Right now, the biggest story on Wall Street is the initial public offering (IPO) of social media site Twitter. But analysts looking for an investment in green energy solutions that could pay big dividends down the road may want to take a look at Opower, Inc., a software developer that is planning to do its own IPO sometime in the near future according to the Wall Street Journal.
Opower designs computer programs that help utility companies promote energy efficiency with their customers. Electric companies contract with Opower to use its software to monitor customers' power usage, then send text messages, emails or phone calls to let rate payers know how much energy they're using compared with their neighbors.
The company's applications have already been used by 90 power companies, representing 22 million customers all over the world. Opower estimates that its software has helped these energy users save 3 terawatt-hours of electricity, the same amount of power it would take to run Las Vegas for a year.
Opower was founded in 2007. It's unclear what its valuation will be, but the company's CEO stated in 2010 that he had signed two contracts worth $30 million. It has also saved customers about $350 million in energy expenses, so it's clear that the product provides considerable value to both utilities and rate-payers.
Investment opportunities in green technology don't always get as much airplay as those offered by companies like Google and Facebook. However, given that the United States' energy priorities are moving in the direction of renewables while moving away from oil and fossil fuels, the savvy investor may want to consider putting some money in companies that are taking advantage of those markets early, before the rest of the financial industry takes notice.