Sunday, January 24, 2010
Stagnant growth for green jobs
I never saw this coming - not!
MINNEAPOLIS -- Last year, Randy Hagen, president of Solar Skies Mfg in Starbuck, Minn., laid off four of his 14 workers after orders stalled for the rooftop solar collectors he makes. Government rebates promised last year under the Obama administration's green jobs initiative never won final approval, so consumers didn't buy.
"Everyone who is considering buying a solar thermal system in Minnesota was hoping there may be some rebate stimulus dollars available to them," Hagen said. "(But the) proposed rebate for solar thermal has not yet been approved by the Department of Energy. ... This has literally halted solar thermal sales and has directly hurt our business. ... Yet everyone perceives that if you are in renewable energy you should be doing well."
The Obama administration's call for green jobs as an economic savior initially sparked hope for economic recovery. But the federal funds have only dribbled into the sector, held up by various shades of bureaucratic red tape and the lingering credit crisis. As a result, projects stalled and workers got pink slips as banks froze credit, venture capital firms slowed sector investments and government rebates snagged. By year-end, green-sector job freezes and losses far outweighed gains. Read more.