Posted by Alternative Energy Stocks on May 30, 2011Tom Konrad CFA
Last week, the announcement that Principal Solar, Inc. was now available for public trading landed in my inbox. It's currently trading under the symbol PSWWD.PK but will transition to PSWW.PK on June 23rd. I went ahead and used the latter in our Solar Stocks list.
The press release was remarkable only for the lack of hard facts about the company, focusing instead on the bright future of the solar industry. But experienced investors know that an industry can have a bright future while the individual stocks tank. A rising tide need not lift all boats. a rising tide could, in fact, smash most of the current boats against the rocks while new, more efficient competitors set sail at high tide. That certainly has been the pattern in solar manufacturing.
Despite the fluff in the press release, I thought the Principal Solar strategy might be worth investigation. They plan to concentrate on "rapidly advancing... solar energy through a unique roll-up strategy." Since Principal is planning on rolling up solar developers and installers (as opposed to manufacturers) I thought that this was at least interesting in that there are few, if any solid pure-play solar installation companies available to public stock investors.
Other developers I'm aware of are Envision Solar International (EVSI.OB), which designs attractive solar for parking lots, but lacked financial muscle when I looked at it a year ago, and California-based Premier Power Renewable Energy (PPRW.OB) and Real Goods Solar (RSOL) neither of which I have yet looked at deeply. Not totally unique, then, but one of just a few publicly traded options.