Coronavirus chill upends solar power industry By Reuters

© Reuters. Kauahou, a worker of the installation company Alromar, sets up solar panels on the roof of a home in Colmenar Viejo


By Nichola Groom, Isla Binnie and Nina Chestney

LOS ANGELES/MADRID/LONDON (Reuters) – The booming rooftop solar panel industry nosedived overnight when the coronavirus forced homeowners to rein in spending and keep their distance from would-be installers.

Now, in their struggle to survive, companies on both sides of the Atlantic are turning to online marketing rather than knocking on doors, using drones to inspect roofs, arranging digital permits and coming up with attractive new financing plans, according to interviews with 12 executives.

At stake is the future of a key driver of the global transition from fossil fuels to renewable energy: solar power was the second-fastest growing renewable source after wind in 2019, according to the International Energy Agency.

And rooftop installations, which generate electricity used

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What should income investors do as dividends go out of fashion? Look to Warren Buffett

It has been a dismal year for income investors. The economic shock from COVID-19 has proved deadly for dividends, with scores of companies reducing, deferring or cancelling their payouts to investors altogether.

When income stalwart Royal Dutch Shell Plc. cut its dividend for the first time since the Second World War, some said it heralded the death of equity income as we know it.

Others were less pessimistic, hoping the income drought could be temporary. Last week, property company Land Securities became the first FTSE 100 firm to say it intended to restart dividend payments later this year.

However, the economic impact of the virus is likely to weigh on the level of payouts for some time to come. Historic yields for global equities are now roughly in line or slightly below long-term averages. While we can expect a recovery in dividends as economies ‘normalise,’ we don’t know how long

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Why Warren Buffett is falling on the world’s richest list

Warren Buffett’s $2.9 billion gift this week means he has now given away Berkshire Hathaway Inc. shares valued at more than $37 billion since 2006.

His philanthropy — along with Berkshire’s underwhelming stock performance recently — is finally starting to weigh on his net worth after years where his fortune defied his annual giveaways to rise ever higher. Buffett’s $68.6 billion is enough for eighth-place on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, his lowest position since the index started in 2012. He ranked in the top 5 as recently as June.

But in recent weeks the 89-year-old has been leapfrogged first by Steve Ballmer, the former Microsoft Corp. chief executive officer, and this week by Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin. The changes underline the extent to which technology fortunes now dominate the upper echelons of the world’s richest people.

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