Solar Energy Surging Ahead as Alternative Energy Option

A recent Gallup poll revealed that three out of four Americans are in favor of the United States government increasing the use of solar energy, with up to 71 percent of those surveyed being in favor of developing wind power. The expansion of oil production received the thumbs-up from 46 percent, with only 37 percent approving of expanding nuclear power and less than 30 percent approving of increasing coal production as a means of generating energy. While results of the survey revealed trends associated with geographic location and political affiliation, the overall result was in support of solar power as an alternative source of energy. These finding are supported by activity taking place on Wall Street as solar energy costs come down and more home and business owners take advantage of the option to lease the equipment for solar power generation.

Looking at San Diego-based OneRoof Energy as an example, the company reportedly recently received a $100 million investment from Morgan Stanley to develop its solar power business. The company’s CEO, David Field, noted that the cost of solar power installation has been coming down and has become competitively priced in relation to other utilities. He also noted that the leasing option makes the use of solar power more affordable, with OneRoof generating around $100 million in residential leases in 2012, and aiming to increasing that to $300 million this year.

Researchers at Stanford University who have been conducting a study of the manufacture and installation of both domestic and industrial solar panels on a worldwide basis noted that prior to 2010 the process of getting solar energy generating equipment up and running, used more energy than it produced. This situation is turning around now, and despite the fact that the solar energy sector is growing at an astounding rate, it is starting to give back more than it has been taking. Pointing to the example of using electricity to heat ovens to temperatures of around 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit for melting silica rock to produce the silicon most panels contain, it was noted that newer technologies help reduce the amount of electricity needed to manufacture the panels. Solar energy is particularly well suited to manufacturing facilities as their consumption peaks during the day when solar power is most plentiful. As solar power continues to grow, investors will no doubt be looking to add publicly traded solar power equipment manufacturers to their portfolios.