Political special interests continue to push costly, job-killing legislation to fill their own pockets. $327 million spent on government solar project, the SunShot Initiative, is just one example of the corruption that is polluting the energy industry. Not only is solar research massively expensive, but also has serious problems. Used solar panels are a new form of toxic waste and statistically government regulations in this industry have been shown to kill jobs in the U.S. and internationally.
SunShot, an initiative of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), subsidizes solar in an attempt to make it competitive with other forms of energy. According to the U.S. DOE website, $110 million has been awarded to the following three Photovoltaic (technology solar panels use to produce energy) Manufacturing Initiative (PMI) organizations over the next five years: The Bay Area PV Consortium (BAPVC), SVTC Solar and the U.S. Photovoltaic Manufacturing Consortium.
The BAPVC is managed primarily by Stanford University. BAPVC partners include Leland Stanford Junior University and UC Berkley, and member companies: GE, Dupont, Heliovolt, Bosch, Corning, Applied Materials, Konica Minolta, AltaDevices, NuvoSun, Calisolar, and Encore Solar.
SVTC Solar has developed a Green Jobs Platform for Solar that Green for All (launched in 2007 by Van Jones), Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles, United Steelworkers Local 675 (union), UNITES Professionals India (union) and Worksafe (union advocates), and others have signed onto.
SVTC Solar made interesting comments in 2011 regarding Solyndra’s bankruptcy, “. . companies which we do silently root for and Solyndra was one.” and, “Solyndra, they frequently lamented how costly it was to keep jobs here (California) and regardless of the strong environmental laws in California they did not go elsewhere.”
In 2012, SVTC comments on the problem of overburdensome California regulations stating, “DTSC (California Department of Toxic Substances Control) continues to add to the State’s complex maze of hazardous waste regulation” and notes the resulting loss of jobs. This reinforces the argument against overburdensome environmental regulations, which kill jobs in a number of industries, not just solar. These same regulations are promoting an industry that continues to create toxic waste, despite millions of grant money dedicated to “green” solar research. Yet we don’t hear of environmentalists in an uproar about this type of pollution.
We see these problems today not only in the U.S., but in Europe. “Experiments with renewable energy in Europe have led to job loss, higher energy prices, and corruption,” according to experience and studies noted in an article entitled, “The Myth of Green Energy Jobs: The European Experience” and published by the American Enterprise Institute(AIE). The research notes specific data including, “Since 2000, Spain spent 571,138 euros on each green job. . . The programs creating those jobs destroyed nearly 110,500 jobs elsewhere in the economy (2.2 jobs destroyed for every green job created).” And in regards to outside interest in alternative energy, AEI cited, “this massive subsidizing of wind and solar power attracted a lot of investors: after all, if the government is going to guarantee a market for several decades, and set a price high enough for renewable producers to make a profit from, capital will flow into the market.” The truth is, those persons pushing increased regulations are the very ones that stand to gain dollars from their creation. Many universities, laboratories and companies have been awarded funds through the SunShot Initiative, not just the three organizations under the PMI.
$37 million has been awarded to three companies under another SunShot project, SUNPATH. On February 4, 2011 the DOE awarded $20.3 million to companies under the High Impact Supply Chain R&D for PV Technologies/Systems program. Awardees include: 1366 Technologies, Inc., 3M Company, PPG Industries, Inc., and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc. This is the second round of the PV Supply Chain and Cross-Cutting Technologies program. The first round included funding of $7.8 million to General Electric Global Research, E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, and Varian Semiconductor Equipment Associates, Inc.
SunShot’s ‘Incubator Projects’ have received around $91 million in DOE funding since 2007, including Solopower, which was granted $2,370,315 in 2007. Forbes recently reported on the company Solopower and its recent restructuring, layoffs and loss of executives, indicating they will become the most recent casualty in the solar market.
SunShot Initiative’s Solar Foundational Program to Advance Cell Efficiency was granted $35.8 million in late 2011 over 36 months to 18 solar research projects headed up by universities, laboratories and companies.
SunShot’s Next Generation Photovoltaics II project has been granted $24.5 million over the next two to four years to 23 solar projects led by still more universities, laboratories and companies.
At approximately $327 million for government funded solar research through the SunShot Initiative, this represents a mere fraction of government spending on the troubled solar industry. Government officials need to stop deciding which industries deserve your tax dollars. Good economic principle must be followed, letting citizens vote with their own dollars and not manipulating the free market by funneling tax dollars through corruptible politicians.
Government subsidized solar has proven, through both research and international experience, to not be environmentally friendly, but rather a job killing, cash consuming and power-corrupting special interest dead end. However, huge strides are being made in the nuclear fusion arena as a panel comments in a PJTV video. Panelist Bill Whittle calls this technology clean, light, powerful, inexpensive and non-toxic. Nuclear fusion offers a clean energy solution with real promise that we are likely to see those invested in the solar industry and its associates looking to fault. Despite the new technology’s greater potential as a solution to energy issues, regulators will likely oppose it as it has less potential to put money into their pockets. Perhaps anti-nuclear fusion regulations are in the near future.