The U.S. economy finally experienced a little growth in the third quarter of 2009, taking a small 3.5 percent step in the right direction. While this modest growth doesn’t have consumers or economists jumping for joy, it is considered a harbinger of sunnier days to come despite the fact that a surplus of new jobs is not accompanying the growth, with national unemployment now above 10 percent.
Still, there is growth. And better yet, the future is looking especially bright for the green tech industry, including solar and renewable energy. In a recent post for Renewable Energy World, EnergyBiz Insider Editor-in-Chief Ken Silverstein pointed to several signs that green tech investment and companies were set to rise above the fold.
One of those signs was a study performed by Ernst & Young, which noted that clean technology investment capital had increased by 73 percent to $572 million in the second quarter of 2009 compared to the quarter preceding. That is an impressive jump in just a few months time. Solar energy deals harvested 26 percent of the $157 million that went to clean energy generation.
The federal government and the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 have played a key role in the blossoming of green tech companies. Over $136 billion in stimulus funding have gone or are going out to smart grid and clean tech investments and projects.
Still, green tech investments are down 59 percent from 2008 levels, which really goes to show how bad the first quarter of 2009 was for green ventures. It also goes to show that more than just investments will be needed to pull the economy out of the ditch. Even with 3.5 percent growth, unemployment is expected to continue rising into 2010. There must be jobs to accompany investments. You can pay all the towing companies you want to pull you car out of the ditch, but nothing will happen until there are bodies out there doing the pulling.
The bright side is that many of the jobs expected to result from these capital investments and government incentives will occur in the green tech sector, from caulking windows to developing new and improved solar cells. The best way to increase consumer confidence is to put consumers to work in high-quality, rewarding jobs. Who needs a rosy outlook when we’ve got green jobs in our sights?
Photo Credit: Green Techy