The Best Profit Play for 2018's "Explosive" Solar Market

Solar just had another banner year in 2017.

As of late December, the U.S. solar industry was on track to install nearly 12 gigawatts (GW) of solar capacity. And during the first three quarters of 2017, 25% of all new electric-generating capacity brought online came from solar - second only behind natural gas.

Americans are clearly flocking to solar in spades, and other countries are starting to ramp up their renewables markets as well.

So, whether you like it or not, solar is here to stay.

But as I told my paid-up Energy Advantage subscribers in my full 2018 forecast, solar won't be the "silver bullet" that permanently "ends" the oil industry.

Instead, broader demand for all energy sources looks increasingly positive as we move further into 2018.

And crucially for us, the improvement in energy demand prospects is widening to include both traditional sources - such as oil - and renewable sources - such as solar.

That's why I'm predicting solar is about to have its biggest year yet. Investors who own the industry leader I'm recommending today - a stock that's already dealt out more than 64% in gains last year - are looking at a very profitable 12 months ahead...

Here's What's Driving Solar in 2018

Solar's attractiveness is catching on not just in the United States, but also in Europe, where solar demand is expected to grow by 35% as more countries eagerly work with companies to source clean energy.

FEEDING FRENZY: This tiny, $2 million company is on the edge of a whole new energy sub-niche. It's all about a mind-blowing new technology that unlocks America's new, $7 trillion energy bounty. Click here to learn more...

The gains for investors, however, should outpace even that impressive growth.

Here's how...[mmpazkzone name="in-story" network="9794" site="307044" id="137008" type="4"]

Germany and France - two of the European Union's biggest economies - already have large-scale solar markets. Both closed out 2017 with at least 1 GW of total solar capacity installed, impressively putting them among the world's top eight solar-producing countries.

In fact, more than 7% of Germany's total electricity generation comes from solar power - and that percentage is expected to keep growing in the coming decades.

Profit playFrance, on the other hand, is even more committed. The country already has over 7 GW of total solar capacity installed. Not to mention, it plans to use solar installations to rapidly achieve its goal of cutting carbon emissions by 75% by 2050 - one of the world's most ambitious energy policies.

While Germany and France are already solar leaders, real growth is expected in Spain and the Netherlands - where solar capacity will finally break the all-important 1 GW barrier (Fig. 2).

Spain is particularly poised to lead the charge, especially after the Spanish Ministry of Energy, Tourism and the Digital Agenda recently auctioned off 3,909 megawatts (MW) of large-scale solar capacity to domestic energy firms like Grupo Cobra and X-ELIO Energy.

This high-profile auction has been lauded as a revolutionary change to Spain's energy landscape - and it's projected to expand Spain's solar market by a massive 3,400% in 2018.

And while Europe's solar installations have fallen off a bit between 2011 and 2016, the Netherlands' solar capacity has defied that trend by growing consistently every year. The number of homes in the Netherlands with solar installations increased 25% last year - and that number is projected to keep rising.

It's not just happening in Europe and the United States. The solar movement is booming across Mexico, Brazil, Australia, South Korea, and even in Middle Eastern countries like Egypt, near the most oil-rich region of the world.

And believe it or not, the Middle East's most dominant oil player could end up playing a huge role in solar's explosive growth...

Saudi Arabia Is Building a 21st-Century Solar Mecca

Later in 2018, Saudi Arabia is going to make history.

The Kingdom will sell 5% of its state-owned company Saudi Aramco to the public in what's sure to be the largest IPO ever.

This is part of Prince Mohammad bin Salman's broad effort to finance his Saudi Vision 2030 - a plan to diversify Saudi Arabia's economy and sources of energy revenue.

Once Saudi Aramco hits stock markets, everything we thought we knew about "energy" investing will change dramatically. That's because the kingdom will take the IPO's billions in proceeds and invest in companies all over the world - even in the United States.

And I know exactly where it's going to start: solar.

