Monday, November 12, 2007

Solar panels a potential boon for investors

As interest in renewable energy continues to heat up in a movement fueled at least partially by state and federal tax incentives, the financial services industry is discovering another means of leveraging the trend: the installation of solar panels on the rooftops of consumer retail chains such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Walgreen Co. — a model that shows some potential to evolve into a new investment opportunity for individual investors.

Financing involves large banks' funding the cost of solar-panel installations for just about any business with a sizable flat roof in exchange for what amounts to a steady income stream paid by the business that is generating a portion of its own energy.

"The efficiency of solar-panel-generated energy has much improved over the past 25 years to the point where it's now comparable to coal- and gas-fired energy when you take into account the government incentives,"

"...projected to expand as long as there are buildings with flat roofs."

"This will eventually reach individual investors," likely inside some kind of packaged product such as a mutual fund.

"There's great political support for this right now, because everyone wants to cloak themselves in a green cape."

1 comment:

Bike Bubba said...

"comparable....when you take into account the government incentives..."

My goodness, you could take rhesus monkeys on bicycles and make it competitive with coal electricity generation if you gave it enough subsidies!

Don't get me wrong; I'd love to see more cogeneration of electricity, especially by large users such as businesses. I just don't think that taxpayers should be footing the bill for it.