Most of the major publicly traded solar companies have seen their stock prices decline by around 10 to 20 percent over the last three months. SolarCity, a residential and commercial supplier, has dipped from $54 to $49 per share. First Solar, which makes utility-scale projects, dropped from $56 to $43. Panel manufacturers JinkoSolar and SolarWorld are down from $23 to $18 per share and $14 to $12, respectively.
Normally, declining stock prices would reflect weak growth or a shaky outlook for an industry. But solar energy is growing by leaps and bounds. In the first three quarters of 2014, 3,966 megawatts of solar capacity were installed in the U.S., compared to 2,647 MW in the first three quarters of 2013. Solar deployment is not only expanding, but the pace at which it’s growing keeps accelerating. In 2014, according to a new report from the Solar Foundation, an independently funded think tank, the solar industry added workers almost 20 times faster than the overall U.S. economy, accounting for almost 1.3 percent of all jobs created.