Although Warren Buffett is best known for picks in stable businesses with strong brand names, the 'Oracle of Omaha' has been branching out into more growth oriented investments as of late too. In fact, Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway ( BRK.A ) ( BRK.B ) , via its utility subsidiary MidAmerican Energy, has made a big bet on solar and wind power in the U.S., having funneled $15 billion into the alternative energy space.
This trend could definitely continue in the near term, especially if energy prices remain elevated, or if recently discussed climate change plans come to fruition, thereby making alternative energy more attractive. Berkshire's MidAmerican Energy is already poised to become
one of the biggest generators of renewable energy in the world, and recent comments by Buffett suggest that Berkshire isn't close to topping out its investment in the space just yet.Buffett's Comments
At an annual utilities conference in Las Vegas, Buffett revealed plans to double Berkshire's investment in the solar and wind market, saying that they have poured billions into the space and will continue to do so.
When reminded that Berkshire had already committed $15 billion to the segment, Buffett said
, '"There's another $15 billion ready to go, as far as I'm concerned." This suggests that Buffett sees a huge market still out for wind and solar and that more promise is still in the space.
Though Berkshire's focus has been on the utility scale market, companies still have to make the panels and components for companies like MidAmerican, and if others follow Berkshire, this could turn into a truly huge market.
For investors seeking to make a bet like Buffett, a look to some of the makers of solar components could be an interesting idea, and we have highlighted a few of the top ranked stocks in this space which stand to benefit from a coming wave of investment and investor interest:Top Ranked Solar StocksFirst Solar ( FSLR )
FSLR has had a rocky ride over the past couple of months, but this American manufacturer of solar panels could definitely stand to benefit from a new bout of investment in the alternative energy market. Growth rates are weak for this year, but the stock still has a solid forward PE below 25 so it is a decent value if you are in it for the long haul.
It is also worth noting that estimates have been moving sharply higher for this stock lately, helping to push the consensus estimate up for the current year time frame. Thanks to this, and a recent massive earnings beat, FSLR has earned itself a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and could benefit if Buffett and others put more into the solar market.Yingli Green Energy ( YGE )
Yingli is a manufacturer of solar products in China, and it has undoubtedly been hurt by recent talks of tariffs. The stock has been under pressure as of late, but growth rates are still exceptional for this stock, coming in at 69% for this year and over 170% for next year.
Furthermore, estimates have been moving in the right direction here, though this is definitely a high volatility security. Currently, YGE has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and we are looking for it to outperform in the near term.JA Solar Holdings ( JASO )
JASO is another Chinese maker of solar panels, focusing on the Asia-Pacific market and Europe for a good portion of its sales. This has proven to be a winning strategy for this small cap as sales increased more than 60% year-over-year in the most recent quarterly report.
Growth rates are now projected to be in the triple digits for earnings this year, while the most recent earnings estimate revision represents a huge shift in magnitude higher. Thanks to this and a history of earnings beats, this stock-which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy)-could be a global way to play a bigger push into the solar market.
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Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free reportBERKSHIRE HTH-A (BRK.A): Free Stock Analysis ReportBERKSHIRE HTH-B (BRK.B): Free Stock Analysis ReportYINGLI GREEN EN (YGE): Free Stock Analysis ReportFIRST SOLAR INC (FSLR): Free Stock Analysis ReportJA SOLAR HOLDGS (JASO): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research