Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

A War Over Solar Power Is Raging Within the GOP

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the i-blame-the-sun dept.

Power 1030

mdsolar sends this quote from an article about the politics of solar energy: "Clean energy technology has always been an easy punching bag for conservatives. Propelled by growing strain of global warming denial within their party, Republicans in Congress have proposed to slash funding for renewable energy programs in half this year, and mocked the idea of a green economy as “groovy” liberal propaganda. Their argument, as laid out by House Republicans and libertarian organs like the Cato Institute and Reason magazine, is that the federal government shouldn't 'pick winners and losers' in the energy markets or gamble taxpayer dollars on renewable-energy loans to companies like Solyndra, the Silicon Valley solar panel manufacturer that went bankrupt in 2011 after receiving $535 million in federal loan guarantees. The assumption has always been that, without heavy government subsidies, renewable energy sources like solar and wind power would never be able to compete with fossil fuels. But something funny has happened to renewables that major power companies and their Republican allies didn't see coming. Over the past two years, the solar industry has skyrocketed, with one new solar unit installed every four minutes in the US, according to the renewable energy research group Greentech Media. The price of photovoltaic panels has fallen 62 percent since January 2011. Once considered a boutique energy source, solar power has become a cost-competitive alternative for many consumers, costing an average $143 per megawatt-hour, down from $236 in the beginning of 2011. Backed by powerful conservative groups, public utilities in several states are now pushing to curb the solar industry, and asking regulators to raise fees and impose new restrictions on solar customers. And as more people turn to rooftop solar as a way to reduce energy costs—90,000 businesses and homeowners installed panels last year, up 46 percent from 2011—the issue is pitting pro-utilities Republicans against this fledgling movement of libertarian-minded activists who see independent power generation as an individual right. In other words, the fight over solar power is raging within the GOP itself."

cancel ×

1030 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Fucking rednecks (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493369)

Climate change deniers deserve each and every tornado they get.

Re:Fucking rednecks (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493457)

Solar power has nothing to do with global warming. But solar power is inevitable, despite government meddling.

Re:Fucking rednecks (5, Informative)

kruach aum (1934852) | about a year ago | (#45493535)

Solar power is a source of energy that does not affect the climate the way burning fossil fuels does, which is what it has "to do with global warming."

Re:Fucking rednecks (3, Informative)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45493699)

i.e. it has as much to do with global warming as not stabbing you has to do with murder.

I propose, -1 GROSS (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493747)

Because sometime you fucking cunts need to be reminded that cum-quats can spew gross shit out their fucking asslike mouths.

Optionally, +1 GROSS

Re:Fucking rednecks (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493555)

Solar power has nothing to do with global warming. But solar power is inevitable, despite government meddling.

Eh, anything to use less coal helps on the environment.

Re:Fucking rednecks (5, Insightful)

geekd (14774) | about a year ago | (#45493653)

But the GOP is against funding solar power because they don't believe in global warming.

Well, that what they say, but it's really because the oil and coal companies have them in their pocket.

Re:Fucking rednecks (4, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#45493683)

I too don't think the govt should be picking winners and losers either, most especially because the merit being judged here is likely political rather than technical.

I like that the market is starting to work to promote solar, and I think soon it will pick up on other "green" energy things. Oil came into its own without a ton of federal help, so why can't alternative forms of energy?

That being said...I hope the govt also doesn't jump in (either party) and start trying to regulate to death the fledgling solar industry or other green energy companies.

Govt should be there just enough to allow the market to roll, but also stay out of the way once it starts rolling.

Re:Fucking rednecks (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493471)

Just like you deserved the AIDS you caught from the bus station hobo.

Why subsidize? (1, Insightful)

borcharc (56372) | about a year ago | (#45493377)

If solar is doing so great then why does it need subsidies? Thats what the GOP doesn't like, not that such a thing exists, but that the government creates distortions in the economy by picking winners before the race starts. Old school republicans and libertarians both distaste government intervention. Solar will eventually become cost effective without subsidies, lets wait for that to happen.

Re:Why subsidize? (5, Insightful)

recoiledsnake (879048) | about a year ago | (#45493401)

It's ironic that you're posting this on the Internet which was invented by government funding.

