The solar power industry saw its star decline over the last
few years, hammered by a toxic combination of political
controversy, massive oversupply in the solar cell
and competition from cheaper Chinese manufacturers. The
highest-profile problems came as congressional Republican
assailed the Obama administration over its handling of a $535
to Solyndra, which later went bankrupt.
That setback pushed the government farther out of the solar
financing game, which it dominated in the boom years. Since its
peak in 2008, shares of the most important US manufactuer, First
Solar, declined (
) from over $300 to less than $30. That decline mirrors the fall
in the Guggenheim Solar
), which declined more than 90 percent over the same period.
As energy prices continue to rise, however, some private
investors are getting back into the game. Bloomberg News reports
heavyweights like Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A), Google (
) and KKR have jumped back into investing in solar projects,
seeking out the regular returns of 15 percent or more that an
established solar infrastructure project can generate.
"A solar power project with a
sales agreement could be viewed as a machine that generates
revenue," Marty Klepper, an attorney with Skadden Arps Slate
Meagher & Flom LLP, told the news source. Klepper's firm
a major solar deal.