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Analysts also cite problems with companies not being able to get the necessary financing to break ground on major projects. Some developers are waiting on the government to see if it will continue to offer the large tax credits that helped peak interest in solar development five years ago. The tax credit is supposed to drop from 30 percent to 10 percent in 2016.
This has already resulted in a substantial value reduction in utility stocks, while most of the U.S. equity markets were marching higher. Utilities had been a favorite investment vehicle in light of practically non-existing returns on most fixed income investments in a lengthening time frame of record low interest rates.
“It’s pretty simple,” said Bloom of Winstong and Strawn. “If they aren’t getting power purchase agreements from utilities to build utility-scale solar, you are going to shift to distributed generation. It’s going to be the next wave.”
Also, they plan to explore the potential for using the same process to turn the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide into a carbon-based fuel such as methanol that could be burned in a closed loop, generating carbon dioxide to be used again.
CHAPEL HILL — A team of researchers led by a UNC-Chapel Hill chemistry professor has discovered a potential solution to one of the fundamental problems of generating large amounts of energy from the sun’s rays: how to store some of the power so it’s available at night.