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 1.50%) utility Arizona Public Service and Hawaiian Electric Industries (HE 1.27%). 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 1.93%) 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 1.56%) 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.