Private research is all about low risk and expected short term profit. To do big things like the space program etc. you need a big push while taking big risks of failure.

Re:Why subsidize? (0, Flamebait)

pastafazou (648001) | about a year ago | (#45493489)

It's also likely ironic that you're posting this on the Internet which was invented by government funding of the US Military, which you're probably not a fan of.

Re:Why subsidize? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493709)

You don't have to agree with everything an organization does in order to agree with some of what it does. Not ironic.

Re:Why subsidize? (1, Troll)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45493737)

Yep, let's support the US military the way you do, by sending soldiers, sailors, and corpsmen to die in completely unnecessary conflicts and huge contracts for unwanted military equipment.

Re:Why subsidize? (4, Insightful)

Dimwit (36756) | about a year ago | (#45493407)

I wouldn't mind so much except that the federal government also provides between $20 and $50 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies.

Re:Why subsidize? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45493565)

Does that figure count the DoD spending on being Uncle Sam's Security Services in assorted oleaginous-but-deeply-unsafe hellholes, or is that extra?

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

Savage-Rabbit (308260) | about a year ago | (#45493741)

Does that figure count the DoD spending on being Uncle Sam's Security Services in assorted oleaginous-but-deeply-unsafe hellholes, or is that extra?

Well, if we count invading Iraq, to open it up for exploitation by American oil companies, as a subsidy to 'Big Oil' you can add at least $1 trillion in direct costs and lord only knows how much in indirect and delayed costs. The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the war in Iraq would eventually cost $1.9 trillion (according to Wikipedia that's $6,300 per U.S. citizen) and I'm pretty sure that figure will be revised and such revisions are normally not downward ones.

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#45493621)

Which is it? 20 billion or 50 billion? If they give them subsidies, an actual total exists.

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

jbmartin6 (1232050) | about a year ago | (#45493669)

Please provide a citation regarding subsidies to oil and gas companies, in the US at least. Perhaps I am making a geographical assumption, but the article is about the US. As far as I can tell there aren't any subsidies to oil/gas companies, unless you count tax breaks and other things that every company gets.

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#45493723)

I wouldn't mind so much except that the federal government also provides between $20 and $50 billion in subsidies to oil and gas companies.

What exactly are these "subsidies"? I've not been able to find links to them. Are you talking about tax deductions much like any other business/corp takes advantage of? What special subsidies exactly do the oil companies get?

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493743)

While that is an absolutely huge number, but what do those numbers look like when divided over the amount of energy produced?

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493425)

ALL energy bought and sold is subsidized, that WOULD be playing "favorites" to DENY solar the same ones other sources get ALREADY!

Re:Why subsidize? (4, Insightful)

Nemyst (1383049) | about a year ago | (#45493429)

Because every single traditional power source is also heavily subsidized. It's only fair. Plus, we should be encouraging solar over other sources for a host of reasons, namely environment impact and better grid resistance to failures.

Solar would have a hard time fighting against cheaper resources because of the large initial cost, and without market demand there wouldn't be much innovation. Many of its advantages aren't reflected in monetary terms, and others take years to kick in.

Re:Why subsidize? (-1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about a year ago | (#45493755)

Because every single traditional power source is also heavily subsidized.

I keep hearing this, but I can't find links or info that states directly what subsidies they get.

Exactly what subsidies do coal industries get?

What subsidies do the oil companies get?

Be specific please....

Re:Why subsidize? (5, Insightful)

reve_etrange (2377702) | about a year ago | (#45493433)

That's a good story - but it's abundantly clear that the GOP is not seriously opposed to government intervention in energy markets.

If they were, they would be fighting against oil and ethanol subsidies, would propose winding down the national petroleum reserve (used to manipulate prices) and would never actively fight against particular forms of energy (as described in summary and TFA).

The GOP as always is full of it. They want to pick winners and losers as much as the Dems - just different ones.

Re:Why subsidize? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493593)

The GOP as always is full of it. They want to pick winners and losers as much as the Dems - just different ones.

Yes, the ones that pay them money, or that they personally have a stake in.

