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Utilities Set Stage For Long Battle With Solar Power

By Travis Hoium – Jan 2, 2014 at 11:00AM

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APS and Hawaiian Electric are fighting the solar installations that have made SolarCity an industry powerhouse, so what should investors do now? Our analyst takes a look.

Utilities from Colorado to Hawaii are trying to fight an onslaught of distributed solar energy installations, and it's a battle that's worth watching from all sides. 

Leading the charge against solar is Pinnacle West's (PNW 4.21%) utility Arizona Public Service and Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE 2.35%). APS has created a monthly charge of about $5 for owners of residential solar systems, and Hawaiian Electric has effectively put a moratorium on installations, which exploded in the most expensive electricity market in the U.S. 

Caught in the middle is SolarCity, which is building residential systems at a rapid rate and will be negatively affected if costs are added to each systems. 

But not every utility is fighting solar. NRG Energy (NRG 1.55%) owns solar production assets and recently created NRG Yield to house solar assets and some traditional generation assets so it can take advantage of tax benefits. Edison International (EIX 3.54%) has also invested in solar installation and bought a stake in Clean Power Finance. 

Below, solar analyst Travis Hoium covers how this battle is shaping up and what investors should take from it. 

Fool contributor Travis Hoium has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends SolarCity. The Motley Fool owns shares of SolarCity. 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.

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