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3 Stocks Leading the Alternative Energy Charge

From wind power to electric cars, these firms are paving the way

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SolarCity NASDAQ:SCTYNext up, we have SolarCity (SCTY), which calls itself the nation’s leading full-service solar provider. It takes care of the design, financing, installation and monitoring of solar panels for residential and commercial customers, including big names like Walmart (WMT) and eBay (EBAY).

In the most recent quarter, the company’s residential megawatts deployed grew 144% year-over-year, while operating lease revenue rose 79% year-over-year.

SolarCity — which is backed by Tesla Motors (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk, who is the chairman and largest shareholder — also recently acquired Paramount Solar, calling the move its “first step towards our million customer goal.”

Still, plenty of folks aren’t sold on the company. SolarCity remains consistently unprofitable, highly shorted and, as a bearish Barron’s contributor recently noted, relies heavily on federal subsidies. What’s worse, the federal government has been “investigating whether SolarCity and some other solar-panel firms possibly misrepresented the value of their systems to receive larger subsidies.”

That hasn’t stopped investors from bidding the stock up, though. Shares jumped around 50% on the company’s first day of trading in December 2012, and so far this year, shares have gained 150%.

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