Here Comes the Sun: Utility Stocks

Sun

Until recently, my view of “going off the grid” involved a weekend of camping in a tent, armed with a flashlight, bug spray, and an ice-packed cooler, loaded with full-fat treats, like bacon. I’m more of an RV-girl (admittedly spoiled), who needs to be near an electrical outlet at all times.

It wasn’t until recently that I started to see electricity in a whole different light. I looked up, and there it was. The sun. It’s always been there, but solar panels have not, particularly on homes. Spotting solar panels on the roof of a residential home is kind of like spotting a monkey in a grocery store. It makes you stop, and look twice. So far, I’ve spotted three homes with solar panels in my neck of the woods.

There’s a growing number of utility companies updating their business models to accommodate the estimated, future demand of solar energy for homes (thanks in part to technological advances, and leasing programs), in hopes of a large payoff.

Publicly-traded utility companies such as Pattern Energy Group (PEGI), Atlantic Power Corp. (AT), Xcel Energy (XEL), IDA Corp. (IDA), and NRG Energy (NRG) are just a sampling of utility companies re-focusing their attention on solar energy. NRG in particular, just recently acquired Verengo Solar, in an effort to beef up the company’s solar infrastructure, and expand its business.

It’s too soon to tell when solar power (residential or otherwise) will become mainstream, but its worth keeping tabs on the news/trends in this area.

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