Welcome back to Baby Breakerdom! This week's quest to find budding Rule Breakers shows that targeted advertising may not be all the rage after all, and that the clouds overshadowing solar investments may finally be ready to part.
First up this week is AdSpace Networks, which offers full-screen video advertising to malls. In many ways, it's the antithesis of the targeted pitches brought to you online by the likes of Google (Nasdaq: GOOG ) , Yahoo! (Nasdaq: YHOO ) , and even Motley Fool Inside Value pick Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT ) . That shouldn't be a concern, though. Online advertising may be exceeding display ads in terms of the total market -- it has since 2003 -- but billboards of all sorts still rake in billions.
Companies out to revitalize old industries have often proved to be great investments. Just ask Peter Lynch what he thinks of Nucor (NYSE: NUE ) . AdSpace is in a similar position. By bringing moving images to mall screens, the company aims to help local stores earn more traffic. Investors see promise in the idea. Accordingly, a number of them have invested -- including Valence Capital Management, AIG Global Sports, Doll Capital Management, and GIC Special Investments -- and "a cadre of blue chip venture investors" reportedly poured $20 million in new funding into the company, per VentureWire.
Next comes an interesting report from the Left Coast. Tuesday, VentureWire said that the California Public Utilities Commission has approved a $2.9 billion initiative to subsidize the use of solar power in the state. That's a huge win for firms dealing in photovoltaic technologies, including Evergreen Solar (Nasdaq: ESLR ) and SunPower (Nasdaq: SPWR ) of, ironically, Sunnyvale, CA.
It also comes on the heels of news from the Internal Revenue Service that, in 2006, the greenies among us will be able to deduct up to $4,000 worth of solar-powered home improvements. Nice.
Solar power is still in its relative infancy as a replacement for fossil fuel. Just getting to adolescence could take decades more. But, with the help of the Feds and California, the clouds over the technology are finally beginning to clear. That's a good sign for Rule Breaking investors watching alternative energy developments from behind cash-colored shades.
Sadly, there were no Baby Breaker public offerings this week, which means it's time to say goodbye. See you back here next Friday, when we continue the quest to find the next ultimate growth stock.
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Fool contributorTim Beyersloves the idea of investing in solar power, even though the sun hasn't exactly been friendly to him over the years. Tim didn't own shares in any of the companies mentioned in this story at the time of publication. You can find out what is in his portfolio by checking Tim's Foolprofile. The Motley Fool has an ironcladdisclosure policy.