In 2008, Obama campaigned on a few issues, none more memorable, and comical, than his goal to stop the world’s sea levels from rising…
So when he first took office there was a shift in government support from fossil fuels to renewables, specifically biofuels and solar energy. And in 2009, during the heart of the Great Recession, solar energy companies began to receive a ton of interest and investor capital as the global geopolitical landscape was shifting to support this green initiative, led by Obama. But then, reality set in, and investors started to realize the cart may have been put ahead of the horse as solar, to this day, is not self-sustaining. It can’t survive without subsidies. Furthermore, in 2010, fracking took off across America and regions like Pennsylvania, North Dakota and Colorado became fossil fuel titans, propelling America to the world’s leading oil producer, which eventually caused congress to lift the fourty year ban on exporting oil; and in 2011, Solyndra, the disgraced California solar energy company, which received over $500 million of government funding from Obama’s stimulus program, collapsed, embarrassing the administration in the process.
In part, that government-backed disaster, combined with the rise of fracking, paused the American renewable energy revolution. But it’s safe to say that in 2016 solar is back, and likely going to be bigger than ever with global governments embracing it and turning their collective backs on fossil fuel production once again.
Solar Energy Investing is Back in Vogue
After COP 21 in Paris in December, the push for renewables by governments is kicking into 6th gear. And with the oil industry shedding hundreds of thousands of jobs across the world, the populous is largely in support of their government’s green initiatives. Fossil fuels are now the red head step child of the energy industry, scorned and ridiculed by every progressive politician and hipster in the Western world.
To the credit of green energy innovators, solar technology has been inching closer to sustainability – an apparent when, not if.
Roads Made with Solar Panels: Wattway
On that note, there’s one very interesting engineering company developing solar panels to be used on roadways. The project is appropriately named ‘Wattway.’ The company is known as Colas, a firm started near the onset of the Great Depression; and not surprisingly, it’s based in France.
5 years into its R&D, it appears Colas’ road panels are not too far away from being installed on streets across Europe. In fact, what brought my attention to the matter was that Colas has been contracted by the French government to roll out these solar road panels across 1,000 kilometres of French roadway…
With the technology apparently capable of handling various types of traffic, it could end up providing tremendous amounts of electricity for street lights, shops and buildings. And it could be a fantastic solution for providing electricity to rural, more off-the-grid areas in the world.
The economics behind the technology aren’t clear to me as of writing, but this could be a game-changer, and a real feather in the cap for the solar industry, if the Wattway plan proves a success in France.
Keep your eye on Colas. The solar energy industry is reemerging and once again receiving a lot of attention from the mainstream media and investors alike.
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