Sun Begins to Shine for Solar ETFs

After slumping last year, solar stocks and exchange traded funds are moving higher in 2017.

For example, the Guggenheim Solar ETF (NYSEArca: TAN) is higher by almost 10% to start the year while the VanEck Vectors Solar Energy ETF (NYSEArca: KWT) is up nearly 6%.

KWT tracks a group of global companies involved in photovoltaic and solar power, or the provision of solar power equipment/technologies and material or services to solar power equipment/technologies producers. TAN also follows global companies involved in the solar industry and the entire value chain.

Solar stocks slid last year as increased competition pushed prices lower while customers pushed off on purchases in hopes of further cheaper prices, especially with Chinese companies raising production. Still, there are some positive signs.

“For the first time, solar power installations formed the largest group of electricity generating capacity of any energy source, according to a new report from Greentech Media,” reports CNBC. “Nearly 40 percent of new power generation projects added last year were solar, in terms of electrical production capacity. A record 22 states each added more than 100 megawatts, the report said.”

The solar industry has been tightening its belt and improving business efficiency in light of the falling prices. For instance, SunPower said it would lay off an additional 25% of its workforce, or 2,500 employees, and close one plant to reduce costs.