First Solar (FSLR) has become a $20 billion company by focusing on the European commercial solar market and taking advantage of generous government subsidies. But as subsidy support begins to dry up in Europe, the attention is turning to the US. $145 oil, a thirst for energy indepence, and a global warming backlash are finally prompting US politicians to move. While the solar Investment Tax Credits (ITCs) extension remains stalled in Congress, new residential (and commercial) focused solar legislation is being proposed. Senate.gov (10 Million Solar Roof Act of 2008):
To expand solar power for single homes and businesses, meanwhile, [Sen. Bernie] Sanders said he will introduce a bill that would make it more affordable to install rooftop solar panels. Rebates would cover about one-half of the $20,000 average cost of installing a solar unit that, depending on location, could provide up to one-half of the electricity for a typical home.
The legislation’s bipartisan cosponsors include Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), John Warner (R-Va.), and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.).
The 10 Million Solar Roofs Act of 2008 would encourage installation of 10 million photovoltaic systems over a 10-year period at private homes and businesses. Non-profit organisations, and state and local governments also would be eligible for rebates covering up to half the cost of systems. In order to qualify for the federal rebates, the homes and businesses would have to meet stringent energy efficiency standards.
Piper has already declared FSLR is the only solar company that can compete for utility projects in the US even without the Investment Tax Credits. But any legislative help from the US, residential or commercial, would obviously help FSLR and other solar stocks.
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