Over the last decade, solar energy has become more important to the Saudis than ever before. They've already poured $100 billion into related technologies, and the Aramco proceeds will go toward massive, large-scale solar projects that will take advantage of the desert country's hot, sunny landscape.

"explosive"And Salman's most ambitious project will be Neom (styled "NEOM") - the $500 billion futuristic mega-city set to kick Saudi Arabia's solar industry into high gear.

Situated in the desert near the Red Sea coast - and straddling the borders of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan - Neom's first development phase is set to be finished by 2025. The zone will span more than 10,000 square miles - which is 33 times larger than New York City.

The city is envisioned as a manufacturing, renewable energy, media, and entertainment hub with five-star hotels, skyscrapers, and tourist attractions. The city will have an airport that - thanks to its proximity to other Middle Eastern nations - would be less than an eight-hour flight for about 70% of the world's population.

But Neom's top priority will be building Saudi Arabia's solar capacity. The city is expected to power itself with only wind and solar energy, which will come from vast solar- and wind-harvesting power plants.

In addition to Neom, the Kingdom is also building a 300-MW solar project in the northwestern city of Sakakah. Once operational, this will be Saudi Arabia's first-ever utility-scale solar plant.

So as you can see, Saudi Arabia clearly views solar energy as one of its most profitable long-term investments.

With that in mind, I think it's time for us to revisit our top solar investment - which will continue to hand investors generous returns in 2018.

JinkoSolar Is Still the Best Way to Profit from This Global Trend

JinkoSolar Holding Co. Ltd. (NYSE: JKS) is a manufacturer of photovoltaic (PV) cells, wafers, and modules.

solar marketPV cells are the bedrock ingredient of every solar panel. They're the electrical devices in the panels that convert sunlight into electricity.

I first recommended Jinko to my paid-up Energy Advantage subscribers back in 2016. Folks who have held on have been rewarded handsomely.

Throughout 2017 alone, stockholders saw a huge 64.5% return, much more than three times the S&P 500's own outstanding 19.4% performance.

In fact, those gains trounced the broad MAC Global Solar Index's gains of 47%. That index tracks the world's most dominant publicly traded solar companies and serves as a bellwether for the global solar industry.

It's not too late to get in. In fact, this may be the perfect time to take a position, because I think Jinko is just getting started.

That's because Jinko's sales growth has quickly made it one of the top PV manufacturers in the world.

The firm raked in $2.01 billion in revenue during the first half of 2017 - a 16% increase from the same period the year earlier. This equaled roughly 4.95 GW worth of total solar shipments.

I expect these figures to rise even more in the coming years, as the solar market in Jinko's home country, China, remains a powerhouse.

Despite mostly relying on coal and oil, China is still the global leader in solar installations. It's been a gigawatt-scale market since 2008 and boasts nearly 10 times more workers in the solar sector than the United States.

With direct access to the best solar market in the world, Jinko is poised for massive windfalls.

And that will translate into even bigger returns for investors.

As I said, 2018 is set to be the best year yet for solar all over the world.

Energy Sector "Rock Star" Makes a $346 Million Wager

This living legend guided his first energy company to an exceptional 20,000% in gains for early investors. Now his new startup has a chance at putting the first one to shame. He's putting up hundreds of millions of his own personal savings, and insiders all over the place are taking note, grabbing two of every three available shares. Citibank, for instance, just boosted its holding by 2,622%. Think these guys know something big is ready to break? Click here for details...

Follow Money Morning on Twitter @moneymorningFacebook, and LinkedIn.

About the Author

Dr. Kent Moors is an internationally recognized expert in oil and natural gas policy, risk assessment, and emerging market economic development. He serves as an advisor to many U.S. governors and foreign governments. Kent details his latest global travels in his free Oil & Energy Investor e-letter. He makes specific investment recommendations in his newsletter, the Energy Advantage. For more active investors, he issues shorter-term trades in his Energy Inner Circle.

Read full bio