As governments around the world tinker over how best to support solar energy, a number of large corporations have thrown their weight behind the renewable resource. These moves could potentially shift the momentum driving the solar industry away from the public sector and onto private enterprise. Solar energy makes up only 1% of the country's alternative energy production, but it's the fastest growing of all renewable energy forms, increasing by 67% since 2009, and some familiar names are now adding a major push.
The heat is on
Warren Buffett also tossed his hat into the solar ring when MidAmerican Energy Holdings, a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway
For the solar industry, which has struggled of late because of cutbacks in German feed-in tariffs and a supply glut, the burgeoning interest from these mega-cap companies could be just the beginning of many big investments to come.
Another approach that's boosting private solar development is a new financing system supported by companies like Google, U.S. Bancorp, and Citibank. The investment from those enterprises pays for homeowners to install solar panels, which can cost tens of thousands of dollars, but then the installer charges the homeowner for electricity. The homeowners still pay less than they would for traditionally sourced power, so all parties benefit.
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