Solar facing hurdles, but sector still holds much promise

The headlines on solar energy have been a bit confusing the past few days. On the one hand, Germany's Q-Cells, the world's largest maker of solar cells, and Solon, a solar module manufacturer reported first-quarter net losses. On the other hand, PG&E Corp.'s (PCG) utility has agreed to the world's largest solar power deal, while Suntech Power (STP) announced plans to build a manufacturing facility in the United States to serve the growing U.S. market for large-scale utility projects.

Keeping the mixed message going , The Wall Street Journal says, "The global recession and tight credit conditions have cast a chill on the solar-power industry after years of breakneck growth, and could usher in long-term changes in the industry," while Reuters reports, "Globally in 2008, solar heating capacity increased by 15 percent."