent weeks. So much so that we are starting to get some real signs that a move toward renewable resources is becoming more and more viable. In a good sign for alternative energy, chemical maker DuPont (NYSE:DD) announced on Friday plans to triple its sales of solar energy in the next five years due to expected increases in demand for solar and other renewable sources.

If the DuPont's bet works out it will be a good growth route for a mature stock, and it will mean big rewards for companies that have already put money in the sector. (For more on investing in a market with high oil prices, check out Peak Oil: What To Do When The Wells Run Dry and Clean Or Green Technology Investing.)

DuPont Soaking Up The Rays
First let's talk about the company that spurred this news, DuPont. In the company's most recent quarter ending March 31, net income rose an impressive 26% to $1.19 billion from $945 million the year before. DuPont also saw a nice 10% jump in revenue to $8.58 billion from $7.85 billion. So, the company has been growing at a nice clip on its own.

DuPont is predicting an expansion of its solar revenues, which only accounted for only about $300 million of its $29.38 billion in sales for 2007. Over the next five years, DuPont CEO Charles O. Holliday Jr. stated that he expects the company to more than triple those revenues $1 billion. The company expects to see increased demand for renewable energy sources like solar and ethanol made from sources other than corn. I like DuPont's thinking on this, and I believe it further expansion into these sectors will pay off for the company. Solar has long been considered a great renewable source, but the costs have made many shy away. And corn-based ethanol has seen its troubles with rises in corn prices, but other ethanol sources may become the way. I think this expansion will add even more growth avenues for the company. (For more, see Forces That Move Stock Prices.)

Other Beneficiaries
Other big benefactors of a large boost in solar demand are obviously the pure solar players. These include First Solar (Nasdaq:FSLR), SunTech Power Holdings (NYSE:STP), and SunPower Corporation (Nasdaq:SPWR). First Solar has been the best performer since January, staying relatively flat, while the other have seen big drops in their share prices. First Solar and SunPower trade at massive price-earnings (P/E) multiples on a trailing basis, but their leading P/E multiples are 45 and 23 respectively. SunTech trades the cheapest at a 41 trailing P/E, and is currently at 16 times forward earnings estimates. All three involve risks, but if you want to take big advantage of the potential solar boom, put a little in these names. If you want to play it safer, DuPont is a great name in a great position for future growth and success.

The Bottom Line
A solar boom is coming according to DuPont. The company is looking to grow its solar business to triple its size over the next five years due to increased demand. While solar still won't be a huge position in the company's total revenue, it will be a good addition to the company's overall growth. In addition I believe it is a good time to start looking at the pure solar players and how they will benefit from rises in solar demand.

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