SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR), SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY), and First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR) have all seen stock prices soar in 2013 and there appears to be no ceiling to the potential in the solar industry. But there are risks for solar companies, as we've seen play out in just the last few years.
First Solar was once the cost and technology leader, only to see that lead evaporate to Chinese competitors. SunPower now holds the technology lead but a new wave of more efficient product may be on its way.
SolarCity doesn't make panels, but it has a lot of risk in its current business model. If consumers begin buying systems instead of leasing them its entire infrastructure could be upended. Joel South sat down with solar analyst Travis Hoium to see what risks face these leading solar companies in the future.
Fool contributor Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of SunPower and personally owns shares and has the following options: long January 2015 $5 calls on SunPower, long January 2015 $7 calls on SunPower, long January 2015 $15 calls on SunPower, long January 2015 $25 calls on SunPower, and long January 2015 $40 calls on SunPower. The Motley Fool owns shares of SolarCity. 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.