First Solar, Inc. (FSLR), General Electric Company (GE): What Is Solar Energy’s Role in Our Military’s Future?

In the field
The types of technologies that companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) is developing will likely play a central role in military applications. First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) recently announced a deal with General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) to acquire that company’s intellectual property portfolio in exchange for First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) stock. The General Electric Company (NYSE:GE) IP — which focuses on uses of cadmium telluride in photovoltaic (PV) thin-film solar technology — is expected to allow First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) to make significant advances.

A big focus for the Marines is in finding ways to use traditional power generation more efficiently. The introduction of solar cell can reduce reliance on generators, and allow them to run less often. Beyond the hybrid approach, a recent story from reports: “A Marine Corps company, the India 3/5, equipped with SPACES (Solar Portable Alternative Communications Energy System) and GREENS (Ground Renewable Expeditionary Energy System), operated two patrol bases entirely on solar power in the summer of 2010.”

The message here is that the military is becoming increasingly interested in, and reliant on, solar technology. This is great news for companies like First Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:FSLR) and SolarCity because, unlike in the private sector, where adoption may be gradual, debatable, and driven by trends, in the military, when the brass make a decision, that’s what happens. Increased demand from the military will likely be an important driver for the industry and is worth watching for all solar investors.

The article What Is Solar Energy’s Role in Our Military’s Future? originally appeared on is written by Doug Ehrman.

Fool contributor Doug Ehrman has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of General Electric Company.

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