Ricardo Bayon

Ricardo Bayon is the Director of the Ecosystem Marketplace at Forest Trends.

Recent Articles

Unenlightened?

O ne sunny day in June of 1979, President Jimmy Carter installed solar water heaters on the roof of the White House. This symbolic act would mark the height of a mini-boom in solar energy in the U.S. It was accompanied by the creation of the Solar Energy Research Institute (now the National Renewable Energy Laboratory), the introduction of incentives and subsidies for renewable energy, and a major call for energy independence -- what Carter called "the moral equivalent of war." But the heyday was to be short-lived: The technology was young, immature and unreliable. And the massive subsidies put in place by the Carter administration led to the creation of a number of fly-by-night solar enterprises whose only interest was in getting their hands on a bit of government money. When the technology failed, these companies folded and many people lost faith in solar power. To this day, a reputation for unreliability haunts the solar energy industry. To make matters worse, in 1980 a new...