Is Solar Sitting Pretty?
One would have thought it would be absurd to try to find a silver lining in the week-long tragedy still unfolding in Japan. But the world's investors have strong imaginations, apparently. Earlier this week while searching for cleantech news, I came across a number of articles describing a huge run up in share prices of solar firms.
Bloomberg now reports, "The Bloomberg Global Leaders Solar Index has risen about 9.1 percent since March 11, when an earthquake and tsunami in Japan knocked out cooling systems at a Tokyo Electric Power Co. reactor, releasing radioactive pollution." But the piece quickly lets the air out of the balloon, saying "While the incident triggered speculation governments will scale back nuclear power in favor of renewable, solar panel demand is stagnating."
Basically, after a doubling of solar installions last year - led by Germany - governments have ratcheted back the incentives that are the primary driver of demand for companies like U.S.-based First Solar. First Solar was one of the leading firms to receive positive fall-out from the nuclear disaster this week.
Because solar is not now the main focus of government interventions, any turning away from nuclear energy plans is more likely to benefit energy efficiency and natural gas projects, Bloomberg reports.