4 min read

Let The Sun Shine In!

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Hi FWIW friends,

What a week in the world of finance and investing! From talk of upcoming interest rate hikes, to new GDP data, to earnings reports from big tech companies like Apple, Alphabet, and Amazon (yay, alliteration!), to eye-watering drops in major market indexes on multiple days, to the (enough already!) play-by-play nature of the news around Elon Musk taking Twitter private.

If you are not sure what all this means to you on your investing journey, don’t despair, that’s why FWIW is here! Want to learn more about interest rates and the Fed? We’ve got you! Wondering what all the terms thrown around in all these earnings calls mean? We’re on it. Need to be reminded what it means for a company to be public or private as Elon Musk seems to be on the verge of taking Twitter private? Here’s a handy explainer on private and public companies. We will keep the information, the resources, and the explainers coming so you can always turn to FWIW for that confidence boost or the answer to that investing question you’ve always wanted to ask. We’re here as you look for ways to invest in the world you want and to still have a decent chance of sleeping well at night.

News you can use

Graphic of newspaper with magnifying glass
  • Earth Day love for forests continues. The lungs of our world got a lot of attention this month. President Biden signed an Executive Order to protect old-growth forests and reduce wildfires on federal land, and National Geographic committed its May issue to “Saving Forests” noting “They’re key to protecting the planet. Now they need our help.” This comes as the World Resources Institute reports that the world lost 9.3 million acres of primary old-growth forest in tropical forests in 2021.
  • Paying for college education is the new perk. Tyson Foods announced they will be offering to cover college tuition for all of their 120,000 employees, following the lead of some of their peers, like JBS, and a number of other Fortune 100 companies, including Walmart.
  • America’s EV-related production continues to spread across the country. Just this week, two major EV milestones were hit with the announcement of a $2 billion investment from a Japanese manufacturer in a battery-building plant in Kentucky and the first mass production all-electric pickup, the Ford F-150, rolling out of the factory.

Powered by the 🌞

Graphic of the sun with cord coming from it plugged into the earth.

Renewable energy is getting a lot of attention these days, from those focused on climate change to those who want to reduce our reliance on bad actors to fuel our future. There’s a long way to go to get to a fully renewable future, but solar energy is proving to be a real bright spot. Solar electricity-generating capacity was up 46% last year and the US now has enough solar capacity to power 23 million homes a year.

With the sun's rays touching all of us (hence the importance of sunscreen everyone!), many investors are focused on investing in companies innovating to capture the energy of the sun. These include manufacturers of panels, installers, providers of commercial or residential solar power, and those operating solar energy-generating facilities. In short, solar is hot (hee, hee). As part of our continuing focus on specific sectors where investors can find multiple options to invest in solutions, here is a run-down of some of the most common ways to invest in solar.

We are not talking suncatchers

Numerous companies have made great strides in the last decade in manufacturing panels and deploying solar in the United States and worldwide. Some to research: First Solar (FSLR), the largest solar company by market cap; Sunrun (RUN), a leading solar installer; Enphase (ENPH), which produces and provides the micro-processors and batteries that solar systems need; and China-based Jinko (JKS), the largest solar panel producer in the world.

Utilities that have shown a significant commitment to solar

While there are no solar-exclusive utilities in the United States, a number of leading utilities have made significant investments in and commitments to renewable energy, including solar. These include NextEra Energy (NEE), the Florida-based utility that is now the largest producer of wind and solar energy in the world; Duke Energy (DUK), which has retired 54 coal power plants since 2010 and now produces 9% of its power from renewables; Clearwater Energy (CWEN.A), one of the largest developers and operators of clean energy in the United States; and Brookfield Renewable (BAM), which focuses on generating renewable energy that it sells to utilities under long-term power purchase agreements.

The next step in this field may well be large solar arrays focused on central towers to create energy even more efficiently and, when applied to industries like concrete production, reduce carbon footprint. Intrigued? Check out Heliogen.

What about a solar ETF?

After reading last week’s FWIW, you know all about ETFs and Mutual Funds and you would think this could be a great way to put that knowledge into action. It is… and it isn’t. There are only 2 US ETFs focused exclusively on solar: the Invesco Solar ETF (TAN), which seeks to track the MAC Global Solar Energy Index, and Global X Solar ETF, which came to market in September 2021, leaving it with a limited track record.

However, there are many “Clean Energy” and “Renewable Energy” ETFs that include significant holdings in solar for you to consider. iShares Global Clean Energy ETF (ICLN) is a great example, with about 50% of this fund's holdings in solar.

We hope this sunny set of investing options reminds you that moving capital to back innovators and scaling solutions can bring positive returns in the long-term for your portfolio and help solve the critical challenges facing our planet.

Before you go -

If the Great Resignation has you looking for a new gig… The “Penguin Post Office” is hiring. In our books, anything with a penguin in it is a winner.