Stock market crashes are a normal part of investing, though they can be jarring for investors. However, if you’re prepared for those events with a buy list of stocks that you’d appreciate being able to acquire at a discount, downturns can actually help you build a diverse portfolio.
So what renewable energy companies should be on your buy list the next time share prices take a tumble? For three of our contributors, the answers to that question are Bloom Energy (NYSE:BE), Brookfield Renewable (NYSE:BEP), and Lucid Motors, which will join the public market later this month via a merger with the SPAC Churchill Capital IV (NYSE:CCIV).
The hydrogen energy play
Travis Hoium (Bloom Energy): One of the most exciting growth markets in renewable energy is hydrogen technology, and Bloom Energy is one of the industry leaders. Bloom makes fuel cell “servers” that use hydrogen to generate electricity, and solid oxide electrolyzers that use electricity to generate hydrogen from water. Between those systems, Bloom occupies two key spots in the hydrogen economy, which is a great place to be as that segment of the energy market grows.
Bloom Energy hasn’t gotten as much attention as Plug Power (NASDAQ:PLUG) or Ballard Power Systems (NASDAQ:BLDP), both of which have higher valuations than it does. But Bloom is a better operator with more revenue and higher gross margins. And with an energy solution that’s built for large-scale deployments, it has a long growth runway into a total addressable market that management thinks could be over $2 trillion.
What Bloom Energy hasn’t generated yet are profits — those have thus far evaded the fuel cell industry overall. But with its margins rising and shipments growing, Bloom Energy could be profitable in the next few years. If that happens, and investors can get in on the stock at a discount from current levels, it could prove to be a great buy.
A windfall from wind power
Howard Smith (Brookfield Renewable): Market dips often give investors opportunities to buy more of their favorite stocks at better prices. For companies like Brookfield Renewable, they offer a second advantage. The stock’s dividend yields around 3% at recent prices, and a market crash could provide investors the chance to lock in income at an even more desirable yield.
Brookfield Renewable has a portfolio of almost $60 billion worth of renewable energy assets globally. Hydroelectric assets accounted for about 65% of its power generation in 2020, with wind generating another 25%, and most of the balance coming from solar installations.
Investors have been recognizing the growth potential of the renewable energy sector, and Brookfield shares are up about 40% over the past year. As of March 31, it had approximately 20,600 megawatts (MW) of capacity, but also had a development pipeline of projects with 27,000 MW of capacity.
Those assets bring in steady cash flows that support its dividend payments. In Q1 2021, funds from operations (FFO) grew by 21% compared to the prior-year period. The company expects that growth to continue. In its first-quarter report, management said it’s “focusing on opportunities that play to our strengths – where we can invest for value, leverage our operating capabilities to increase cashflow.” Brookfield aims to increase shareholder distributions by between 5% and 9% annually.
It also will continue to invest for growth. Brookfield made its first investment in offshore wind power in Q1 after several years of monitoring the development of that technology. Including dividends, the company expects shareholders to see long-term annualized returns in the 12% to 15% range. Investors who pick up shares of Brookfield Renewable on sale in a market selloff should be rewarded handsomely.
The mass industrialization of luxury EVs
Daniel Foelber (Lucid Motors): No one knows for certain when or how the next market correction will come. But over the long term, stocks have proven time and time again to be among the best ways to build wealth.
When considering a company like Lucid Motors, it’s best to ignore short-term market fluctuations and focus instead on the big picture. That means investors should closely monitor the reception of its highly anticipated Lucid Air Dream Edition to see if it lives up to the hype, and whether it can ramp up production to hit its mass manufacturing goals.
Lucid recently announced it will hold a special meeting of shareholders on July 22 to vote on its planned business combination with Churchill Capital. Assuming all goes according to plan, on July 23, Churchill Capital will delist from the NYSE, and the combined new company’s shares will be listed on the Nasdaq under the ticker LCID.
Lucid’s marketing strategy resembles the one used by Tesla (NASDAQ:TSLA): It plans to begin with the low-volume rollout of a high-margin vehicle, then transition to a lower-margin, higher-volume strategy over time. The company wants to establish its brand, gain recognition for quality and performance, get some sales and profits under its belt, and then expand. This game plan is less capital intensive and in many ways less risky than moving quickly to mass production. Given the failure rate of American automakers, gradual expansion seems like a reasonable way to go.
The company says the Lucid Dream Edition has an EPA-rated range of 503 miles on a full charge, and that its 1,080-horsepower engine can go from 0 to 60 mph in 2.5 seconds or less. The specs speak for themselves, but it’s going to take a lot more than a hot car for Lucid to become a rival to automakers like Tesla.
Lucid has set some lofty business targets, including the goal of being profitable as early as next year and free cash flow (FCF) positive by 2025. Even if it hits all of its targets, it will need to carry its momentum forward for years to justify its current valuation.
Lucid Motors could very well become a millionaire-maker electric vehicle stock. But it could also fail in an epic way for a variety of reasons. The battle for EV stardom will only intensify as a slew of new companies go head to head with established automakers. In this hypercompetitive environment, delays and missed targets could have far-reaching consequences. When it comes to its potential for long-term success, the competitive advantages of Lucid’s technology and its ability to scale up manufacturing will matter much more than the ebbs and flows of the broader stock market.
Great stocks to buy at a discount
We’re bullish on all of these stocks for the long term, but investors who can get in at lower prices will naturally be positioned for greater returns. The clean energy revolution still has a long runway ahead of it, and whether you prefer to put your money into hydrogen, wind and solar, or electric vehicles, there are intriguing investment options worth exploring.
This article represents the opinion of the writer, who may disagree with the “official” recommendation position of a Motley Fool premium advisory service. We’re motley! Questioning an investing thesis — even one of our own — helps us all think critically about investing and make decisions that help us become smarter, happier, and richer.