The New Year brings about thoughts of resolutions. Resolutions such as losing weight, being fiscally responsible, quitting smoking, in short, being a better person, top the list. Financially, short term strategies for saving money may be on the forefront, but as the economy begins to rebound, long term strategies for saving money through energy efficiency may become more prevalent. Many start to look at ways to blend finances and environmental ethics. Investors seeking a long position in alternative energy related stocks now may be able to ride the wave of our country’s eventual energy shift towards cleaner, more budget efficient strategies than the $3 plus dollar a gallon and the expensive coal powered electric bills of today.
Families in 12 states can currently take advantage of the home solar energy solutions of SolarCity, which offers free residential leasing of solar panels. In addition to a more affordable solar technology, the company offers a free consultation, home energy evaluation, and will handle seeking tax rebates for the consumer. The company garnered news when Google (GOOG) funded it $280 million in June of 2011 for implementation of residential solar projects. Google is banking on SolarCity having success in leasing solar panels and reaping the rewards for years to come; a win-win for the environment, the consumer and the business. Google has invested nearly $1 Billion in green solutions in the US. If Google believes the public is ready for widespread energy solutions, should the individual investor believe in it in their portfolio?
Those looking for a more radical approach to energy efficiency may draw interest to alternative power vehicles. Oil availability is expected to peak at 2020. The Nissan (OTC:NSANY) Leaf was just awarded car of the year in Japan. SunPower (SPWR) has recently partnered with Nissan to educate and initiate interest in residential solar products in reducing carbon footprint and cost for charging electric vehicles. The company hopes to promote its solar power as a long term cost effective step and provide those already eco-minded with an avenue for accessible alternative home energy.
Lime Energy (LIME) offers a holistic approach to energy saving including HVAC, lighting, clean energy sources and monitoring systems to both the public and private sector through governments, schools, and business entities across the US. LIME recently partnered with sOccket, the company which highlights the global energy need through the global game of soccer. A renewable energy soccer ball capable of powering a light for 3 hours is neither an economic or environmental end-all-be-all solution by any means, but it may serve to get LIME the attention it needs to highlight its more wide-sweeping solutions for mid-level entities. With an attractive price and publicity, it’s no wonder LIME has topped many green investment buy lists for 2012.
As the housing industry is poised to make a comeback, buyers will no doubt need to be attracted to new homes with lower priced foreclosures still in high supply. New builders looking for an advantage will highlight money saving features of energy efficient new homes versus the outdated utilities of existing homes and foreclosures. KB homes (KBH) has an Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Platinum rating from the United States Green Building Counsel.
Western states may be attracted to geothermal prospects for energy. A less geographic reliant form of power is methane. Calpine Corporation (CPN) is the largest independent power producer in the United States and specializes in both geothermal power and natural gas. Recent EPA regulations reviews will highlight the clean energy produced by entities like Calpine and hold long term potential for expansion.
Will this year be the year the US resolves to buy into Green technologies? If so, investors could benefit from a look at positions in these companies.