Unfortunately, so much of what the GOP says they stand for, when you look at what they really do, is a lie.

They claim to be in favor of free markets, but defend monopolies and incumbents. They claim to be in favor of personal rights, but are often first in line to restrict our personal rights. They claim to believe in liberty, but they're the first to get in line for security measures which curtail Constitutional protections.

It all boils down to "we're the party of big business and the wealthy, the rest of you can eat cake and fuck off".

And since most of us are neither big business nor wealthy, our response to them if "fuck you".

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

borcharc (56372) | about a year ago | (#45493757)

All production subsidies are bad.

Letting someone write off a oil well in one year (due to high failure rates) or adjusting the depreciation schedule as production declines (Depletion) are not subsidies they are needed parts of our tax system. Just as the other so called subsidies keep the price under pressure keeping oil profits (9% margin is considered great in that business) up by filling the strategic petroleum reserve and low income heating assistance, are really helping someone other than the oil co's.

Whenever someone says the GOP or the Dems are/dont/* it is usually clear they have no idea whats going on and are only interested in a false right/left paradigm and have failed to see that there is no difference between the two except the exact same set of lies.

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

just_another_sean (919159) | about a year ago | (#45493441)

Why not? Every other type of energy gets subsidies, especially when they are starting out. And while most of us just shake our head at the massive profits oil companies make year after year they continue to be subsidized by our government - and I'm sure the good ol' GOP boys and gals wouldn't have it any other way.

But don't take my word for it, Ixquick it. Here, I got you started.

https://ixquick.com/do/search?language=english&cat=web&query=us+government+oil+subsidies [ixquick.com]

http://priceofoil.org/fossil-fuel-subsidies/international/ [priceofoil.org]

Re:Why subsidize? (2)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#45493623)

The government tax revenue on oil companies is higher than their profit margin. so you no longer need to shake your head.

Re:Why subsidize? (2)

i kan reed (749298) | about a year ago | (#45493761)

That's not how taxes work. Corporate taxes come as a subset of profits, and not revenues. You just made an assertion that is literally impossible.

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493451)

the government creates distortions in the economy by picking winners before the race starts.

Oh really? The worldwide fossil fuel industry received $1.3 TRILLION of subsidies in 2011 alone. Can you do the math on how much they received in total in the last 70 years, i.e. "before the race even started"?

http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Fossil-Fuel-Industry-Receives-1.3-Trillion-in-Subsidies-Each-Year.html

Re:Why subsidize? (2, Insightful)

DigiShaman (671371) | about a year ago | (#45493533)

While I can't comment on the validity of the "1.3 TRILLION" statement, you are absolutely correct in that the oil industry is heavily subsidized in America. From what understand however, this is across the industry so everyone benefits from lower cost in gasoline. That, and oil is fungible. The problem with subsidizing Solar manufacturing is that you can't ever compete with China. Effectively, companies like Solyndra feed off the funding and quickly fold leaving an empty husk in the process. This is the "choosing winers and losers" that Republicans don't like. It simply isn't fair. Now subsidizing Solar ENERGY, now that I can get onboard with so long as it's sustainable. Which BTW seem to be the case with the price drop in technology.

Re:Why subsidize? (2)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45493637)

Given that the cases being described are haggling over the pricing of grid-connected; but partially solar-powered, utility customers, this seems like it would be about as close to a generic, company-neutral 'subsidizing solar energy' as one could reasonably imagine: Since it's major inconvenience is darkness, a problem that can either be fixed expensively with on-site batteries or generators, or cheaply (but with costs, of vehemently debated size) for the grid operator, by an electrical grid hookup, the T&C on the electrical grid hookup is more or less the major variable that you have access to for either helping or hindering solar installs without direct entity-subsidizing.

Re:Why subsidize? (2)

Bartles (1198017) | about a year ago | (#45493659)

I've bought a fair amount of Solyndra industrial automation components off ebay over the last 2 years. I usually get these components for 10% of retail cost. In most cases they are new, in the box. Solyndra's bankruptcy has helped me.

