Solar energy is the latest example of every time the U.S. government picks winners and losers in the marketplace, the big loser is the American taxpayer.
By 2017 the federal crutch for the solar industry (tax credits) expires and according to many different sources the solar energy industry will collapse like a house of cards.
“Solar power’s value as a grid resource is limited because we simply can’t count on it to meet peak demand in the evenings,” Travis Fischer, economist at the Institute for Energy Research, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “In fact, solar power could cause major problems if implemented on a wide scale due to its daytime-only production profile.”
The Solar power industry has shown strong growth since Obama became president but but because the solar panels and their installation is so expensive, that growth has been been heavily supported by taxpayer supported government incentives.
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The 30 percent investment tax credit for solar power will expire at the end of 2016, threatening the long term future of the industry. The solar industry has been expanding in the U.S. with installations up 30 percent on the year, according to The Wall Street Journal. But critics warn that much of this success is due to government efforts to pick winners and losers in energy and cast solar power as an updated and modern technology.
But here’s the rub, solar energy is not that new and modern:
“Advocates like to leave the impression that solar power is an exciting, new technology with a limitless future. In reality, solar power is not new–photovoltaic solar panels date back to 1883,” said Fischer.
Experts warn that ending the subsidy will devastate solar power and could cost the industry thousands of jobs. Bloomberg estimates a two-thirds drop in solar instillations in 2017 if the credit expires, reports The Wall Street Journal. According to Energy Information Administration data, rooftop instillations could plummet 94 percent while utility scale projects could drop by 100 percent.
And while the progressives like Obama keep talking about the “rich” needing to do their fair share, because of the expense of setting up solar panels those solar energy tax credits are going to wealthier families with larger houses. Gee that’s not very liberal of them.
And as it represents such a tiny amount of U.S. electricity, (0.004 of the total output) there is doubt to whether it will ever be an important part of the future U.S. energy source.
“Despite being heavily subsidized by handouts like the investment tax credit, solar power still makes up only a small fraction of the electricity we need to keep the lights on,” said Fischer.
The solar energy field looks as if it will go the way of another Obama turkey, the Chevy Volt. Since its introduction, General Motors hasn’t been able give away the Chevy Volt. Despite rebates and heavy government subsidies sales of the “plug-in hybrid” continue to be way below projections.
In 2013, General Motors announced it was going to knock another $5,000 off the sticker price of a new Chevy Volt, making it the latest electric car to be steeply discounted as automakers battle to find any
suckers er..consumers, who will purchase their cars even with tax credits and a steep discount.
A May 2015 report in The Detroit Free Press said the Volt sales have seen a huge 46% decline compared to 2014’s lousy sales, and that’s with a $7,500 federal tax credit.
The issue with the forced solar energy market is the same as the electric car market.
Generally, in a free marketplace, consumer pressure forces the manufacturer to develop superior products at a cheaper cost. But thanks to all the help it is getting from the American taxpayers (thanks to Obama), the incentive is not as strong. Sales for electric cars haven’t taken off despite the incentives, the solar marketplace is destined to fail once the incentives go away because it uses technology that is more than a century old.
America’s choice is to continue to prop up these industries, or allow the marketplace force a better product at cheaper costs.
Note: The cartoon at the top of this post was created by 2x Pulitzer Prize winning cartoonist Michael Ramirez. If you don’t read him at Investor’s Business Daily or on Facebook you are doing yourself a great disservice!