Greg's Bite: the crazy politics of solar energy
TweetFollow Us on Twitter

Greg's Bite: the crazy politics of solar energy

By Greg Mills (gregmills@mac.com)

May 18, 2012: the US Department of Commerce places high tariffs on imported Chinese photovoltaic cells. In one of the most stunning, counter-intuitive, anti-green, anti-free enterprise moves the Obama administration has ever made (is that saying something or what?), the US has just placed tariffs of up to 249% on imported Chinese photovoltaic cells. Cheap photocells are bad for the US market? 

Three US photocell manufacturers whined to the Department of Commerce that Chinese photovoltaic cell manufacturing is being "subsidized" by the Chinese government, which allows them to "dump" cheap photovoltaic cells on the market.  What a terrible thing: dumping cheap photocells and cheap solar panels! The choice between dumped cheap Chinese photocells that produce "free" electricity for 20 years or more vs. expensive oil (which will only go up astronomically in cost over time) makes the new tariff as stupid as a bag of hammers. 

The biggest barrier to green energy, in the form of photoelectric installation, is really the cost per installed watt. The cost per watt for Chinese photocells has recently gone down dramatically due to China scaling up its silicon cell production and recent innovation. That the Chinese government was wise enough to invest in producing cheap solar cells is a good thing, not a bad thing.  

The US has recently done exactly the same thing, but foolishly invested in the wrong technology and squandered billions of tax dollars. We subsidize new solar installations in the US, so the "crime" of government interference in the solar market really cuts both ways. You can invest in driving the price per watt down or subsidize installation -- what is the difference? Both approaches are valid to achieve the major goal of converting to green energy. 

If the question is phrased like this; if the Chinese government chooses to dramatically reduce the price of solar cells to the world market, is that good or bad? Most people would think the Chinese are doing us a big favor, but that is not the thinking of the Obama administration. Supporting the fortunes of three US solar cell manufacturers is more important to the administration than the stated major goal of converting the US to renewable energy at affordable prices. 

As an old timer in the solar energy industry, I have seen the devastating effect short sighted governmental action has on the solar market. Back in the Carter administration the long lines for gasoline drove the government towards subsidizing solar energy with generous tax credits. A solar energy industry sprang up and began to move the US towards getting off the virtual energy monopoly imported oil had on us. As soon as oil prices leveled off, the solar subsidies expired and the fledgling solar industry withered. Private investments in solar startups were lost.

The time frame for launching and maturing solar energy technology is something the idiots in Congress don't understand. If nothing else, the solar energy business needs a stable environment as far as governmental issues are concerned. A tax credit program to support the conversion from oil to solar needs to be predictable and stupid things like intentionally and dramatically increasing the market price of solar cells is retrograde to the point of idiocy. 

Is it better for the US to have a way to economically achieve the goal of converting to green energy or is the protection of three non-competitive domestic solar cell manufactures more important? Gordon Brinser, president of SolarWorld Industries, who filed the complaint in October of last year with the Commerce Department gloated;  "The verdict is in, (the US) Commerce (department) has now confirmed that Chinese manufacturers are guilty of illegally dumping solar cells and panels in the US market."  

The argument that domestic production needs to be protected for the long term good of the USA makes sense. The issue is the way the Obama administration has chosen to do it. The department of Energy has been so motivated in granting money to politically favored solar companies they were blindsided by unproven and it turns out flawed solar technology.  Investing in innovative refinement and scaling up of known technology was the choice the Chinese made. US taxpayers bet $528,000,000 on Solyndra and lost it all. If investing half a billion dollars in Solyndra is different than what the Chinese did, I would like for someone to explain it to me.  

I submit that freely letting the Chinese dump all the cheap solar panels on the US market they want makes perfect sense. If the Chinese raise prices after driving US manufactures out of business, new and better technology and new companies are sure to spring up in a truly free enterprise environment.  To me the choice between expensive oil and cheap solar panels, no matter where they are made, is a no brainer.  

Greg Mills is a former Solar Contractor in California and Hawaii and an inventor.  See http://www.cottageindustrysolar.com .

 

Community Search:
MacTech Search:

