323

Million KWh's

Over $1 billion (p. 26) in sales in 2020

50.75%

Increase

7.75% CAGR in Gibraltar’s Renewable Energy and Conservation segment between 2017 and 2020

16.26%

Reduction

2,500+ solar energy fields (p. 15) installed across the US since 2015


The Path to Drawdown: 

PV Solar

Solving climate change and remaining below 1.5ºC of global warming requires a wholesale shift away from fossil fuels and toward using 100% emissions-free sources.

The most powerful source of this clean energy is the sun. Photovoltaic or PV solar panels (the kind you see on rooftops) have emerged as the predominant way of capturing the sun's energy and turning it into electricity. This industry has been growing fast: as of 2020, solar panels are the cheapest source of electricity in most places on earth.

Solar produces ~2% of global electricity today. According to Project Drawdown, to be on a path to remain under 1.5ºC of warming, utility scale solar (as opposed to rooftop solar) will need to be generating a combined ~26% of global electricity by 2050.

To get there, the PV solar industry needs to keep massively scaling over the few next decades:

  • 720 TWh of solar electricity was generated in 2019
  • 28,200 TWh is needed by 2050
  • That’s a CAGR of 12.56% from 2019 - 2050


Analysis from the IEA also predicts that, to reach a 100% clean electricity grid by 2050, annual solar panel manufacturing capacity will need to scale from 737 GW in 2020 to 4,956 GW in 2030 (p.198).

Introduction

Gibraltar Industries, Inc. (stock ticker: ROCK) manufactures products and services for the solar energy, conservation, residential and infrastructure markets. Headquartered in Buffalo, New York, they serve customers across North America..

ROCK’s Role in Drawdown

Gibraltar’s Renewable Energy and Conservation segment (p. 4) provides the Drawdown solution of solar PV systems. Through this segment they design, engineer, manufacture and install solar racking - those structures that mount solar panels. They primarily focus on commercial and distributed generation-scale commercial solar installations. This involves fabricating specifically designed metal structures for highly-engineered applications, securing glass and plastic to metal and using raw materials like steel and aluminum. 

Their customers range from solar developers, power companies, to solar energy engineering, procurement and construction contractors. 

Since 2015, Gibraltar Industries has installed over 2,500 solar energy fields (p. 15) across the US, offsetting more than 4 million metric tons of CO2s, equivalent to keeping 869,920 passenger vehicles from the roads for a whole year.

ROCK: What We Like

Gibraltar’s Renewable Energy segment is expanding, thanks to a couple of key acquisitions (p. 6) of solar energy-supporting businesses:

  • In December 2020, they acquired TerraSmart, a leading provider of ground-mount solar racking technology. With this acquisition, Gibraltar plans to install their first solar field to provide 100% of the electricity requirements of a key manufacturing facility.
  • Also in December 2020, Gibraltar completed the acquisition of Sunfig Corporation, a provider of software solutions that optimize solar energy investments through upstream design, performance and financial modeling

ROCK: What We Want to See Improve

Electrify Operations


We applaud Gibraltar’s effort to completely power one of their manufacturing facilities by renewable energy. But the company is still dependent on fossil fuels. Gibraltar Industries reports (p. 9) that they purchase natural gas and electricity from suppliers near their operations, and there’s no mention of transitioning to low- or zero-emission alternatives for their vehicles. We want to see Gibraltar switching more parts of their operations and transportation to zero-emission fuel and energy sources as soon as possible.

Disclose Sustainability Metrics


Nowhere on Gibraltar’s website or reports is there any mention of sustainability. On behalf of investors who deeply care about the private sector’s contribution to fighting climate change, we urge Gibraltar to disclose their sustainability metrics, particularly direct and indirect GHG emissions and energy consumed by source. These metrics should be reported in an annual sustainability report.

Set Emission Reduction Targets


Finally, we also want to see Gibraltar setting proactive targets for reducing their GHG emissions within this decade. These targets should be in line with the global goal to stay under 1.5°C of global warming, and should be accompanied by strategies of how to achieve them. Ultimately, Gibraltar should look long into the future, planning how to achieve zero absolute emissions by the year 2050.

Other Solar Infrastructure Stocks in the Climate Index

Attend Our Next Webinar

Attend Our Next Webinar

Join our next Sustainable Investing 101 webinar, get our favorite DIY options, and walk through how we build our portfolios.

Register
Get Our Newsletter

Get Our Newsletter

Go a level deeper with us and investigate the potential impacts of climate change on investments like your retirement account.

Join Newsletter
Talk To A Human

Talk To A Human

Joining a new investment service can be intimidating. We’re here for you. Click below to email us a question or book a quick call.

Ask a Question