During the recent stock market crash, solar energy stocks fell faster — and recovered more slowly — than the market at large. Over past 30 days, the Dow dropped 30%, while Suntech fell 47%, Trina fell 57%, JA Solar fell 51% and First Solar fell 59%. This despite passage of the long-sought renewable energy tax credit extensions.
What’s going on here? The San Francisco Chronicle suggests that politicians and financial firms focused on their own survival have little taste for investing in climate change solutions right now. It’s true that some of the biggest backers of renewable energy projects — Lehman Bros. was one — are stressed or gone. Beyond that, the economic meltdown gives added ammunition to fossil-fuel advocates who claim that investment in renewable energy would act as a brake, not an spur, to the economy. But the most important issue is that when banks don’t loan money, homeowners don’t get home improvement loans, installers can’t stock up on components or meet payrolls, and importers can’t send letters of credit.
Clarity may emerge with the new Congress in January. Members of the House of Representatives have already begun shaping the next run at cap-and-trade legislation to limit carbon emissions.
5 Comments so far
Leave a comment