The global economy is accelerating its shift toward renewable energy. Not only are these sources cleaner than fossil fuels, but they're also increasingly less expensive options. That's why investors should consider allocating some of their capital to companies focused on this sector.
An easy way to do that is by buying a basket of energy stocks focused on renewables. That will allow an investor to spread their bet around several potential winning options. For example, an investor with $5,000 to invest could split that into $1,000 increments across the following five top renewable stocks.
Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure
Atlantica Sustainable Infrastructure (AY 0.04%) owns a globally diversified portfolio of infrastructure assets backed by long-term, fixed-rate contracts that supply it with predictable income. The company currently gets 69% of its cash flow from renewable energy assets, 15% from electricity transmission and transportation networks, 13% from efficient natural gas power plants, and 3% from water desalination facilities. The company uses the bulk of its stable income to pay a 4.8%-yielding dividend. It allocates the rest to help finance new investments. Atlantica targets to invest $200 million to $300 million per year to expand its portfolio, which should enable it to steadily increase its high-yielding dividend.
Brookfield Renewable (BEP 0.52%) (BEPC 0.29%) is a top global renewable energy producer. The company is a global leader in operating hydroelectric facilities (64% of its cash flow), which it compliments with fast-growing wind (27%) and solar energy (9%) platforms. The company sells the bulk of the power it produces under long-term, fixed-rate contracts, enabling it to generate stable income. Brookfield pays out a portion of its cash flow to support a 3.2%-yielding dividend, reinvesting the rest to continue growing its portfolio. The company anticipates increasing its cash flow at a double-digit annual rate through at least 2025, which should support 5% to 9% annual dividend growth.
First Solar (FSLR 1.09%) is a leading manufacturer of thin-film solar panels, ideal for utility-scale solar energy projects. The company currently has the capacity to manufacture 5.5 gigawatts (GW) of new panels each year. It already has contracts or 12.2 GW of panels, giving it highly visible revenue for the next couple of years. It combines that with a top-notch balance sheet, which features more than $1.2 billion of net cash. That gives it a leg up on its competition, which has more debt than cash. With solar panel demand expected to double over the next five years, First Solar is in an ideal position to capture this growth.
NextEra Energy (NEE 0.69%) is the world's top energy producer from the wind and sun. The utility is on track to grow its lead since it has more development projects than its entire existing renewable portfolio. The company has high visibility into its near-term growth prospects, which it recently boosted and extended. Meanwhile, the company is also an early leader in emerging technologies like battery storage and green hydrogen. Add those factors to its legacy utility operations and 1.9%-yielding dividend, and NextEra is one of the lowest risk ways to invest in the future of energy.
SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG 1.55%) makes power optimizers and inverters that help lower the cost of energy produced by solar panels. Sales of the company's products have been growing at a brisk pace, which will likely continue given the anticipated accelerating growth rate for solar. With costs of panels and battery storage coming down, industry watchers forecast that solar installations will quicken from an average of 10 GW per year in the 2019-2022 timeframe to 18-20 GW per year in between 2023 and 2030. With a cash-rich balance sheet, SolarEdge has the financial flexibility to continue expanding so that it can stay ahead of the technological curve and capture a sizable portion of this growth.
These energy stocks have a bright future
The energy transition has picked up the pace in recent years, thanks to the dramatic decline in costs for new solar panels and wind turbines. Investors seeking exposure to the energy market should therefore put a priority on companies focused on this tailwind. A great way to do that is to buy a basket of high-quality companies focused on renewables like Atlantica, Brookfield Renewable, First Solar, NextEra Energy, and SolarEdge Technologies. All three boast highly visible growth prospects and the financial flexibility to capture those opportunities. That should give these companies the power to generate market-beating total returns for investors who buy and hold for the long haul.