While solar energy might be employed more in other countries (think Germany and China), many states on our own turf have been pushing  to use the energy source more. Even if you don’t install your own panels, you can play the growth with solar exchange traded funds (ETFs).

Availability of sunlight, social and political values, disposable income, as well as state and local incentives all provide the necessary push for consumer interest in home solar power, writes Brian Clark Howard for The Huffington Post. [Solar ETFs primed to heat up.]

It is no surprise that sunny states like California, where reports show that the state connects to 40% of all solar panels in the United States, Arizona and Florida are more heavily solar connected than other places. States like New Jersey and Colorado have become hotspots with incentive systems that promote the adoption of solar technologies. Then, there are the areas that may surprise observers:

  • Washington State. Tech enthusiastic and green-minded people in Seattle, along with rural and eastern areas in the state, have jumped on solar tech despite living in the cloudiest state.
  • Minnesota. The Twin Cities are progressive and affluent. Like Washington State, Minnesota is also quite cloudy but that hasn’t deterred the strong interests seen in farm country.
  • Chicago. Mayor Richard Daley has been pushing for a kind of green renaissance that has helped build up solar power in the Windy City.
  • The Rust Belt: Ohio, Michigan and Indiana. Indiana is accepting the idea of solar power. Ohio and Michigan are also very sunny states so it may not be such a leap to see them accept solar tech.
  • Southeast Appalachians. Rural Kentucky, Tennessee, the Western Carolinas and Northern Georgia are showing interest in renewable energy.
  • Upstate New York. This area is cloudy, cold and still feeling the effects of the economic decline. Yet, it has been embracing solar technology. [Solar ETFs light up the green energy sector.]

In other solar news, General Electric (NYSE: GE) has made a deal to sell photovoltaic operations to Taiwanese PV cell manufacturer Motech Industries. This may be the start of increased merger and acquisitions in the solar and wind power industries, remarks Mark Burger for Gerson Lehrman Group. GE has decided to focus on wind power for its renewable energy development. There are probably many more deals like this out there, with companies that are willing to buy instead of develop their own methods. [Play the climate change conference.]

For more on solar power, visit our solar category.

  • Claymore/MAC Global Solar Energy (NYSEArca: TAN): up 13.1% in the last month

  • Market Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSEArca: KWT): up 15% in the last month

Max Chen contributed to this article.

The opinions and forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Tom Lydon, and may not actually come to pass. Mr. Lydon serves as an independent trustee of certain mutual funds and ETFs that are managed by Guggenheim Investments; however, any opinions or forecasts expressed herein are solely those of Mr. Lydon and not those of Guggenheim Funds, Guggenheim Investments, Guggenheim Specialized Products, LLC or any of their affiliates. Information on this site should not be used or construed as an offer to sell, a solicitation of an offer to buy, or a recommendation for any product.