NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- ReneSola ( SOL), Trina Solar ( TSL), JA Solar Holdings ( JASO), China Sunergy ( CSUN), GT Solar International ( SOLR), Yingli Green Energy Holding ( YGE), LDK Solar ( LDK), Jinko Solar ( JKS), Canadian Solar ( CSIQ) and SunPower ( SPWRA) are solar stocks with up to 77% upside, according to analysts' 12-month price targets.

Investors are fancying solar stocks as a less risky alternative in the aftermath of the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan and higher oil prices due to the turmoil in Libya and other Middle East countries. The solar stocks recommended here gained 9%, compared to the Nikkei's negative 8% and the Dow Jones Industrial Average 0.3% rise in the last two weeks.

Moreover, speculations that governments' subsides in Europe for the solar industry would halt have been allayed, providing solar manufacturers additional fillip. In fact, Italy has announced that its solar subsidies would be left unchanged for 2011. The German government is mulling plans to raise its renewable energy fund size from 300 million euros to 1 billion euros. Earlier, Germany had announced deep cuts in its green energy spending. Going ahead, solar manufacturing companies could expect demand spikes on increased government spending.

Notwithstanding the benign environment, analysts have cut estimates in the last one month. Stocks like Canadian Solar, Sun Power, Jinko Solar, and Rene Sola saw earnings estimates paring 19%, 2%, 5%, and 5%, respectively for 2011. In the last fortnight, the target price of Canadian Solar was downsized to 37% to $12.5 and buy ratings were downgraded to 31% from 38% for 2011. Similarly, China Sunergy, LDK Solar, Yingli Green Energy, JA Solar, Trina Solar, and Renesola have seen analysts' cutting their target price estimates and buy ratings.

Despite the earnings and price target downgrades, solar stocks still have significant upside potential and investors can benefit from these stocks. The following 10 solar stocks have buy ratings of 31%-80% and are expected to gain up to 77% over the next 12 months with a mean upside value of around 35%, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.

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