I’ve been asked a few times what the current economic situation mean to the solar industry. (It’s amusing that people would think would I know.) My stock answer was that it’ll probably hurt the more marginal propositions, and slow down uptake in areas where there aren’t programs to support solar. The article linked above provides a decent analysis and some of the broad strokes. There will be more pressure from investors to have your ducks in a row and really demonstrate profitability, and home owners might delay upgrades because getting loans becomes harder.
But demand and prices for electricity are going up, resistance to nuclear, coal and natural gas plants are holding, the consequences of carbon are becoming more apparent, consumer demand for clean energy is growing and there is an ongoing boom in innovation in the industry supported by a continuing flow of investment. So… I think the solar industry will weather the current economic crisis.
A couple of points to consider. A summary of some recent deals and funding in solar by Cleantech.com, a good summary of the impact of the ITC passing, even without the US, solar is booming elsewhere, Spain for example.
Put another way, we’ve recieved dozens of meeting requests from people attending the Solar Power International 2008 conference, and we’re a start up still in the prototype phase of product development. We have allot of interesting things to talk about, but I can’t even imagine what it must be like for people with a product already available on the market. I said that 2009 will be remembered as the year of solar, and I stand by it. Good time to be entering the industry.