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Residential Solar Facing Pushback From Utilities

By Travis Hoium – Feb 8, 2014 at 12:04PM

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Residential solar is growing rapidly and that's threatening the cozy business model utilities have built in the U.S.

Residential solar is growing like crazy in the U.S. with help from companies including SolarCity (SCTY.DL) and SunPower (SPWR 0.54%), which offer $0 down leases and increasingly competitive sale prices. But utilities aren't happy about the growth; Pinnacle West's (PNW 0.14%) Arizona Public Services, Hawaiian Electric (HE 1.39%), and Duke Energy (DUK 1.10%) are three big names fighting hard against this energy source. 

The problem for utilities is that they don't own the solar asset and therefore can't generate a return in regulated markets. Plus, net metering rules mean they're essentially paying retail rates for the energy produced. 

Mike Klesta sat down with solar analyst Travis Hoium to see what the impact will be on residential solar, both short and for the long term. 

Mike Klesta has no position in any stocks mentioned. Travis Hoium owns shares in SunPower in both personal and managed accounts and is personally long SunPower options. 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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Stocks Mentioned

SunPower Stock Quote
SunPower
SPWR
$24.13 (0.54%) $0.13
Duke Energy Stock Quote
Duke Energy
DUK
$99.62 (1.10%) $1.08
Pinnacle West Capital Stock Quote
Pinnacle West Capital
PNW
$76.50 (0.14%) $0.11
Hawaiian Electric Industries Stock Quote
Hawaiian Electric Industries
HE
$40.83 (1.39%) $0.56
SolarCity Corporation Stock Quote
SolarCity Corporation
SCTY.DL

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