Solar Energy Headed for a Record Year

Global solar installations hit a record in Q1, and 2014 should be a record year. Our solar analyst explains how to invest in the sector now.

Travis Hoium
Travis Hoium
Apr 10, 2014 at 3:57PM
Energy, Materials, and Utilities

2014 is off to a hot start in the solar industry, and Solarbuzz recently projected that 9 GW of solar was installed worldwide in the first quarter, and 50 GW will be installed throughout the year. 

For manufacturers, this will be a huge benefit as they recover from incredibly low pricing and margins. SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), JinkoSolar (NYSE:JKS), and Trina Solar (NYSE:TSL) will be three of the biggest beneficiaries because of their high quality, solid balance sheet, and the fact that they're already profitable. 

But rising panel prices may actually hurt installers. SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY.DL) and SunEdison (NASDAQOTH:SUNEQ) buy materials and panels from other manufacturers, and if demand rises significantly, so can prices. This could pinch their margins even as installations are rising. It's a delicate balancing act among the players in solar, but the rise in installations should be good for everyone. 

In the video below, solar analyst Travis Hoium covers what we should take from first-quarter numbers and where investors should have their money now.