The alternative energy sector is comprised of companies that engage in the generation, distribution, and sale of renewable and clean energy, as well as related products and services. Examples of alternative energy sources include solar, wind, hydroelectric, and geothermal. The growing list of names in the sector includes companies like Israel-based SolarEdge Technologies Inc. (SEDG), Brazil-based Companhia Energetica de Minas Gerais CEMIG (CIG), and First Solar Inc. (FSLR). Alternative energy stocks, as represented by the iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN), have dramatically outperformed the broader market, posting a total return of 75.9% compared to the Russell 1000's total return of 33.4% over the past 12 months. These market performance numbers and all statistics throughout are as of March 8, 2021.

Here are the top 3 alternative energy stocks with the best value, the fastest earnings growth, and the most momentum.

Best Value Alternative Energy Stocks

These are the alternative energy stocks with the lowest 12-month trailing price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio. Because profits can be returned to shareholders in the form of dividends and buybacks, a low P/E ratio shows you’re paying less for each dollar of profit generated.

Best Value Alternative Energy Stocks

 
Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing P/E Ratio
Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. ( AQN.TO) CA$19.31 CA$11.6 10.6
Canadian Solar Inc. ( CSIQ) 39.61 2.3 11.5
SunPower Corp. ( SPWR) 29.09 5.0 12.0

Source: YCharts

  • Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp.: Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. is a Canada-based company that owns a portfolio of power generation and infrastructure assets in North America. Algonquin owns renewable energy, thermal energy, and water distribution and waste-water facilities. The company reported an 11.9% year-over-year (YOY) increase in revenue for Q4 2020, as well as 193.0% YOY growth in net earnings attributable to shareholders. In Q4 Algonquin surpassed 1 million customer connections for the first time, thanks in part to the acquisition of two new regulated utilities in Chile and Bermuda.
  • Canadian Solar Inc.: Canadian Solar is a Canada-based solar power company that designs, manufactures, and sells solar module products that convert sunlight into electricity.
  • SunPower Corp.: SunPower Corp. is an integrated solar products, systems and services company that sells primarily to residential and commercial customers worldwide. For Q4 2020, ended January 3, 2021, SunPower reported that net income soared by about 68-fold year-over-year (YOY) even as revenue fell 14.9%. The company's massive earnings growth is due in part to a significant increase in the value of its equity holdings. These unrealized equity gains are counted as part of SuPower's net income.

Fastest Growing Alternative Energy Stocks

These are the alternative energy stocks with the highest YOY earnings per share (EPS) growth for the most recent quarter. Rising earnings show that a company’s business is growing and is generating more money that it can reinvest or return to shareholders.

Fastest Growing Alternative Energy Stocks

 
Price ($) Market Cap
($B)
 
EPS Growth (%)
SunPower Corp. (SPWR) 29.09 5.0 6,830
General Electric Co. ( GE) 14.17 124.2 350.0
Daqo New Energy Corp. ( DQ) 72.04 5.0 285.7

Source: YCharts

  • SunPower Corp.: See company description above.
  • General Electric Co.: General Electric Co. is a global technology and financial services company. In addition to power generation and water processing products, the company also makes aircraft engines and medical imaging machines. In February, the company and partner Luxcara announced that it they had agreed to deliver 753 MW of onshore wind capacity to a wind farm in northern Sweden. The project would be the largest single onshore wind farm in Europe as well as GE's largest onshore wind farm contract outside of the U.S.
  • Daqo New Energy Corp.: Daqo New Energy is a China-based solar energy company that manufactures polysilicon for sale to manufacturers of solar cells and modules.

Alternative Energy Stocks with the Most Momentum

These are the alternative energy stocks that had the highest total return over the last 12 months.

Alternative Energy Stocks with the Most Momentum

 
Price ($) Market Cap ($B) 12-Month Trailing Total Return (%)
SunHydrogen Inc. ( HYSR) 0.11 0.3 1,630
Plug Power Inc. ( PLUG) 38.11 22.5 780.1
ReneSola Ltd. ( SOL) 10.0 0.7 687.4
Russell 1000 N/A N/A 33.4
iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN) N/A N/A 75.9

Source: YCharts

  • SunHydrogen Inc.: SunHydrogen is a solar energy services company that uses sunlight and water to produces renewable hydrogen, regarded by many experts as the greenest of all fuels. This renewable hydrogen could sharply boost supplies of renewable electricity. In February, the company announced a partnership with SCHMID Group of Germany to create a process platform to enable the mass manufacturing of its Gen 2 NanoParticle hydrogen panels.
  • Plug Power Inc.: Plug Power designs, manufactures, and sells fuel cell systems used in electric lift trucks and other equipment. The company serves customers in retail, grocery, manufacturing, and food distribution worldwide. On February 25, the company announced that it had completed a $1.6 billion capital investment in partnership with SK Group to accelerate the use of hydrogen as an alternative energy source in Asian markets. On the same day, Plug Power also announced that it planned to build North America's largest green hydrogen production facility in western New York.
  • ReneSola Ltd.: ReneSola is a China-based global solar power project developer and operator, including offering project financing services and construction management. It also makes solar wafers and modules.

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