This story was originally published by Slate and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.
We all know the hallmarks of the classic business-themed Christmas movie. A good, well-meaning executive faces some tough business fundamentals as the holiday season approaches. Unexpected events deepen the gloom. But just in time for Christmas, a miracle arrives from on high, ensuring peace, prosperity, and happiness for years to come.
It’s a Wonderful Life? Yes. But it’s also the story of solar companies in the past few months. In November, things were looking bleak for the renewable energy sector at large and for solar companies in particular. The sector has been booming since 2009. The price of installing solar panels has come down sharply as scale has risen, new business models have hastened the spread of the technology, and giant companies are entering contracts to buy huge volumes of renewable energy. But none of that would have been possible without 1) the special federal tax breaks and credits for owners of solar panels, and 2) abundant capital seeking returns in a world of extraordinarily low interest rates. And in the second half of 2015, the... Read more