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Green investment.

Kai Ryssdal: The dirtiest word in clean energy right now is the failed solar company Solyndra. The company said today its CEO has resigned, something that was apparently in the works even before the bankruptcy filing.

But it turns out the clean energy sector actually turned in a pretty good third quarter. Investments are way up. Stock prices, though, are way down. So what gives?

That's why we have Adriene Hill working here.


Adriene Hill: The story of the clean energy market:

Ethan Zindler: It's definitely a bit of a good times, bad times story.

Ethan Zindler is an analyst with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, the group that reports on the clean energy market. And the results can seem a bit befuddling: If wind and solar investments are up, totaling more than $41 billion last quarter, why would stocks in the sector be down by more than a third?

In part:

Zindler: General oversupply in the marketplace.

Too many producers and too few buyers. Oversupply pushes down prices, which crushes profits for companies that make solar panels and wind turbines. But those lower prices also make investment in big projects more attractive.

Zindler: As clean energy costs get lower, there is more deployment and more projects built because the stuff becomes more economically viable.

So where are those investments happening? Offshore wind, especially last quarter. Europe is betting big on offshore wind to replace coal and nuclear. It's a trend that William Moore, CEO of Deepwater Wind, is counting on.

William Moore: Commercial investors are jumping into wind projects in northern Europe in just the way you'd like to see with a maturing industry. I think all of that will come to the U.S. as well.

His company just announced plans to build a wind farm off the coast of Rhode Island, hoping it'll be the first of many in the U.S.

I'm Adriene Hill for Markeptlace.

About the author

Adriene Hill is the senior multimedia reporter for LearningCurve.

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