Re:Why subsidize? (4, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#45493663)

This is the "choosing winers and losers" that Republicans don't like. It simply isn't fair. Now subsidizing Solar ENERGY, now that I can get onboard with so long as it's sustainable

Except this story is all about Republicans making it more difficult (and trying to make it impossible) and less profitable for those who purchased solar panels, to tie them into the grid, where they help your neighbors, reduce grid losses, reduce the need for expensive peaking plants, reduce emissions, etc., etc. It's the corrupt fascists in the Republican party choosing "big coal" as the winner, and "consumer solar" as the loser.

Re:Why subsidize? (3, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45493537)

The worldwide fossil fuel industry received $1.3 TRILLION of subsidies in 2011 alone. Can you do the math on how much they received in total in the last 70 years, i.e. "before the race even started"?

http://oilprice.com/Latest-Energy-News/World-News/Fossil-Fuel-Industry-Receives-1.3-Trillion-in-Subsidies-Each-Year.html

From your article:

"The largest contributor to the subsidies is the failure to properly price carbon pollution, costing a little over $1 trillion."

So they just pulled a number out of their backside and claimed it was a $1,000,000,000,000 subsidy.

See, this is why none of us take Greenists seriously.

Re:Why subsidize? (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45493645)

So do you just not believe in externalities as an economic concept, or do you think that the subsidy is real; but smaller?

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

Moheeheeko (1682914) | about a year ago | (#45493467)

Oil companies are making moneyhand over fist, yet Republicans kick and scream at the mere mention of un-subsidising those.

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

Cordus Mortain (3004429) | about a year ago | (#45493739)

Not only that, they pay almost no tax. Some even get a rebate

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

al0ha (1262684) | about a year ago | (#45493475)

"Old school republicans and libertarians both distaste government intervention"

Correct - unless such intervention benefits them or their cronies...

I for one love the infighting in the GOP - John McCain is my hero for giving Sarah Palin a national platform and launching the deniers in the anti-intellectual Tea Party. Anti-intellectual... hmm that sounds a lot like Deutschland many years ago...

The sooner the GOP morphs into something better than what it has become the better for the entire world.

Re:Why subsidize? (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45493585)

The sooner the One Party morphs into something better than what it has become the better for the entire world.

FTFY. There are no good guys in Washington, DC. Not as a group, anyway.

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

mspohr (589790) | about a year ago | (#45493485)

If oil and coal and nuclear are so great, why do they need subsidies?

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45493605)

If oil and coal and nuclear are so great, why do they need subsidies?

I agree completely - there is no rational cause for handing billions of taxpayer dollars over to any corporation, especially ones that already bring in billions of dollars of profits without the subsidies.

I guess that (and my insistence on re-routing a lot of that useless spending to social projects) makes me more of a "new-school" libertarian, and I'm cool with that.

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

Tridus (79566) | about a year ago | (#45493511)

If Oil is doing so great, why does it need subsidies?

Oddly, the GOP doesn't have a problem with this subsidy. I love the smell of hypocrisy in the morning.

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493677)

This is the 5th post like this, and about the 100th I've seen on /. yet never seen a SINGLE example of this being the case.

Are you referring to increased tax depreciations on equipment as oil subsidies (which isn't really a subsidy) or an actual subsidy? I've looked for them, its seems that everyone accepts they exist, but I've yet to be able to find anything specific to the oil industry (all industries can get tax breaks on depreciations of equipment).

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

Vladius (2577555) | about a year ago | (#45493589)

If oil is so great why does it need subsidies?

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

cphilo (768807) | about a year ago | (#45493591)

If solar is doing so great then why does it need subsidies? Thats what the GOP doesn't like, not that such a thing exists, but that the government creates distortions in the economy by picking winners before the race starts. Old school republicans and libertarians both distaste government intervention. Solar will eventually become cost effective without subsidies, lets wait for that to happen.

If fossil fuels are doing so great then why do they need subsidies? Thats what the GOP doesn't like, not that such a thing exists, but that the government creates distortions in the economy by picking winners before the race starts. Old school republicans and libertarians both distaste government intervention. Fossil fuels eventually rise or fall without subsidies, lets wait for that to happen.

