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New Report Details Massive Taxpayer Subsidies to the Struggling Solar Industry

on September 23, 2016

Solyndra.  SunEdison.  Abengoa.  Abound Solar.  What do all these failed solar companies have in common?  They were all propped up by taxpayers and experienced tremendous growth, only to crash and burn upon being thrown against a wall of reality, realizing that their success was all a ruse.

A new report from the Consumer Energy Alliance details the numerous ways by which federal and state governments incentivize the solar industry as an alternative source of energy.

Numerous financial incentives exist for residential solar panel users – residential tax credits, net energy metering, third party owner incentives, Renewable Energy Certificates, and several others.  The combined effect of direct and net metering incentives alone, for example, exceed the cost of installing solar panels.  That is to say, consumers can pay for solar panels and make a profit, all thanks to taxpayers.

 Without question, the non-incentivized cost of solar energy is substantially higher than the incentivized cost of solar energy.  As a result, due to massive federal and state subsidies, the visible costs of solar energy are simply inaccurate and misleading.  Aside from the direct financial (read: taxpayer) costs associated with subsidies of all sorts, the coddled solar industry causes a misallocation of resources within the economy.  Solar energy has proved to be inefficient and ineffective, but nevertheless resources that would have otherwise been invested in other areas are diverted to solar, all thanks to these solar incentives. 

 Could a more efficient, cost-effective, and environmentally friendly solution exist?  We may not know for a while, as all these subsidies are painting a picture of solar as the great savior of green energy.  Solar energy wins the favoritism game, and woe to all those who may see another solution.  The industry has yet to prove its grit.  As a result, taxpayers undertake the cost of a still-struggling industry.

 If consumers and pro-green energy advocates alike want to see solar energy survive and even thrive, government subsidies ought to cease immediately.  Like other transformative innovations throughout history, solar should be forced to adapt, improve, and prove its worth to consumers and businesspeople alike.  End taxpayer-subsidized favors from the government and let the solar industry learn how to thrive on its own dime. Period.



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