Shale oil and gas development has completely transformed the U.S. energy outlook and has changed the prospects for several companies in the energy space. But it's not over. Advancements in technology across all forms of energy could have major potential to disrupt the way we think about energy today. 

One great example is distributed power. While many have scoffed at the idea of renewable energy for individual users, SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY) is showing a new business model for residential solar power that could make some big inroads in the electricity generation department. 

The big spike in residential installations as well as overall growth in the solar industry could mean very good times ahead for America's largest solar company, First Solar. Learn more about this company's immense opportunity in The Motley Fool's premium research report available here.

But to focus simply on renewables for distributed power would do some other parts of the industry a disservice, because companies such as Capstone Turbine (NASDAQ:CPST) are proving that localized generation of natural gas can be just as efficient as a big centralized utility plant. This one-two punch of renewable power as the primary energy source with localized natural gas generation as a backup for when solar or wind can't generate power could be a big threat to the utilities sector.

Learn more about some of the players in this emerging trend by tuning into the conversation between Fool analyst Joel South and contributor Tyler Crowe in the following video.