Re:Why subsidize? (4, Insightful)

hypergreatthing (254983) | about a year ago | (#45493601)

Sounds good, lets cut subsidies for corn, ethanol and all fossil fuels for starters.

The idea of subsidies is to encourage growth. So why again do fossil fuels need encouragement? They need as much encouragement as people need vehicles over 3 tons (suv's for example). Because that was well thought out.

I have no problem with solar subsidies. It's still an emerging market, costs have gone down because of it and research is still being invested. I have a problem with subsidies being applied to things that don't need encouragement.

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493655)

Because the government subsidies most forms of energy. From letting fossil fuels pollute beyond what the EPA says is safe, to paying for nuclear power, the government is not and has never been

Re:Why subsidize? (2)

fazig (2909523) | about a year ago | (#45493667)

It's the same crap as over here in Germany.

Rightwing politicians (our Liberals are right wing conservatives) complain about distortion of the energy market, wanting to cut off all renewable energy sources from subsidy while they still provide a lot of money for oil, coal and nuclear power. While the costs of renewable energies are openly dumped on the citizens of Germany, there are a lot of hidden costs for coal, oil and nuclear power, like tax deductions, government funded permanent repository and insurance in the case of catastrophes, which makes the funding of nuclear power almost as expensive as all renewable energy sources combined.

Look at it this way, with renewable energy sources a lot of the energy generation is in the hands of the public, private, independent persons. Bigger power suppliers never liked the concept of independence because an independent customer is a bad customer. They can afford high quality lobbing, convincing politicians that conventional energy sources are far superior, create jobs and therefore need more subsidies.

Another thing is that renewable energy sources encourage research and development of better energy storage, a good longterm development for humanity, which also isn't needed for oil, coal and nuclear energy, since oil, coal and uranium 'are' stored energy.

Re:Why subsidize? (1)

Bacon Bits (926911) | about a year ago | (#45493705)

If solar is doing so great then why does it need subsidies?

If there are no subsidies, exactly how do you expect Republicans to continue encouraging bribes^W lobbyist leverage^W^W campaign contributions^W^W job creators?!

Re:Why subsidize? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493765)

Why subsidize? Because of so-called externalities, costs for the US public and the whole world population (future generations in particular) that are caused by non-renewable energy and much less by 'green' energy production.

Couldn't be arsed to read that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493383)

Too long. So long

not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493409)

Solar is not even close to being competitive except in those states where there is a racket - power companies are forced to buy "renewable" energy, and so pay house holds "credit" for being able to pretend they delivered the energy those houses used. If solar ever becomes *really* competitive, then it won't need government subsidies.
Now subsidies for research in the area of making solar better is something different. But I checked into the cost of solar a couple of months ago and without this racket it isn't even close.

Sucks to be them. (5, Insightful)

PvtVoid (1252388) | about a year ago | (#45493415)

Sooner or later, being anti-science and pro-capitalist is bound to catch up with you.

Re:Sucks to be them. (4, Insightful)

schlachter (862210) | about a year ago | (#45493501)

hopefully before they slash and burn all that the rest of us work hard to achieve...

one thing is clear about republicans, they'll back any strategy that fucks the people over...

Re:Sucks to be them. (4, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year ago | (#45493519)

GOP is not pro-capitalist
this is middle america fighting for subsidies for their products and crying how independent they are. they have no problems subsidizing business that benefits them like oil and corn

Re:Sucks to be them. (4, Interesting)

alexander_686 (957440) | about a year ago | (#45493557)

Not necessarily. Almost every economist – left or right – suggests that the right answer is to levy a carbon tax. That way capitalism kicks in are reduces greenhouse gasses in a more efficient manner then government subsidies.

Impossible! (4, Funny)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45493419)

How could there be GOP figures busily lobbying in favor of state taxation and repression of individuals in the interests of incumbent corporations?

I've been assured, with a level of seriousness that only they can muster, by any number of internet randroids, that the right is the side of personal freedom and autonomy, and the left is the path of collectivist fascism and agenda-21! How could this be?

