Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) will be financing the world’s largest single effort to put solar panels on rooftops, placing them on the tops of hundreds of industrial buildings in various states across the country. Government loans through the Department of Energy’s Financial Institutions Partnership Program are helping the private sector finance the $2.6 billion project. The solar project, also being financed by Prologis (NYSE:PLD) and NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG), is expected to result in 733 megawatts of solar energy production — enough to power 100,000 homes.
Government subsidies in the form of federal, state, and local incentives have the potential to cover nearly 50% of costs related to any solar project. The reason the government is funding the industry is because it hopes to further technological innovation in the sector, giving it the chance to compete with fossil fuels and hopefully help end U.S. dependence on foreign oil (NYSE:USO). Solar grids also have the benefit of being much safer than nuclear power plants while still creating comparable amounts of energy (the Bank of America project alone would produce about half the amount of energy of a nuclear power plant). And of course, one of the biggest reasons solar energy is so important is because of its limited impact on the environment.
As the Financial Institutions Partnership Program nears its end this fall, the next few months are likely to result in a lot of big spending. The current Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) loan is the largest single financing deal made by the program so far.
Companies to Watch: First Solar (NASDAQ:FSLR), SunPower Corporation (NASDAQ:SPWRA), Suntech Power Hldgs. Co., Ltd. (NYSE:STP), Trina Solar Limited (NYSE:TSL), General Electric Company (NYSE:GE), Yingli Green Energy Hold. Co. Ltd. (NYSE:YGE), MEMC Electronic Materials, Inc. (NYSE:WFR), Evergreen Solar, Inc. (NASDAQ:ESLR), Energy Conversion Devices, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENER), DayStar Technologies Inc. (NASDAQ:DSTI), and Ascent Solar Tech., Inc. (NASDAQ:ASTI), Dynegy Inc. (NYSE:DYN), Constellation Energy Group, Inc. (NYSE:CEG), The AES Corporation (NYSE:AES), Genon Energy Inc (NYSE:GEN), Calpine Corporation (NYSE:CPN), Edison International (NYSE:EIX), NextEra Energy, Inc. (NYSE:NEE), Xcel Energy Inc. (NYSE:XEL), The Southern Company (NYSE:SO), and Exelon Corporation (NYSE:EXC)
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