Cutting Oil From Your Diet and Going Green Has Never Been Easier

With solar power and electric cars now an economic reality it's never been easier to break free from fossil fuels and go green.

Jan 12, 2014 at 11:06AM

Living without carbon based fuels, like oil and coal, has been nearly impossible since the turn of the 20th century. Automobiles are dependent on gasoline for fuel, natural gas and coal power most of the electric grid, and even most of our heating fuel is natural gas. But there are finally alternatives to carbon based energy sources and it's more realistic than ever to lower your personal CO2 emissions and go green today.

In fact, it may save you money to go green. Here's how you can go green and the companies who are making it possible.

Going solar pays
The cost of solar power has come down so far it's now being offered to residential customers for $0 down in many parts of the country. SolarCity (NASDAQ:SCTY) is by far the largest residential solar installer and will install a small solar plant on your roof for $0 down and even save you money on your electricity bill. If you choose to build a big enough installation, the power generated can more than offset your entire electricity bill.


A residential solar installation using SunPower panels. Image courtesy of SunPower.

This is becoming big business and the competition is growing and becoming more competitive. SolarCity leads the way but SunPower (NASDAQ:SPWR) has similar offers to install its high efficiency panels and Sunrun and Clean Power Finance are offering leases through partners as well.

Net metering of solar power, or selling excess during the day when the sun is out and offsetting it with power usage at night, drives the residential solar market but it's becoming increasingly viable to store energy and use it when you array isn't generating power.

Storage is the future of energy
For solar or any other renewable power source to truly allow people to remove themselves from the grid, energy storage will have to play a big role. That's where there's been major progress in the past year.

Scty Storage Inverter Highrez

SolarCity's battery and inverter unit, powered by Tesla Motors batteries. Image courtesy of SolarCity.

SolarCity recently began offering a battery system to commercial partners who want to save some of their solar energy to offset peak demand. SunPower is also testing a number of battery systems and Solar Grid Storage is entering the market in areas with demand response and other revenue streams.

Today, you can generate enough solar power on your rooftop to have no net energy purchased from the grid, but energy storage will expand the opportunities to cut reliance on the grid without net metering. That'll be key to renewable energy long-term. 

Replacing the gas pump
Where most of us notice our reliance on fossil fuels is at the pump. Gasoline made personal transportation ubiquitous and the world has become reliant on the fuel source. But technology has made all-electric vehicles a real option for consumers.

Tesla Motors (NASDAQ:TSLA) is leading the EV revolution, offering more performance and better range than anyone else in the industry. The Model S gets an EPA estimated 265 miles per charge and has performance in line with a BMW or Porche.

Tsla Model S Image

Tesla Motors Model S, Motortrend's 2012 Car of the Year.

Nissan's Leaf and Toyota Rav4 EV are also all-electric and for those not ready to be bound to the range of their vehicles Ford and General Motors make hybrid electric vehicles. Before long, going with and electric vehicle will be a serious option for millions of people around the world.

This is big business
Going green has long been the dream of environmentalists, but it's capitalism that's driving the green revolution today. SunPower, SolarCity, and Tesla Motors have over $4 billion in combined revenue over the past year and that figure is growing by leaps and bounds.

SPWR Revenue (TTM) Chart

SPWR Revenue (TTM) data by YCharts

As costs come down and technology improves going green is a serious option to consider. It's only a matter of time before fossil fuels are a thing of the past.

Another company upending big oil
Who else is upending the traditional energy industry? An exclusive, brand-new Motley Fool report reveals the company we're calling OPEC's Worst Nightmare. Just click HERE to uncover the name of this industry-leading stock... and join Buffett in his quest for a veritable LANDSLIDE of profits!

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 recommends SolarCity and Tesla Motors. The Motley Fool owns shares of SolarCity and Tesla Motors. 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.

4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

Don't let that happen again. This time, it should be your family telling you, "I can't believe you knew about and invested in that technology so early on."

That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

Click here to learn about this incredible technology before Buffett stops being scared and starts buying!

David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't 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.

©1995-2014 The Motley Fool. All rights reserved. | Privacy/Legal Information