Yet another story from nutty conspiracy theorists (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493421)

These climate changers just don't give up! Break out the tinfoil hats LOL

If they're concerned on picking winners or losers (4, Insightful)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about a year ago | (#45493427)

perhaps they could stop subsidizing fossil fuels and ethanol as well. [elistore.org]

Re:If they're concerned on picking winners or lose (5, Insightful)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#45493573)

It has nothing to do with picking winners and losers.
It never did.

It's always been about entrenched interests maintaining the status quo.
Interestingly, the entrenched interests in this case aren't gas/oil companies,
they already started diversifying years ago, it's the power utilities who are resistant to the change.

Re:If they're concerned on picking winners or lose (2)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | about a year ago | (#45493657)

It has nothing to do with picking winners and losers. It never did.

It's always been about entrenched interests maintaining the status quo. Interestingly, the entrenched interests in this case aren't gas/oil companies, they already started diversifying years ago, it's the power utilities who are resistant to the change.

oh i'm aware. sometimes i forget sarcasm doesn't translate well on the interwebs :P

in my estimation, we should be pushing for research and investment in alternative fuel and energy tech. the U.S. should be at the forefront, creating new industries and manufacturing jobs in the process. of course, the current status quo and current companies have a problem with losing their "privileged" status, and their political proxies foist it off as "picking winners and losers".

Re:If they're concerned on picking winners or lose (5, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | about a year ago | (#45493675)

As long as it's two senators per state, nobody is likely to fuck with representatives from even lightly populated corn-heavy states...

More bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493437)

"Clean energy" that has promise has market potential and will fund itself. People who are in love with solar panels should buy their own damn solar panels with their own cash, not my tax dollars. Quite simple.

Re:More bullshit (3, Insightful)

just_another_sean (919159) | about a year ago | (#45493505)

Well I drive an electric car and I don't want my tax dollars subsidizing your gasoline!

https://ixquick.com/do/search?language=english&cat=web&query=us+government+oil+subsidies [ixquick.com]

Re:More bullshit (1, Insightful)

hsmith (818216) | about a year ago | (#45493587)

I love how you all pile on this issue. As if people say they don't want subsidies for solar MUST want subsidies for oil. Derp: People can be against both, it is an article about solar, so duh people will comment how they don't think solar should get it if it is 'doing well'

Re:More bullshit (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | about a year ago | (#45493767)

People sense a contradiction. Something like solar frankly deserves to be subsidized, there's no reason we shouldn't be using and storing the energy that hits the country every day. It deserves a kick in the pants to get it started. So when people see others opposed to those kinds of subsidies, and notice that oil companies are getting billions every year in subsidies when they are earning record-breaking profits, there is an obvious contradiction. The future is not oil, the past is oil. The future is solar.

How about this: we shift all of the subsidies currently going to oil companies, to solar. We have no net change in how much the government spends, but we provide a much-needed boost to the future of our energy production. The oil companies will continue to earn record profits, no one is going to shed a tear for Exxon. If we then want to phase out subsidies altogether and let both industries move forward on their own, great.

Re:More bullshit (3, Insightful)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#45493691)

People who are in love with solar panels should buy their own damn solar panels with their own cash, not my tax dollars.

I'm in love with breathing, and I'm glad to have some of my tax dollars going to replacing coal. I'm not currently in a position to buy and install them directly on my home, so I'm glad of everyone else who is, getting incentives for doing so.

Paragraphs (4, Insightful)

onyxruby (118189) | about a year ago | (#45493463)

Paragraphs make text readable. You giant paragraph is completely unreadable. Please write in such a way that people can even have an opportunity to read you.

Thanks,
The Internet

Re:Paragraphs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493559)

We don't read the articles, the summary, or other people's comments. Clearly the moon landing was a hoax.

Thanks
The slashdot

Re:Paragraphs (1, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | about a year ago | (#45493611)

Slashdot summaries have always been a wall of text.
You're not new here, maybe you need new glasses?

Ironic this... (4, Informative)

mlts (1038732) | about a year ago | (#45493473)

The GOP allowed solar -production- to be kicked over to China. First, the solar companies were complaining about Chinese intrusion attempts, then China started dumping panels on our shores for cheaper than it cost US makers to buy the rare earths.

