Alternative technology and specifically energy have been a big debate over the past few years. I've spend a fair amount of time researching and looking for potential investments. I've looked specifically at wind power, geothermal energy, and natural gas for transportation. There are many other sources out there and solar is still probably the most popular. I like solar energy, but just not as an investment right now. There are too many solar companies out there right now and prices are still too high for consumers to significantly invest in this technology. As a whole, green energy is still almost entirely dependant upon being subsidized by Washington. That is gradually changing, but it will take a long time before green opportunities are just what are there for the consumer as a logical choice.
I see today that billionaire investor George Soros says he's investing $1billion into green tech. He's a very smart investor, but he's always politically motivated as well, so we have to remember that. I'd rather not get into the whole political debate over climate change, but I will say this. What do we have to lose? If we become energy independent and create sustainable alternatives that can be better for the environment at a similar cost, its a no-brainer. Even if climate change ends up not being significant, we've made a good switch.
In my opinion this whole movement comes down to this: Right now, to buy green items mean you are putting the social and environmental factors at a higher priority than the economic factors, and its just too difficult of an economy for the majority of people to do that.
Its going to be a combination of various sources that will end up working for us. The leading companies for the next few decades in this movement may not have even been created yet, and that's what makes it difficult for investors. If you really want to invest in this, I'd stick to diversified ETF's to limit single-company exposure. I'd also look at larger companies that supply products tied to this movement. ABB is one example that I've talked about before, and there are others. I'll try to find some opportunities for us in this space, but overall, I'm still a little hesitant here.
Disclosure: Long ABB