Solar panel installations are ready to rival the price points on electrical generation with coal fueled plants, and have a leg up on nuclear energy. Are solar energy exchange traded funds (ETFs) able to emerge from the long shadows?

Cost reduction is the main driver in the energy industry, and in a few years solar panel installation is going to come in line with existing energy generation, and within a decade analysts say the cost of solar projects is going to halve again, says Michael Liebreich, chief executive officer of New Energy Finance. [Solar ETFs Get A Boost From Goldman.]

As nuclear-power stocks experienced a sell-off due to the crisis in Japan, the alternative-energy sector saw increased inflows, which experts believe will continue in the coming months. Alternatives usually come into favor when there are natural disasters related to oil and nuclear energy or when pricing gets too high. [Solar ETFs Flying High On Analyst Boost.]

In the long term, the disaster in Japan may force other countries, including the United States, to create policies that favor renewable energy. Maybe one of the benefits of all this is that the importance of clean energy will come to the forefront. Investors are waiting for some of the uncertainty in the stock markets and Japan to dissipate before buying any alternative energy funds, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t keeping a watch on the sector.[Japan’s Impact On Energy ETFs.]