Issue: Broken Promises of Solar Energy

Solar Secrets

Issue: Broken Promises of Solar Energy

Has there ever been a technology that promised so much, but delivered so little, as solar energy?

For decades Americans have been told that it’s The Next Big Thing. It’s the answer to all our energy questions. It’s on the verge of cost-competitiveness with conventional energy sources. And for decades those promises haven’t come true, despite massive government support for this chronically not-ready-for-primetime technology. Rather than a go-to energy source, solar has stubbornly remained little more than a niche energy gimmick, kept alive through the benevolence of Big Government.

Now the over-promisers and panacea-pushers are back, saying that this time, finally -- and we really mean it now -- the Solar Revolution has arrived and all the taxpayer "investment" is about to pay off. Forgive our skepticism but we’ll believe it when we see it, given the history of broken promises solar salespeople have made before.

If the long-sought Solar Revolution really has arrived, we’ll welcome it with open arms -- since it presumably also means an end to the subsidies, market-distorting mandates, corporate welfare giveaways and dishonest spin that have buffered the industry from market competition and padded its profits, largely at the expense of unwitting ratepayers and taxpayers.

What we’re wanting from a genuine Solar Revolution is an end to the special preferences that have coddled the industry for decades. What we want to see is a self-sustaining solar industry, that competes for market share, consumer allegiance and profits the honest way, minus the crutches that kept it limping along for decades.

If that’s the solar breakthrough we’re on the brink of, maybe we’ll be more forgiving of the blatant taxpayer exploitation and questionable government interventions that got us here. Until then, put Solar Secrets in the skeptical camp.