First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), Zoltek Companies, Inc. (ZOLT): Make an Investment in Your Grandchildren’s Future

Page 1 of 2

First Solar (FSLR)

Remember that time when the world generated all of its energy, transportation fuels, and chemicals from renewable sources? Me neither, but that doesn’t mean the technologies enabling that disruptive future are pipe dreams. To be honest we have no idea what technologies will take center stage in 20 or 30 years. Heck, virtually no one — and that includes the mighty Energy Information Administration — foresaw the shale oil and gas boom just 10 years ago. The institution’s “Annual Energy Outlook 2002: With Projections to 2020″ (link opens PDF) states: “Although projected natural gas demand in 2020 is 1.0 trillion cubic feet lower than was projected in AEO2001, the price is expected to be higher due to a less optimistic assessment of natural gas reserves discovered by exploratory drilling.”

I think that sets the tone as we attempt to peek into the future while keeping our humility intact. Nevertheless, each technology discussed below has broad market support, major investment from public and private institutions, and a growing pile of scientific data behind it — all of which are needed to ride the waves of time. Here are five companies working toward creating a better world for your grandchildren to live in.

When I was your age, coal generated electricity…
Since 2005, total domestic energy production from solar and wind have grown by a compounded annual growth rate of 21% and 29%, respectively. Despite being in high-growth mode, total installed solar capacity sits at just 7.7 GW, although wind has a respectable 60 GW of capacity. That means little when the sun doesn’t shine or the wind doesn’t bluster on by (resulting in lower utilization rates), but utilities cannot beat free fuel inputs!

Cadmium telluride (CdTe) thin-film solar module pioneer First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) is a great bet on a sun-powered future. The company has fallen from de facto industry leader in recent years in light of cheap Chinese competition and market uncertainty. Competition can never be overlooked, but the company maintains the cheapest manufacturing costs in the industry and should benefit from extra production capacity leaving the market via bankruptcies. While we can acknowledge that CdTe semiconductor technology will be improved upon in the coming years, it remains at the top of the charts for energy and cost efficiency and sports the shortest energy payback period.

Source: First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR)

The nation’s solar capacity may be a laughably small number, but consider that electricity generation from wind has grown from just 6 billion kWh in 2000 to 120 billion kWh in 2011. That doesn’t account for a record 13.2 GW of capacity additions made last year, which will begin to show-up in electricity generation in 2013.

What’s behind the more than 20-fold improvement? Cheaper, lighter, and more efficient turbines enabled by companies such as carbon fiber manufacturer Zoltek Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZOLT). The company’s carbon fiber wind turbine blades, which capture three times the power generation of comparable glass fiber blades, own a virtual monopoly on the industry’s largest turbines. That should bode well for Zoltek given the nation’s estimated wind-generating potential — both onshore and offshore — of nearly 14,550 GW. Tapping just one-tenth of that total would provide 73% of the country’s electricity demand.

Vroom, vroom into the future
Zoltek Companies, Inc. (NASDAQ:ZOLT) can also manufacture up to 100,000 super-strong and lightweight compressed natural gas, or CNG, fuel tanks each year. That will be just an important piece of the puzzle allowing Clean Energy Fuels Corp (NASDAQ:CLNE) to disrupt the transportation industry. For now the company will forgo consumer vehicles until a broader market exists and instead focus on the trucking industry. Clean Energy Fuels will boast 150 fueling stations in North America by the end of 2013.

CNG and LNG are not perfect fuels, but they can be sourced domestically — and metropolitan transit agencies are taking notice. In fact, one-in-four transit buses on order today are powered by natural gas. Natural gas vehicles will continue to rise in popularity as more companies determine how to best corral the widely abundant energy source. However, that doesn’t mean they’ll be the only internal combustion engine alternative taking to the roads a few decades from now.

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

The 10 Countries with the Highest Suicide Rates

The 10 Most Technologically Advanced Countries in the World

The 10 Safest Countries in the World to Live in Peace

The 10 Top Selling Smartphones in the World 2014

The 12 Biggest Shopping Centers in the World

The 10 Friendliest Countries in the World

Qihoo 360 Technology Co Ltd (QIHU), Actavis plc (ACT), Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) Among 20 Long Ideas from Sohn Canada

The 10 Laziest Countries in the World

The 10 Most Polluted Countries in the World

The 10 Most Dangerous Cities in America 2014

The Top 10 Gold Producing Countries in the World

The 10 Tallest Buildings in the World

The 10 Richest Stand Up Comedians in the World

The 10 Fattest Countries in the World

The 5 Best Summer Jobs for Teens

The 10 Most Religious Countries in the World Keeping the Faith

The 10 Most Educated Countries in the World

The 10 Most Popular Cell Phones in the World

The 10 Drunkest Countries in the World

The 10 Most Expensive Private Schools in the World

The 10 Smallest Countries in the World

Walking Dead Season 5 Spoilers You’ll Wish You Didn’t Know

The 10 Poorest Countries in the World

The 10 Greenest Countries in the World

The Top 10 Countries with the Highest Population in the World

The 10 Most Visited Countries in the World

The Top 10 Star Wars Characters in the Iconic Series

The 10 Most Expensive Android Phones in the World

5 Reasons Why The Illuminati Is Real and a Threat to Society

The 6 Scariest Halloween Costumes Ever Screamed At

The 4 Biggest Hedge Fund Managers in the World Today

The 15 Most Densely Populated Countries in the World

The 10 Biggest Tea Drinking Countries in the World

Top 6 Ways to Improve Your Checkout Process and Close Sales

The 5 Most Profitable Online Businesses You Can Start Today

The 20 Most Profitable Hospitals in the US

The 5 Most Profitable Home Businesses to Start

The 7 Teams that Will Win the Stanley Cup in 2015

The Top 10 Most Expensive Digital Cameras to Snap Stunning Shots With

The 10 Highest Quality Fast Food Restaurants In America Today

The 8 Best Halloween Decorating Ideas to Spook Up Your House

10 Marvel Women that Should Get a Movie Right Now

The 20 Best Remixes of Popular Songs that Will Make You Forget the Originals

7 Most Expensive Cities in the World

5 Least Expensive Cities in the World

10 Celebrities Who Believe In Scientology

10 High Margin Food Products to Build a Business Around

The 10 Most Expensive Clothing Stores in the United States to Get Decked Out At

The 5 Biggest Kickstarter Scams That Swindled Backers’ Donations

The 10 Most Expensive Boarding Schools In the World

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!