NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- Applied Materials ( AMAT), First Solar ( FSLR), MEMC ( WFR), GT Solar International ( SOLR), Canadian Solar ( CSIQ) and SunPower ( SPWRA) are solar stocks with buy ratings of 80%, as per Bloomberg estimates.

We recommend six solar stocks that outperformed their Chinese peers and the broader indices to gain an average 28% in the last one year. Solar stocks buoyed, riding on firm crude prices in the recent past. Further, analysts expect these stocks to deliver earnings of 15% to 20% in the next one year. In comparison, Chinese stocks could see flat earnings growth.

Analysts cut the earnings estimates of China's solar stocks recently, paring the earnings estimates of Jinko Solar ( JKS) and ReneSola by 5% each for 2011. During the last couple of months, the target prices of Sunpower and GT Solar were raised, while that for Chinese Stocks LDK Solar ( LDK), Yingli Green Energy Holding ( YGE), JA Solar Holdings ( JASO), Trina Solar ( TSL) and ReneSola ( SOL) have been revised downwards.

The following six solar stocks have buy ratings of 26%-80% and are expected to gain up to 33% over the next 12 months with a mean upside value of around 22%, according to analysts polled by Bloomberg.

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

For the first quarter of 2011, the company's revenue increased to $451.4 million from $347.3 million in the same quarter of 2010. Revenue came in lower than expected, driven by changing market dynamics in Europe. Gross margin stood at 19.6% versus 20.7% in the same quarter last year.

On the company's outstanding performance, Tom Werner, SunPower CEO, said in a press statement, "We met our margin and bottom line financial goals in the first quarter by adjusting our downstream channels and operating expenses". Besides, SunPower has reduced its manufacturing costs for the quarter, and is likely to achieve the efficiency-adjusted panel cost per watt target of $1.08 in the fourth quarter of 2011.

The stock has outperformed, delivering 65% returns during 2011 with 26% buy ratings. The stock is trading at 12 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

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

Net revenue for 2011 first quarter was $443.4 million compared to $336.9 million for the same quarter in 2009. Net income for the reporting quarter was $5.9 million as against $1.5 million in the year-ago quarter. Solar module shipments were 244 MW, up from 185MW in 2010 first quarter.

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, generating 75% revenue in the first quarter compared to 88% in the same quarter of the prior year.

For full year 2011, the company has maintained its earlier shipment guidance of approximately 1.2 GW to 1.3 GW.

The stock has 33% buy ratings and is expected to deliver 26% returns in the next one year. The stock trades at 6.8 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

4. MEMC ( WFR), a global leader in semiconductor and solar technology, engages in the design and development of silicon wafer technologies. With R&D and manufacturing facilities in the U.S., Europe, and Asia, MEMC provides services useful in the next generation of high-performance semiconductor devices and solar cells.

Net sales for the first quarter ended March 31, 2011 were $735.9 million, increasing 68% from $437.7 million in the first quarter of 2010. The company's Solar Materials and SunEdison segments posted strongest sales for the quarter. Net loss was $4.5 million versus $9.6 million in the year-ago first quarter.

Cash and cash equivalents for the quarter stood at $684.1 million. Capital expenditure in the 2011 first quarter was $205.4 million, primarily related to investment in solar wafer capacity, semiconductor 300mm wafer production, and polysilicon capacity expansion.

Analysts polled by Bloomberg are positive on the stock and expected it to deliver around 33% in a year's time. The stock is trading at 10.6 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

3. Applied Materials ( AMAT) provides innovative equipment, services and software to enable the manufacture of solar photovoltaic products, advanced semiconductors and flat panel displays.

Net revenue during the first quarter of fiscal 2011 rose to $2.69 billion compared to $1.89 billion in the first quarter of 2010. Net income came in at $506 million as against a profit of $83 million in the same quarter last year.

Gross margin was 42.3%, slightly higher than 42.2% reported in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2010. Cash and cash equivalents increased to $4.1 billion at the end of the quarter, while order backlog increased by $292 million to $3.54 billion at the end of the first quarter.

Going ahead, Mike Splinter, CEO of Applied, said, "We see momentum building in our end markets and expect our company's fiscal year revenue to be more than $11 billion, exceeding our previous record by over a billion dollars. We now expect wafer fab equipment spending to be up 10% to 15% from approximately $31 billion in calendar 2010, with crystalline silicon solar equipment spending rising by more than 30% year over year."

Analysts have 41% buy ratings and expect the stock to deliver 21% over the next one year. The stock is trading at 10 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

2. First Solar ( FSLR) manufactures solar modules with an advanced semiconductor technology, and is a provider of comprehensive photovoltaic system solutions.

For 2011 first quarter, total revenue came in flat year-over-year at $567 million. Higher selling costs and research & development expenses piled pressure on the operating margin. Net income reported was $115 million compared to $172 million in the same quarter last year.

The company has updated its 2011 guidance with net sales estimated between $3.7 and $3.8 billion for the full year. Operating income is pegged at $900 million to 970 million, while 2011 EPS is estimated between $9.25 and $9.7. Total capital spending is expected in the range of $1 to $1.1 billion.

Reviewing the business performance, Rob Gillette, CEO of First Solar, said, "Despite European market uncertainties, First Solar has good visibility into our demand for 2011." He further added, "We continue to execute our cost roadmaps, invest in new module capacity, build our project pipeline, and develop promising new markets around the world."

The stock has analysts' buy ratings of 50% and is expected to deliver 23% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 13.6 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

1. 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 the third quarter of 2011, the company reported 51% increase in revenue to $263 million from $173.6 million in 2010 third quarter. Actual sales were 40% higher than analysts' estimates, while actual earnings per share zoomed 135% to $0.47 per share.

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% vis-a-vis 33.2% in 2010 third quarter. Net income rose 73% to $63.6 million from $36.8 million during the same quarter last year.

The company's cash and cash equivalents at the end of the third quarter were $320.4 million with an order backlog of $1.23 billion. 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 80% and is expected to deliver 20% return in the next one year. The stock is trading at 12 times its estimated 2011 earnings.

>>To see these stocks in action, visit the 6 Top-Rated Solar Stocks Analysts Favor portfolio on Stockpickr.

If you liked this article you might like

Jim Cramer: The Government Should Admit It Goofed With These Crazy Instruments

Jim Cramer: The Government Should Admit It Goofed With These Crazy Instruments

Jim Cramer: The SEC Should Admit It Goofed With These Crazy Instruments

Jim Cramer: The SEC Should Admit It Goofed With These Crazy Instruments

Jim Cramer: I Remember Earnings

Jim Cramer: I Remember Earnings

Dow Soars Over 250 Points to Post Its Fourth Straight Day of Gains
Inflation, Chipotle, Credit Suisse and Sam's Club - 5 Things You Must Know

Inflation, Chipotle, Credit Suisse and Sam's Club - 5 Things You Must Know