Editors' pick: Originally published Jan. 19.
The direct correlation between oil prices and solar stocks is typically highest when oil is making short, abrupt moves -- and that is what the market is witnessing now. Nevertheless, don't expect the link to last too long, said Angelo Zino, equity analyst at S&P Capital IQ.
"There is a high correlation as we sit here today, but over the next three to five years we do expect it to be less than what we have seen in recent months," said Zino.
Zino is bullish on First Solar (FSLR - Get Report) , which saw its shares jump 49% in 2015, primarily because it saw some of its tax credits extended. Zino said there is more to the stock than government largesse. The company will benefit from the industry's shift from being focused on manufacturing to obtaining financing, he said.
"First Solar has the best-of-breed balance sheet, and that goes a long way," said Zino. "We think it will be able to generate greater orders than its peers and take advantage of some of the issues its peers are having today."
"We like this story a lot of because of their manufacturing lead and technology advantage, as well as their relationship with Total (TOT - Get Report) , which owns more than half the shares," said Zino. "Over time we think that Total relationship will help them grow internationally and take advantage of opportunities their competitors can't do."
Finally, Zino has a hold rating on SunEdison (SUNE) , which saw its stock sink 74% in 2015. Zino said the company has overbuilt its balance sheet, taking a lot of hedge funds down with it.
"We think that they will be able to get out of the mess they are in, but it will probably take a couple of years. And as a result you are just going to be sitting and waiting on SunEdison," said Zino. "You are better off taking advantage of the growth potential via First Solar and SunPower."