Wednesday March 20, 2013 | 09:27 AM

Apparently snowy days are good for getting business done — there's been a flurry of interesting business stories coming through during the storm. Here's a quick rundown:

The Sun Shines in Boothbay

The Boothbay Register last month reported that the town is considering installing a 117 kilowatt solar installation on its municipal buildings in a partnership with GridSolar and ReVision Energy.

The deal is almost too good to be true: the $350,000 solar array would essentially be paid for by the rest of the state's electric ratepayers, who save money on the deal because these solar panels would purportedly eliminate the need for Central Maine Power to build a much more expensive power line upgrade running down the Cape Newagen peninsula, from Edgecomb to Boothbay and Southport Island.

Instead of paying to have power delivered on bigger power lines, Boothbay will instead be generating more electricity right where it's being used, so (theoretically, anyhow) everyone saves.

Mainebiz's current issue has more details on the deal, why it ought to be a good deal for electric ratepayers inside and outside of the Cape Newagen peninsula, and how, if it's successful, it might be replicated in other power-line pinch points, including greater Portland.

Image: 2010 file photo of solar installers in California. Credit: The Associated Press

The Egg McMuffin Index

Quartz reports that Donald Thompson, the CEO of McDonald's, has been boasting about how his drive-thru lines are an economic indicator. Here's what he said an an investor's conference recently:

"This year you’ll see additional energy at breakfast as I mentioned. Also if the economy does improve, breakfast is one of those dayparts, breakfast or late night are the kind of dayparts where we typically will see it first. So, we’re optimistic once again that hopefully some of the trends that we are seeing will continue from an overall macroeconomic perspective."

I suppose this makes a certain amount of sense. As more people head back to work, you might well expect more of them to grab fast food at the drive-thru as they rush to their new jobs.

Image: A May 2, 2012, file photo shows a sign advertising job openings outside a McDonalds restaurant in Chesterland, Ohio. Credit: The Associated Press


Yesterday's business section ran an AP story about Cyprus, the Mediterranean island nation whose banks are in big trouble right now. But the semantics of this story are a bit misleading — this isn't your typical "bailout."

International financial agencies are refusing to cover the costs of the bad debt themselves. They're asking the troubled banks of Cyprus  — or rather, their account holders — to pay a substantial amount of the $20 billion needed to fix the country's bad debt.

Usually, if you put your money in a risky bank, losing some of it is part of the risk (as Planet Money explains). So unlike most "bailouts," where investors were spared from the financial consequences of their bad decisions, this proposal actually would hold the banks and their depositors to account — at least in part.

Cypriots — and the many offshore tax-sheltering account holders who stash money in Cypriot banks — are very upset about this idea. Yesterday afternoon, the Cyprus parliament rejected the plan to hold bank account holders responsible.

About this Blog

Subscribe to the
Commercial Confidential RSS feed

Commercial Confidential tracks Maine's business leaders and economic indicators.

About the Author

I'm an economics wonk and an online content producer for the Portland Press Herald.

You can get in touch with me by emailing cmilneil [at], or by calling 791-6307, or by following @vigorousnorth. Also check out my business and economics list on Twitter.

"On the Move": Submit items of interest regarding new employees, promotions and professional honors — with photos and LinkedIn URLs — to business [at]

Favorite Sites

Previous entries

April 2014

February 2014

January 2014

December 2013

November 2013

October 2013


September 2013

August 2013

July 2013

May 2013

April 2013

March 2013

February 2013

January 2013

Further Discussion

Here at we value our readers and are committed to growing our community by encouraging you to add to the discussion. To ensure conscientious dialogue we have implemented a strict no-bullying policy. To participate, you must follow our Terms of Use.

Questions about the article? Add them below and we’ll try to answer them or do a follow-up post as soon as we can. Technical problems? Email them to us with an exact description of the problem. Make sure to include:
  • type of computer or mobile device your are using
  • exact operating system and browser you are viewing the site on (TIP: You can easily determine your operating system here.)
Prefer to respond privately? Email us here.