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Monday, October 6, 2008

A Week Where Solar was in the Ascendant

From my perspective, last week was a good week for the sun.

We are in the process of picking vendors for a BT Americas employee solar program. As recently as last Wednesday, conversations with the short listed vendors reflected the prevailing view that the expired Investment Tax Credit (ITC) would not be renewed until some time next year. ITC offers residential solar customers an offset against income tax. By Friday morning, the credits were not only renewed, but were significantly expanded as part of the bailout bill signed into law.

Meanwhile, despite the economic situation facing the country, both the key providers in our corporate implementation at our head office in El Segundo were the beneficiaries of major investments. Our integrator, EI Solutions was acquired by Suntech, one of the largest solar panel manufacturers in the world and our finance provider, Solar Power Partners (SPP), announced that it has closed $100M in financing and all this before the ITC extension was announced on Friday morning.

Visible construction began on the installation in our headquarters parking lot (previous work was below ground on the foundations). You can see it here. Select ‘previous week’ in the ‘animation viewer’ to see the supporting pillars going in at the far end of the lot towards the end of the animation.

And closer to home (my home at least), was the annual Metro Washington DC tour of Solar Homes. We are certainly no California, but it was an impressive event with over 50 homes displayed in Maryland, Virginia and DC over two days. I visited a couple of the houses in Virginia where there were dozens of people walking through. Some were clearly dedicated environmentalists, but many regular folks attended who are starting to consider solar for their homes and wanted to see it in practice.


  1. You raise the question of how the current financial crisis is going to impact the focus on climate change and other enviornmental concerns. The dropping oil prices and financial anxiety may well lead consumers to back off "being green". I wonder if being in distress will have similar impacts on large global enterprises.

  2. Sam, great question. At BT being environmentally green has proven to be financially green too. But I think the financial crisis has both positive and negatives for sustainability. I plan to address that in a post later this week.