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.

10. Canadian Solar ( CSIQ) is a vertically integrated provider of ingot, wafer, solar cell, solar module and other solar applications.

For third quarter of 2010, net revenue was $453 million compared to $254 million for the same quarter in 2009. Net income for the reporting quarter was $26 million against a net loss of $15.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Annual solar panel shipments rose to 237 MW from 141 MW in 2009 fourth quarter.

Actual sales for fourth quarter were 8.3% higher than analysts' estimates, whereas actual earnings per share fell 5% below analysts' estimates.

As part of its market diversification strategy, the company has increased sales to the Asia-Pacific and North America. Nonetheless, Europe remains the company's highest revenue contributor.

The stock has 31% buy ratings and is expected to deliver 10% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 7.2 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

9. SunPower ( SPWRA) designs, manufactures and sells solar electric power technologies.

For fourth quarter of 2010, the company's revenue increased to $937 million from $547.9 million in the same quarter of 2009. Gross margin improved to 25.4% from 20.3% in the same quarter last year. Net income rose to $152 million from $8.5 million in the same quarter in 2009.

Actual sales recorded for the fourth quarter were consistent with analysts' estimates, whereas actual earnings per share were 55% higher.

On the company's outstanding performance, Tom Werner, SunPower CEO, said in a press statement, "Operationally, we successfully integrated our acquisition of SunRay Renewable Ventures which significantly contributed to recognizing revenue on more than 100 MW of power plants in Europe in 2010. We also increased our global dealer network to 1,500 partners and are on our way to 2,000 partners this year. Due to the success of our accelerated cost reduction roadmap, we are on plan to achieve our efficiency-adjusted panel cost goal of $1.08 per watt in the fourth quarter of 2011."

The stock has 36% buy ratings and is expected to deliver 24% over the next one year. The stock is trading at 9.1 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

8. Yingli Green Energy Holding ( YGE) is the largest, vertically integrated photovoltaic manufacturer worldwide. The U.S. accounts for 10% of the company's global sales, while China has a 70% share.

For fourth quarter of 2010, net revenue was $616.1 million and PV module shipments were up 21.6% sequentially, at record highs. Gross profit stood at $202.7 million, representing a gross margin of 32.9% for the quarter. Operating income was $142.9 million, indicating an operating margin of 23.2%. Net income was reported at $84 million for the quarter.

Actual sales were 86% higher than analysts' estimates, while actual earnings per share were up 238% at $0.54 per share, topping analysts' estimates.

The company pegs PV module shipments for 2011 between 1,700 MW and 1,750 MW, up 60.1%-64.8% from fiscal 2010.

The stock has 45% buy ratings and is expected to deliver 21% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 7.2 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

7. China Sunergy ( CSUN) is a China-based manufacturer of solar cell and module products. The company sells solar products to module manufacturers and system integrators in China and the global markets.

In February 2011, the company signed a long-term wafer supply contract with GCL-Poly Energy Holdings, one of the world's leading wafer suppliers. Under the agreement, GCL-Poly will supply approximately 4,400 MW of wafers over the next six years. Delivery commenced in February 2011 and completion is expected in December 2016. The company recently signed supply contracts in Switzerland and Italy.

About 29% of analysts polled by Bloomberg rated the stock a buy and it is expected to deliver 28% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 5.3 times its estimated 2012 earnings.

6. GT Solar International ( SOLR) provides polysilicon production equipment and sapphire and silicon crystalline growth systems and materials for the solar, LED and other specialty markets.

For third quarter of 2011, the company reported 51% increase in revenue to $263 million from $173.6 million in 2010 third quarter. Gross profit for the quarter came in at $122.1 million, up from $76.7 million reported in the year-ago quarter. Operating margin was 36.1%, compared to 33.2% in 2010 third quarter. Net income rose 73% to $63.6 million from $36.8 million during the same quarter last year.

Actual sales were 40% higher than analysts' estimates, while actual earnings per share were 135% higher at $0.47 per share.

Based on the company's guidance for fiscal 2011, revenue is expected to range between $835 million and $860 million, higher than the earlier guided range of $775 million-$850 million.

The stock has analysts' buy ratings of 75% and is expected to deliver 30% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 8.9 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

5. Trina Solar ( TSL) is a China-based solar products manufacturer with a distribution network panning Europe, North America and Asia.

Net revenue for 2010 fourth quarter was $641.8 million, a 104.9% year-over-year increase. After the results, Jifan Gao, CEO Trina Solar, said in a press statement, "Our growth in 2010 demonstrates the successful execution of our strategy to expand sales across distribution segments and geographic end markets in North America and other exciting photo voltaic markets such as India, Australia and China."

