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Bill Radke: As America tries to wean itself from oil, there is a solar energy conference going on in Philadelphia. Today, a former CIA director talks about how much safer we’ll be if we are energy independent. Reporter Joel Rose went to the conference and found some solar power companies are feeling anxious.
Joel Rose: You might expect a trade show of solar panel makers and installers on the West Coast, but at a convention center in Philadelphia?
The mid-Atlantic location is no mistake, says Rhone Resch, president of the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Rhone Resch: This region of the country is going to grow faster over the next 10 years than the state of California, and this will be the largest market for solar.
There are about 140 exhibitors here. They’re all hoping to get a share of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal incentives for solar energy. But that money isn’t flowing yet, and that’s having some unintended consequences.
Mike Finocchario: There’s a slowdown in the marketplace, people basically waiting to see what the stimulus package is going to provide for them.
Mike Finocchario is the president of Schott Solar, a solar panel manufacturer based outside Boston.
Finocchario: There’s a lot of people looking to plan for the future, but there’s not a lot of short-term activity right now.
Finocchario says it could be next year before companies and consumers really start spending money on solar panels. And by then, some of these exhibitors may not be around.
In Philadelphia, I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.
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