3 US Renewable Energy Stocks

These US companies could benefit from the vast spending on renewables and infrastructure announced by President Biden

Vikram Barhat 6 May, 2021 | 12:23AM
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Wind Farm

The need for carbon reduction and efforts to counter climate change have never felt more urgent. Leading from the front, the Biden administration is working with allies including Japan, Korea and Canada to boost carbon emission reduction targets, while considering policy options to meet that goal by 2030. 

A significant part of the effort to combat global warming is geared towards lowering dependence on fossil fuel and replacing it with renewable energy. A report from the International Energy Agency (IEA) forecasts renewables to account for 95% of the net increase in global power capacity through 2025, as cost reductions and sustained policy support continue to drive strong renewables growth. If you’d like to participate in the space, keep an eye on these stocks. 

Evergy 

 

Ticker

EVRG

 

Current yield:

3.27%

 

Forward P/E:

18.52

 

Price

$63

 

Fair value:

$58

 

Value

Above FV

 

Moat

Narrow

 

Moat Trend

Stable

 

Star rating

**

Data as of May 5, 2021

US regulated electric utility Evergy operates and owns 94% of the 1,200 MW Wolf Creek nuclear plan in Kansas. While coal and natural gas supply over 50% of total sales, Evergy gets about 27% of its power from renewables, mostly wind, making it one of the largest wind energy suppliers in the US. 

The utility’s five-year $9.2 billion Sustainability Transformation Plan (STP) includes $3 billion of transmission investment and $675 million of renewables, both of which have tax and other incentives in President Biden’s US$2 trillion infrastructure investment plan, says a Morningstar equity report. 

“Even if Biden fails to advance his plan, the administration’s focus on infrastructure will provide a tailwind for the STP investments,” says Morningstar equity analyst Charles Fishman, adding that the regulated utility boasts a solid balance sheet, significant investment opportunities in wind energy and transmission, and more flexibility to meet environmental requirements. Fishman recently raised the stock’s fair value (FV) from $57 to $58, prompted by Biden's infrastructure plans. 

First Solar 

 

Ticker

FSLR

 

Current yield:

-

 

Forward P/E:

17.79

 

Price

$74

 

Fair value:

$64

 

Value

Above FV

 

Moat

None

 

Moat Trend

Stable

 

Star rating

**

Data as of May 5, 2021

Sustainable energy giant First Solar is the world's largest manufacturer of thin-film, solar panels. The company designs and makes photovoltaic panels, modules, and systems for use in utility-scale development projects. It has production lines in Vietnam, Malaysia, and Ohio.

As lower costs and tougher environmental regulations drive global solar market growth, First Solar has narrowed its strategic focus to the US, Europe, and India. “Government policies, corporate demand, and robust project development industries in these regions make these the world's most attractive solar markets,” says a Morningstar equity report, adding that the firm’s US manufacturing base also gives it an advantage winning contracts.

First Solar differentiates itself on cost and conversion efficiency. “First Solar has long been a cost and efficiency leader with its thin-film panels,” says Morningstar sector strategist Travis Miller, but cautions that the company must stay ahead of a growing competition by continuing to lower panel costs while increasing efficiency.

Virtually all of First Solar’s 2021 and half of its 2022 production is sold out. Therefore, the solar-panel maker’s growth depends on its ability to expand production. However, “bookings will have to pick up in 2021 and 2022 to justify another round of production capacity expansion,” says Miller, who pegs the stock’s fair value at $64. 

NextEra Energy 

 

Ticker

NEE

 

Current yield:

1.95%

 

Forward P/E:

31.35

 

Price

$73.78

 

Fair value:

$75

 

Value

Below FV

 

Moat

Narrow

 

Moat Trend

Stable

 

Star rating

***

Data as of May 5, 2021

NextEra Energy (NEE) provides power to roughly 5 million customers in Florida. The firm’s regulated utility, Florida Power & Light (FP&L), accounts for roughly 60% of the group's operating earnings. The renewable energy segment generates and sells power throughout the US and Canada. Its other sources of power generation include natural gas, nuclear, wind, and solar.

“NextEra Energy's high-quality regulated utility in Florida, and a fast-growing renewable energy business, gives investors the best of both worlds: a secure dividend and industry-leading renewable energy growth potential,” says a Morningstar equity report. FP&L aims to generate 10GW of solar by 2030 which will boost solar to 20% of its energy mix.

“Investors will earn an immediate return on those investments under automatic customer rate adjustments,” says Morningstar equity analyst, Andrew Bischof, who puts the stock's fair value at $75, adding that the company plans to pair battery storage with its solar installations.

A large, diversified generation fleet gives this segment scale, cost, and flexibility advantages over smaller rivals. The company’s highly contracted renewable energy business “is well positioned to benefit from our renewable energy growth outlook,” says Bischof, asserting “NextEra has proven to be a best-in-class renewable energy operator and developer.”

 

The information contained within is for educational and informational purposes ONLY. It is not intended nor should it be considered an invitation or inducement to buy or sell a security or securities noted within nor should it be viewed as a communication intended to persuade or incite you to buy or sell security or securities noted within. Any commentary provided is the opinion of the author and should not be considered a personalised recommendation. The information contained within should not be a person's sole basis for making an investment decision. Please contact your financial professional before making an investment decision.

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Securities Mentioned in Article

Security NamePriceChange (%)Morningstar
Rating
Evergy Inc70.57 USD1.45Rating
First Solar Inc72.01 USD5.77Rating
NextEra Energy Inc77.43 USD3.77Rating

About Author

Vikram Barhat  is a Toronto-based financial writer specialising in investing, stock markets, personal finance and other areas of the financial services industry.