Actual sales for the quarter topped analysts' estimates by 21%, while earnings per share were 82% higher than estimated.

Gross margin reported was 31.4%, lower than 32.6% in 2009 fourth quarter. Operating margin reported was 22.6%, compared to 20.6% in the prior year's fourth quarter. Net income was $145.3 million, including a net foreign currency exchange gain, compared to net income of $48.8 million during the year-ago quarter.

Solar module shipments for the latest fourth quarter were approximately 351 MW, up 114.3% year-over-year.

Analysts have buy ratings of 78% and expect the stock to deliver 31% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 6.5 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

4. JA Solar Holdings ( JASO) is a China-based manufacturer of high-performance solar power products.

Revenue for 2010 fourth quarter came in at $584.3 million, increasing 137% from $246.5 million registered in the fourth quarter of the prior year. Gross margin dropped to 19.2% from 20.6% in the earlier year quarter. Gross profit increased to $112.2 million from $50.8 million in same quarter of 2009.

Actual sales recorded for the fourth quarter were consistent with analysts' estimates. Earnings per share beat analysts' estimates by 61%.

Total solar products shipments for 2010 fourth quarter were 463 MW, growing 100% from 231 MW during the same period last year. Based on demand, JA Solar expects total cell and module shipments to surpass 2.2 GW in 2011, or a 50% increase from 2010.

Analysts have buy ratings of 52% and expect the stock to deliver 35% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 4.9 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

3. LDK Solar ( LDK) is a vertically integrated manufacturer of PV products and is the world's largest producer of multi-crystalline solar wafers.

The management guided improved business performance for 2010 fourth quarter and full-year 2011. The company expects revenue in the range of $870 to $910 million, wafer shipments of 615 MW to 620 MW, module shipments of 160 MW to 165 MW and gross margin between 25% and 27% for 2010 fourth quarter.

Actual sales and earnings recorded for the fourth quarter were higher than analysts' estimates.

For full-year 2011, LDK Solar expects revenue in the range of $3.5 to $3.7 billion, wafer shipments of 2.7 GW to 2.9 GW, module shipments of 800 MW to 900 MW and gross margin between 23.0% and 28.0%.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg are positive on the stock and expected it to deliver around 35% return in a year's time. The stock is trading at 4.9 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

2. Jinko Solar ( JKS) is a China-based vertically integrated solar power products manufacturer.

For 2010 fourth quarter, the company's solar product shipments were higher than initially guided at 162.6 MW, representing a 20.6% sequential growth and 65.9% year-over-year growth.

Total revenue increased 156.9% year-over-year to $267.7 million, exceeding the company's guidance of $210 million to $220 million. Gross margin was 28.5%, compared to 16.2% for fourth quarter of 2009. Net income reported was $55.8 million, up 41.9% sequentially and 340% year-over-year.

Reviewing the business performance, Kangping Chen, JinkoSolar's CEO, said in a press statement, "Throughout 2010 we expanded our business both in scale and in reach. Our successful IPO and follow-on offering significantly increased our brand awareness and helped us increase our market share, while strengthening our balance sheet and improving our bankability. Our dedicated sales and marketing teams, with new sales offices in Munich and San Francisco, established a number of long-term partnerships with leading global solar companies in Europe and North America while also capturing opportunities in fast-growing markets."

The stock has analysts' buy ratings of 75% and it is expected to deliver 41% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at four times its estimated 2011 earnings.

1. ReneSola ( SOL) is a China-based manufacturer of solar wafers and solar module products.

Net revenue during fourth quarter of 2010 rose 7.7% from third quarter of 2010. Net income came in at $61 million against a loss of $28.1 million in the same quarter last year.

Actual sales and earnings recorded for the fourth quarter were higher than analysts' estimates.

"Our strategic execution in 2010 generated strong operating cash flows and prudent capital expenditures that have significantly improved our balance sheet. Our net debt-to-equity ratio has been reduced to 33.8% in 2010 from 104.9% in 2009, positioning us well as we look to capture market share through capacity expansions. In addition to record revenues of US$1.2 billion and record shipments of 1.2 GW, we achieved impressive gross and operating margins of 28.9% and 20.4%, respectively, for the full year 2010," said Julia Xu, ReneSola's CFO.

The company managed to secure 20 long-term contracts in 2010, representing about 1.3 GW of expected wafer sales in 2011. Total solar wafer and module shipments for full-year 2010 were at a record 1.18 GW.

Analysts have buy ratings of 80% and expect the stock to deliver 74% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 4.2 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 10 Solar Stocks Analysts Favor portfolio on Stockpickr.

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