Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Economy Clouds Solar's Prospects

Is solar the new ethanol? Some would argue that the parallels are eerily similar when you consider that, despite government subsidies, the solar industry is finding it tough sledding...

Today's San Francisco Chronicle dives into the impact that the worsening economy is having on the solar industry. Despite the implicit (explicit?) backing of the federal goverment and President Obama's unequivocal seal of approval, solar is not immune to the the lack of financing for new deals that other industries are experiencing:

"Last year, Congress enriched and extended a 30 percent federal tax credit on solar installations. California, which adds another 15 to 20 percent in incentives on top of that, has seen solar installations soar, according to California Public Utilities Commission analyst Molly Tirpak Sterkel.

"We have continued to see strong, in fact record, installations in California despite the economic conditions, and we are optimistic that it will continue in 2009," she said. But industry sources say the nationwide market, while still growing, is growing slower."