Solar, Wind Boom Starts to Wither

Once thought recession-proof, green tech takes a hit
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 4, 2009 8:22 AM CST
Solar, Wind Boom Starts to Wither
Barack Obama holds a large bolt presented to him during a visit to Cardinal Fastener and Specialty Co. in Bedford Heights, Ohio, which makes hardware for wind turbines.   (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Wind and solar power have been growing at breakneck speed over the past few years—a demand the industry had hoped would continue to soar under the Obama administration. But instead, wind and solar power is dropping, with trade groups projecting a drop in new installations of up to 50%. As the New York Times reports, the economic downturn and frozen credit have taken a toll on a sector that once seemed invincible.

"I thought if there was any industry that was bulletproof, it was that industry," says the mayor of one North Dakota town, where a local wind power company has cut 20% of its workforce. Where once more than a dozen banks offered generous loans to finance installation of turbines and solar panels, the credit crisis has cut off funding and left green business in trouble. Even T. Boone Pickens, the Texas billionaire, has scaled back his plans to expand into wind farms. (Read more North Dakota stories.)

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