What happened

For the longest time, analysts at GLJ Research, a group with a confirmed bent toward solar energy research, has been skeptical of valuations among the major solar energy stocks. That is, until today. Today, GLJ finally found a solar stock it likes, and shares of Canadian Solar (NASDAQ:CSIQ) are rising on account of it -- up 10.5% as of 12:50 p.m. EDT.

This is surprising for a couple of reasons.

Woman in a hard hat holding a solar panel

Can this analyst interest you in buying a solar stock? Image source: Getty Images.

So what

First of all, it's surprising because GLJ Research has been on record casting doubt over solar stocks for so long. In a note back in October for example, the research organization warned that investors would be disappointed by solar demand in China in the fourth quarter of 2019 and all through 2020, and warned furthermore that "as goes China, as goes the global solar market (and prices with it)."  

It's also surprising because despite these misgivings, Canadian Solar stock in particular has gone on a tear, rising more than 22% over the past year and outperforming the S&P 500 in consequence. The fact that GLJ has decided to endorse Canadian Solar stock after it has run so much higher suggests the analyst is strongly convinced the run is not yet done.

Now what

Is GLJ right about that? The analyst argues that Canadian Solar benefits from a low cost of production and has a strong pipeline of orders ahead of it awaiting fulfillment. And despite already being listed on the Nasdaq, Canadian Solar is also apparently planning an IPO in China, which could add demand for the shares from a second market.

Perhaps most importantly, though, at a recent valuation of just 7.2 times earnings, and with a recent turn to positive free cash flow ($309 million in real cash profits generated last year, according to data from S&P Global Market Intelligence), Canadian Solar stock presents a "very attractive valuation."

Even after its run-up, it looks like there's still value to be found in this solar stock.

This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis -- even one of our own -- helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.