However, the split is going along two lines of two GOP platforms. Dislike for government versus respect for Big Oil/Big Coal. Solar allows people to be fairly independent [1].

Solar also scales well. One can have a one watt panel to keep a vent fan spinning on a RV's roof, or a multi-megawatt array powering a city like Austin.

Solar is also fairly easy to deploy. Got a clear line of sight to the south? Might as well slap a few panels up, add a grid-tie inverter, and have a lower power bill, or if in a more rural area, have the power feed into a battery bank for complete off-grid use, or even a combination of both with some outlets in a house on utility powers, others feeding from the batteries. Same thing if one has a carport. Might as well have the flat roof do something.

As for price, solar panel prices have gotten to a point where it becomes a "why not?" as opposed to a "why bother?" This is especially true in the RV industry.

[1]: Almost. Good luck having a modern building in the southern US without air conditioning unless one is content to deal with high humidity.

How does this story play in Arizona (2)

themushroom (197365) | about a year ago | (#45493495)

...where much of the government is Republican but a lot of the power on the grid comes from solar farms?

Re:How does this story play in Arizona (1)

evilviper (135110) | about a year ago | (#45493609)

How does this story play in Arizona

Exactly how TFA says it does...

Re:How does this story play in Arizona (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#45493613)


Local and out of state Republicans are supporting some of the utilities' efforts to increase costs and fees on solar users.

Re:How does this story play in Arizona (1)

GodfatherofSoul (174979) | about a year ago | (#45493641)

You mean where they're trying to start charging people for using solar power?

See the elephant in the room... (1)

chalsall (185) | about a year ago | (#45493497)

Those who have profit incentive from burning oil and gas will put a lot of money into dis-crediting alternatives.

Re:See the elephant in the room... (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | about a year ago | (#45493685)

Those who have profit incentive from burning oil and gas will put a lot of money into dis-crediting alternatives.

... and those with a profit incentive from 'alternatives' will put a lot of time and money into discrediting oil and gas.

It's a zero-sum game to these powerful assholes.

Libertarian does not equal conservative... (5, Informative)

thomasinx (643997) | about a year ago | (#45493499)

Just to point it out... Just because a few very vocal groups in the GOP are claiming to be libertarian, that does not mean that libertarians are GOP. The interests of the two groups do not align very well, so a conflict such as this is only to be expected.

Re:Libertarian does not equal conservative... (5, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | about a year ago | (#45493549)

Quite the opposite, in fact. Libertarians tend to be socially liberal and financially conservative. They'd neither subsidize solar, or put road-blocks in its way.

Re:Libertarian does not equal conservative... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493753)

Indeed. The usual debate among republicans or democrats is "should we force people to pay for it, or should we force people to abandon it?" In other words, the only two choices are subsidizing it and criminalizing it -- both of which enrich the business of government at the expense of individual rights.

The libertarian answer is usually "neither" -- as long as there is no force or fraud, there is no legitimate reason for government to be involved, because then you would be introducing force or fraud to an otherwise voluntary instance.

Begun this solar war has... (3)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#45493521)

"First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win."
-- Mohandas K. Gandhi

The nialistic approach is the new black (1)

TDNorth (2789609) | about a year ago | (#45493531)

Let's be calm about this, they may be on to something wonderful. Let's cancel all programs related to tax dollars propping up all energy producers. That's all perks,bonuses,benefits,subsidies,tax breaks,rebates and other related billion dollar crumbs. To any and all energy producers. And their pals. Yes,that includes farm too Grain to fuel and potatoes to booze( maybe not that one) Just stop it all now. Let's see who's really getting all of the perks. What happened, it just got real quiet? Today, I am an equal opportunity hater. Farm subsidies

Rate Case nightmare (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493539)

The problem really is that residential users want their bills reduced for the same amount of power they generate. It doesn't matter to them that this power is generated during non-peak hours and that the energy companies still need to maintain infrastructure to provide power to them during not sunny times. This will force utilities to break up their charges into actual power production and infrastructure maintenance which means tons of extra work in getting government approvals for the rates they charge costumers.

