The prospects of solar power have been growing day by day, so some are wondering when the technology -- and the industry -- will truly come into their own. According to Dr. Ernest Moniz, the new Department of Energy secretary, that time frame is "underestimated," meaning that it should come sooner than many expect. There are several indicators that are pointing to that, as well. As several Chinese solar companies are hitting the wall because of a panel-supply glut, some of the weaker companies are on their way out. This is clearing the way for the stronger candidates to get pricing on panels again. First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) recently announced that it could not take orders for new panels until after the third quarter, because all panels to be built until then are contracted out. 

There's another aspect of the solar industry that's taking root: distributed power. Companies like SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) are showing that it is indeed possible to make money in the residential solar business, something that has been a struggle in the past. Tune into the video conversation below between Fool analysts Joel South, Taylor Muckerman, and Fool.com contributor Tyler Crowe as they discuss some of the other emerging trends in the solar industry.

 

Joel South has no position in any stocks mentioned. Taylor Muckerman has no position in any stocks mentioned. Fool contributor Tyler Crowe has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.