“Cleantech” is the term given to renewable energy innovations such as wind, solar, hydro, etc.. With viable, electric cars that hit the mainstream auto market just prior the housing financial crash, tax credits were put into place to spur investors into putting money down on cleantech ventures. In the recovery after the crash, the U.S. Administration saw that almost $15 Billion was invested as a part of stimulating economic recovery (in areas that could possibly reduce carbon emissions). Many people have heard of the solar subsidies, but it also extended to other energy area types.
As fuel oil prices stayed high the next couple of years, you could see the drop in pricing of capital/supplies, but it wasn’t driven so much from the now well endowed American companies offering lower prices as much as it was from Chinese product dropping the prices. And thus Chinese solar panels that were up toward $7 a watt in cost a decade ago are now almost $1 a watt. Time will tell what the life of the panels ends up being and how much quality reduction lead to possibly part of the price drop. Wind turbine prices have dropped also, yet they are in a different category in that you cannot buy inexpensive parts like panels, and over time ‘build up’ a considerable system. You choose turbines under much more constrained economic considerations which influences who and how much investment needs to be sought out. And hydro dams are even worse, with bonds often having to be utilized for purchasing a ‘unit’.
The question right now is with oil being forecasted at a drop to bring it back down to $20/barrell, what will that do to purchases- and investment for even ‘cleaner’ tech?