Right now, the economy stinks. Companies big and small are shedding jobs as consumer confidence and spending falls. Stock prices are tumbling. And many of us are having to make tough decisions on what cut-backs we should make in our lives. In spite of all this bleak economic news, many of us thought a new, progressive, administration with lofty climate change goals would help the clean energy sector emerge from the recession relatively unscathed. But new reports are suggesting that clean energy is just as vulnerable to the credit crunch and reduced demand as anyone else.
In a piece that was featured in the New York Times entitled Dark Days For Green Energy the author made note of a few less than promising realities that now face wind and solar companies.
Waves of layoffs are expected
Trade groups are projecting 30 to 50% declines this year in installation of new equipment
The number of banks financing large scale projects has dropped by nearly 80%, leaving developers "starved for capital"
Prices are falling dramatically for solar panels
The end result is an industry that is looking and feeling a lot like all the other ones out there right now -- weakened.
Part of the reason why many felt so optimistic about clean energy's resilience during a recession was because of the amazing growth of clean tech over the last couple years. Due to great investment from all levels of government, private investors and the voluntary carbon market, clean energy was riding a wave of confidence. But when credit dries up and there is no access to fresh capital, even the mighty can feel the effects.
The role of groups like Carbonfund.org moving forward will be to do our best to continue to support high quality, third party validated clean energy projects. We cannot wait for the government to act. By purchasing carbon offsets through Carbonfund.org, you are providing much needed incentives for the continued production of clean energy projects -- a much needed boon for the industry.