I found an article on Bloomberg today describing the conditions challenging producer's of solar panels. The problems can be summarized as new and less expensive competition rising from China, health care legislation swamping everything else in the US Congress, and state subsidies shrinking in Europe. See article snips under "Read more".
Peabody Energy Corp., the biggest coal producer, is rated a “buy” by 79 percent of analysts, while 44 percent recommend First Solar Inc., the largest maker of thin-film solar panels. The Stowe Global Coal index of 38 coal producers has gained 6.5 percent in 2010, and the Bloomberg Global Leaders Solar index of 38 solar module and component makers has dropped 17 percent.
While investors including T. Boone Pickens and Warren Buffett are pushing cash into green technologies, the tilt toward Peabody and away from First Solar is the widest in two years.
Solar companies’ profitability is falling because of competition from China and cuts to state support in Germany and Spain, where about 72 percent power-producing photovoltaic panels were installed in 2008.