It would be just great if solar energy made economic sense, but as it stands today, solar electricity is a lot more expensive than coal-fired power. The only way to make solar competitive is to raise your cost of electricity — are you ready for that bill to skyrocket?
Federal environmental regulations have been formally proposed to do just that. It’s not just your electricity bill, but look out for rising prices of groceries and everything else, because fuel/transportation costs affecs all prices. [Google this: coal regulation energy cost]
Energy is an important national issue, and there is a Federal role, but not by giving a bunch of money to a private company to , say, build a solar panel company (which is exactly what happened with the long gone $500+ Million from the Solyndra bankruptcy, who got that loan guarantee in the 2009 stimulus). See our Solyndra discussion at Corporate Welfare.
The problem with the Solyndra debacle was that by guaranteeing the loans, the government assumed the business and market risk. When investors spend Other People’s Money (“OPM”), they make different kinds of decisions, as compared to when they risk their own money. Duh!
The Smart Federal Role in Alternative Energy
There are two (2) steps to develop an unproved industry. The first is developing the raw science: Scientifically, can it be done? Since energy is an important national issue, supporting research efforts to develop sun and wind energy might be an appropriate government role.
The second step is the boring business stuff: In applying the raw science, can a business provide a service that consumers want at a cost they are willing to pay, including analyzing the business and legal environment, consumer demand, cost of labor (including unions), government regulation, tax burdens, management skills, and competitive forces (especially in a world economy)?
This is for people who know how to do business and analyze risk, and is especially not for politicians and government bureaucrats spending OPM.
Those Stupid Solar Tax Credits
In an effort to manipulate market forces, the government offers tax credits to offset the cost of installing solar panels, and between federal and state credits, it can make the costs of installing solar nearly zero to consumers — which means the government (meaning taxpayers, present and future) is paying for your neighbor’s solar panels.
Tax credits are a big selling point for solar installation companies when they sell solar panels made in China. So did this do much for creating American manufacturing jobs and a “green economy”?
A Few Words About Wind Power.
T. Boone Pickens, a businessman experienced in the energy sector, researched and lost a lot of money in wind farms. Do you think that politicians, with no energy business experience (only green political contributors), could do any better?
And neighbors are complaining and filing lawsuits over the noise of windmills.
And what do you think of the way-left Cape Cod crowd crying NIMBY?