17 April 2008

Clean Tech: Bush Speech; Economy Can't Dim Solar's Bright Rising Star

Venture Beat's Chris Morrison reported yesterday on President George Bush's "environmental speech," indicating that "despite a lack of any real substance, Bush’s speech gave several cleantech stocks a substantial boost."

"The most notable of Bush’s statements," according to Venture Beat, "was that greenhouse gas emissions within the United States should peak in a decade or so, with a total halt in their growth in 2025 and a decline thereafter. Bush also stated that the United States would join an international accord and commit to binding targets if other countries, including developing economies like China and India, also do so."

Bush also suggested that "instead of the climate bills currently on the table, a combination of incentives and caps should be used to avoid 'harming the economy' as legislation forcing emissions cuts would — in effect, a suggestive nudge for industries, rather than an aggressive push. He also noted that a federal approach is needed, rather than state-by-state rules."

Meanwhile, VB's Jeremy Jaquot suggested that "while the market for silicon solar panels appears to be growing at a healthy clip, several factors could either retard or speed its development. A worldwide silicon shortage, government investment credits, energy prices and the existing financing and installation models for solar panels are all in flux. But recent developments in all of those sectors suggest a positive outlook for the sector.

"The Senate’s recent approval of the Clean Energy Tax Stimulus Act of 2008, which will provide an additional $20 billion to fund renewable energy projects, could, if ratified by both the House and president, encourage further investment. The House passed its own standalone bill, H.R. 5351, to renew an existing tax credit for renewable energy sources set to expire at the end of this year; the bill had previously been struck down twice by the president and faced resistance within the Senate, because it pulled investment credits away from oil companies.

"Supporters in the Senate are applying pressure toward ratification of the new bill, but the lack of a clear funding source for the credits puts it at risk both before the House. However, if passed, the measure will give solar manufacturers and installers a 30% investment tax credit and provide up to $500 to consumers looking to invest in energy-efficient products for their homes."

Read the complete articles: Here and here.