Yes, it’s true. The Cleantech industry needs some PR. It is unfortunately getting a bad rap with the downfall of solar giant Solyndra – the biggest story impacting the industry since the BP oil spill. For those needing a refresher – the solar company failed earlier this year (for a number of reasons), despite a $535 million loan guarantee from the U.S. Government.
The company’s downfall not only cast a shadow over the solar industry – it spread far beyond that to impact the renewable energy industry, the cleantech industry as a whole and became the example of poor government decision-making in regard to cleantech stimulus. While our government has picked some lemons, it has also picked many winners, albeit on a much smaller funding scale. For example, many promising government supported technologies are coming out of the biofuel sector, yet few are noted as government success stories since many companies are now leery of promoting ties to the government, once viewed as a seal of approval.
Sadly, the saga entered its next phase last week, as U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu faced lawmakers in an ongoing government investigation into the bankruptcy of Solyndra. This is expected to last months or longer, continuing to drag the cleantech industry’s reputation along with it.
Or will it?
The solar industry and cleantech industry as a whole are banding together to fight the current public sentiment. They will accomplish this with a sincere desire to change the energy equation through new efficient, cost-competitive technologies that provide jobs, intellectual capital and keep the U.S. in the global cleantech playing field. The U.S. cleantech industry isn’t going to accept Solyndra as its poster child.
And, it’s up to us, the communicators, to help the industry do this. We need to keep telling cleantech success stories, technology advancement stories, investment opportunity stories and most of all, stories that educate people about cleantech, its benefits and its importance for the future.
Image courtesy of Abi Skipp.