In my view, the best energy stocks to invest in now are renewable energy names. First of all, as you’ll see in the next paragraph, the utilization of solar energy and wind energy is ramping up tremendously in the U.S. and Europe. Secondly, while oil stocks could easily tumble tremendously and not recover for many months or even years based on geopolitical events or OPEC’s decisions, such a fate is unlikely to befall renewable energy stocks, given many governments’ tremendous commitment to wind and solar. Moreover, wind and solar have become extremely cheap. And finally, unlike oil, wind and solar are widely used to produce electricity, so they are poised to benefit tremendously from the proliferation of electric vehicles.

In 2022, solar capacity in the U.S. surged to 71 gigawatts, up from 61 gigawatts in 2021, while “wind capacity” increased to 141 gigawatts last year from 133 gigawatts in 2021, according to the International Energy Agency. Moreover, wind is expected to generate 12% of America’s electricity this year, up from 11% last year, while solar will generate 5% of the country’s electricity this year, versus 4% last year, the IEA predicted.

In Europe, wind and solar together generated a record 22% of the continent’s electricity last year, as solar capacity surged 24% year-over-year.  The continent’s wind power increased nearly 9% in 2022, and its solar capacity could triple above its current levels “by 2026,” think tank Ember predicted. Further, by 2029, the EU wants renewables to generate 45% of all of its energy.

Here are the three best energy stocks to buy to exploit the rapid proliferation of wind energy and solar energy.

SolarEdge (SEDG)

There is so much demand for SolarEdge’s (NASDAQ:SEDG) solar inverters in the EU that the company is unable to manufacture enough of them to exploit all of the requests for the product, CFO Ronen Faier said on March 28. HE added that he expects the EU to eventually further increase the demand for solar in the bloc by making solar projects “easier” to roll out. But at this point, solar deevelopers are benefiting from very high prices for electricity in Europe, the CFO stated. Due to that situation, the “demand (for solar) is booming” on the continent, and SolarEdge has enough orders from companies in Europe to last it until the end of this year,  Faier stated.

Multiple Wall Street banks have also been upbeat on SEDG stock in recent months. On April 5, Janney Montgomery Scott started coverage of the name with a “buy” rating and a fair value estimate of $351. The bank is upbeat on SolarEdge’s  “geo-market and end-market diversification, along with its growth in Europe. And in December, Goldman named SolarEdge as one of its two top stock picks in the solar sector for 2023. Last month, Citi kept its “buy” rating on  SEDG stock after transferring coverage of the name.

Finally, as I wrote in another, recent column, “HSBC on April 13 started coverage of SEDG with a $271 price target and a ‘buy’ rating,” citing the bank’s big opportunity in Europe. Moreover, “The bank estimated that the company’s revenue would grow at a 20% annual clip from 2022 to 2025.”

General Electric (GE)

As I’ve predicted for many years, General Electric (NYSE:GE) is starting to play a key role in boosting electricity generation as the electrification of transportation gathers momentum. That factor alone makes GE a great energy stock to buy. Indeed, this role will prove to be very lucrative for GE this year and subsequently for Vernova, the energy company that the conglomerate plans to spin off in 2024.

Providing evidence for the latter contention, GE announced that it, along with a number of its partners, had won three deals worth a cumulative 6 billion euros to develop high-voltage direct currents in Europe’s North Sea. These projects are being undertaken “to connect 40 GW of offshore wind farms to the high voltage grids in the Netherlands and Germany.”

Meanwhile, GE’s Renewables unit is turning itself around, as it’s expected to go from a $2.2 billion loss last year to a small profit in 2024. Improved pricing and better supply chains in the wind energy sector are clearly lifting the bottom line of GE’s Renewables unit, which specializes in building wind turbines.

Of course, the huge expansion of wind energy capacity in the U.S. and Europe is going to greatly boost Renewables. Indeed, as one of the top producers of offshore wind turbines, GE will benefit from the anticipated increase of  ” global offshore wind installations…from 34 gigawatts in 2022 to 181 gigawatts in 2030.”

There’s also a great deal of opportunities to add many more onshore wind turbines. “We see a clear path to add 150, 200 gigawatts of onshore wind in the U.S. in the next 10 years,”   GE Vernova CEO Scott Strazik said last month. He believes that the operating margins of GE’s onshore wind power business could reach around 9% after 2024.

Shoals Technologies (SHLS)

Shoals (NASDAQ:SHLS) provides equipment used in solar energy projects, such as “cable assemblies, wireless monitoring systems [and], junction boxes.” The firm says that its products significantly reduce the amount of labor needed to build solar projects. Given rapidly rising wages and labor shortages in many regions, that attribute should enable Shoals to deliver very strong growth going forward, making it a great energy stock for investors.

Actually, the company is already expanding rapidly, and it’s profitable. Last year, its top line climbed to $327 million from $213 million in 2021, while it generated $66.3 million of operating income in 2022.

Two other factors that should improve Shoals’ financial results going forward are its expansion into Europe, which began in 2022, and the growth of its sales team.  The company is looking to add more sales professionals in its fastest growing geographic regions, and it will increase the number of salespeople pitching its most popular products.

In November, investment bank Oppenheimer placed a $41 price target and an “outperform” rating on SHLS stock.

As of the date of publication, Larry Ramer owned shares of GE and SHLS. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the Publishing Guidelines.

Larry Ramer has conducted research and written articles on U.S. stocks for 15 years. He has been employed by The Fly and Israel’s largest business newspaper, Globes. Larry began writing columns for InvestorPlace in 2015. Among his highly successful, contrarian picks have been PLUG, XOM and solar stocks. You can reach him on Stocktwits at @larryramer.

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