Software Updates via MacUpdate

Ellipsis - Touch. Explore. Survive. (...
Ellipsis - Touch. Explore. Survive. 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $2.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: | Read more »
Ys Chronicles II (Games)
Ys Chronicles II 1.0.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0.0 (iTunes) Description: After a hard fight to recover the six sacred books in Ys Chronicles I, Adol is back for a sequel! | Read more »
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ (Games)
FINAL FANTASY Ⅸ 1.0.4 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $16.99, Version: 1.0.4 (iTunes) Description: ==========●Special sale price for the FINAL FANTASY IX release! ●20% off from February 10 to February 21, 2016... | Read more »
Tennis Club Story (Games)
Tennis Club Story 1.03 Device: iOS Universal Category: Games Price: $4.99, Version: 1.03 (iTunes) Description: Aim for the ace position of tennis club prestige in this simulation! Your leadership decides if players make it to the big... | Read more »
Juggernaut Wars guide - How to use skill...
Juggernaut Warsis a brand new auto-RPG on iOS and Android that challenges you to build a team of heroes, send them out into various different missions to defeat waves of heroes, and level them up to increase their power. The actual combat itself... | Read more »
Check out the new Pirate Attack update i...
Love pirates and board games? Well, you'll love the new Pirate Attack themed update that just launched in Game of Dice. It adds a bunch of new content themed around pirates, like an all new event map based on a pirate ship which revamps the toll... | Read more »
Splash Cars guide - How to paint the tow...
Splash Cars is an arcade driving game that feels like a hybrid between Dawn of the Plow and Splatoon. In it, you'll need to drive a car around to repaint areas of a town that have lost all of their color. Check out these tips to help you perform... | Read more »
The best video player on mobile
We all know the stock video player on iOS is not particularly convenient, primarily because it asks us to hook a device up to iTunes to sync video in a world that has things like Netflix. [Read more] | Read more »
Four apps to help improve your Super Bow...
Super Bowl Sunday is upon us, and whether you’re a Panthers or a Broncos fan you’re no doubt gearing up for it. [Read more] | Read more »
LooperSonic (Music)
LooperSonic 1.0 Device: iOS Universal Category: Music Price: $4.99, Version: 1.0 (iTunes) Description: LooperSonic is a multi-track audio looper and recorder that will take your loops to the next level. Use it like a loop pedal to... | Read more »

Price Scanner via MacPrices.net

App Annie Reveals Future of the App Economy:...
App Annie, a San Francisco based mobile app data and insights platform, has launched its first comprehensive app economy forecast. This new offering will provide brands, agencies, investors and app... Read more
Apple restocks Certified Refurbished Mac mini...
Apple has restocked Certified Refurbished 2014 Mac minis, with models available starting at $419. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each mini, and shipping is free: - 1.4GHz Mac mini: $419 $... Read more
What iPad Pro Still Needs To Make It Truly Pr...
I love my iPad Air 2. So much that I’m grudgingly willing to put up with its compromises and limitations as a production tool in order to take advantage of its virtues. However, since a computer for... Read more
21-inch 3.1GHz 4K on sale for $1399, $100 off...
B&H Photo has the 21″ 3.1GHz 4K iMac on sale $1399 for a limited time. Shipping is free, and B&H charges NY sales tax only. Their price is $100 off MSRP: - 21″ 3.1GHz 4K iMac (MK452LL/A): $... Read more
Apple price trackers, updated continuously
Scan our Apple Price Trackers for the latest information on sales, bundles, and availability on systems from Apple’s authorized internet/catalog resellers. We update the trackers continuously: - 15″... Read more
Save up to $240 with Apple Certified Refurbis...
Apple is now offering Certified Refurbished 12″ Retina MacBooks for up to $240 off the cost of new models. Apple will include a standard one-year warranty with each MacBook, and shipping is free. The... Read more
Apple refurbished 13-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $270 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.7GHz... Read more
Apple refurbished Time Capsules available for...
Apple has certified refurbished Time Capsules available for $120 off MSRP. Apple’s one-year warranty is included with each Time Capsule, and shipping is free: - 2TB Time Capsule: $179, $120 off - 3TB... Read more
13-inch 2.5GHz MacBook Pro (refurbished) avai...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros available for $829, or $270 off the cost of new models. Apple’s one-year warranty is standard, and shipping is free: - 13″ 2.5GHz MacBook Pros... Read more
Apple refurbished 15-inch Retina MacBook Pros...
Apple has Certified Refurbished 2015 15″ Retina MacBook Pros available for up to $380 off the cost of new models. An Apple one-year warranty is included with each model, and shipping is free: - 15″ 2... Read more

Jobs Board

Lead Engineer - *Apple* OSX & Hardware...
Lead Engineer - Apple OSX & Hardware **Job ID:** 3125919 **Full/Part\-Time:** Full\-time **Regular/Temporary:** Regular **Listed:** 2016\-02\-10 **Location:** Cary, Read more
Simply Mac *Apple* Specialist- Service Repa...
Simply Mac is the largest premier retailer of Apple products in the nation. In order to support our growing customer base, we are currently looking for a driven Read more
Infrastructure Engineer - *Apple* /Mac - Rem...
…part of a team Requires proven problem solving skills Preferred Additional: Apple Certified System Administrator (ACSA) Apple Certified Technical Coordinator (ACTC) Read more
Lead Engineer - *Apple* OSX & Hardware...
Lead Engineer - Apple OSX & Hardware **Job ID:** 3125919 **Full/Part\-Time:** Full\-time **Regular/Temporary:** Regular **Listed:** 2016\-02\-10 **Location:** Cary, Read more
*Apple* System Analyst - ATOS IT Services...
Apple System AnalystReference no.198783CountryUSARegionUS - CALIFORNIACityUS - CALIFORNIA - BURBANKPosition TypeProfessionalJob AreaIT SupportJob TypeFull Read more
All contents are Copyright 1984-2011 by Xplain Corporation. All rights reserved. Theme designed by Icreon.