We know about President Obama’s stimulus package and all its perks for the renewable energy industry, but we’re still hearing of solar companies declaring profit loss, being bought out or not meeting their targets. How long will it take for the new policies to make a difference? According to Oregon-based research firm Clean Edge in their report, “Clean Energy Trends 2009,” solar will really pick up the pace by 2018.
As with any other type of progress, things have to get worse before they get better. With job loss rampant in the U.S. right now, it’s hard to believe projections that the solar and wind power industries will be responsible for creating 2.65 million jobs all over the world within the next ten years. So how is it that these industries’ investments will flatline or even drop off in 2009?
According to Clean Edge’s report, solar, wind and biofuel will be a $325 billion industry by 2018 – that is, after we make it through a transitional economic period which rivals that of the Great Depression. We’re going to see a decline in renewable energy revenues after two years of commendable growth and large-scale projects being slashed, due to the collapse of the global credit markets. We’ll also see solar power start-up companies pulling out of projects or being amalgamated with their larger competitors. One thing is pretty certain, though: the new stimulus package along with last year’s tax credits to utilities companies will indeed aid renewable energy developers through these tough times, and that is the first step in getting solar and other renewable energy sources off the ground.
The solar energy industry’s 2008 revenues added up to $29.4 billion, and it’s projected to ascend to $80.6 billion by 2018. So basically, the solar industry is in the same state we all are: hanging on tight and looking ahead to a brighter, cleaner future. All we need is patience.