Re:Rate Case nightmare (1)

mbkennel (97636) | about a year ago | (#45493647)


Solar power is generated precisely during peak hours, which are days and times with very high air-conditioning use. It saves utilities from buying expensive peak power or building peaking generators which are used only a small fraction of the time.

The solar installed households aren't being paid for that either.

Not anonymous, just not ever logged into a site. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493553)

In order to jump start some industries, a large customer (such as the government) could be such a customer. In being such, it should purchase a service or product for which there is a need. For example, if it is to be Solar Energy, buy or lease a product. Whichever company or companies can supply this product will get the customer. This customer can drive some early demand, and the 'market' can then compete for this market. But the government should not support one customer or company (e.g. Solyndra), with hopes of making some product.
Ideally, the government should be neutral on the source of the service required. If it want to buy a certain amount of Energy, then all customers from whatever source (wind, water, coal, oil, sunshine) should all be able to compete for this.
However, I do recognize that to start some industries, a big project supported by the government, may need to boost the initiation of this. Like NASA helped spark scientific innovation in the quest to go to the moon, We may have benefits as a nation to be the first customer in line to spark some Solar innovation (but we should be company blind, and also specific technology-blind in our choices).
Even better. Make a contest with a big reward. Contests work. First privately launched space ship contest (worked), first human powered aircraft (worked)----make a contest for solar energy product producing 'x' amount of energy for under 'y' cost...
These ideas would be consisted with Economic competition, and should work well within the 'Right's ' agenda, while furthering the 'left's' goals as well.

This is a hack piece (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493577)

Guys, this is just a hack piece. If you want to bash the Republicans, pick a topic, keep hidden the real issues, one of which borcharc pointed out above, write it in such a way that the Republicans are demonized, and submit it to places like Slashdot.

Example: We tax the oil companies less on a number of expenses. Taking less from them does not equate to giving money directly to them. However, if you label a lower tax so that it reads like we are giving them money, then it can be used to both demonize them, and also to justify actually giving money directly to renewable energy efforts.

But this article is not really about subsidies, taxes, oil or renewable energy. It is a political article. In today's world we all must learn to recognize such articles for what they really are.

What a nonsense post... (4, Insightful)

FlyHelicopters (1540845) | about a year ago | (#45493595)

A new solar panel is installed every four minutes? Really?

How many new coal plants were built last year?

Solar accounts for 0.17% of our electric production in this country, tripling it won't make any difference.

The numbers are not on solar's side. Electric production from fossil fuels is up more than 30% in the past 20 years, it isn't being replace by solar, demand is growing faster than solar panels are being installed.

I agree that pollution is bad, I agree that releasing tons of CO2 is probably bad (we don't know for sure, but I don't want to find out the hard way, better to play it safe and not burn it all)

My primary complaint is that people who talk about renewables simply are working from emotion and not from numbers and math. The math is not on renewables side, I'm sorry to say.

A billion people in the world are going to get access to AC and clean water over the next 50 years. It matters not what the USA and Europe do, our populations will be overwhelmed by China and India's use of coal in that time.

We need large scale power sources. Right now, the options are coal, oil, natural gas, and nuclear.

The sooner environmentalists get off the solar kick and focus on reality, the sooner we can replace fossil fuels with something else. (Which in this case is nuclear, since it is the only option left)

Re:What a nonsense post... (3, Insightful)

finkployd (12902) | about a year ago | (#45493713)

> Solar accounts for 0.17% of our electric production in this country, tripling it won't make any difference.

Is this counting only energy company production or people/companies reducing their consumption from the grid by augmenting it with solar? If so, how?

> The sooner environmentalists get off the solar kick and focus on reality, the sooner we can replace fossil fuels with something else. (Which in this case is nuclear, since it is the only option left)

There can be only one?

Re:What a nonsense post... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493725)

" agree that releasing tons of CO2 is probably bad (we don't know for sure,"

We know for sure. Even the deniers have accepted that fact. They're now arguing that the source of the CO2 is not mankind. Catch up!

George Castanza (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493607)

The GOP is getting like George Castanza. We should do the opposite of whatever they think.

Bad source (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493681)

Is there any source to support the claim, "Backed by powerful conservative groups, public utilities in several states are now pushing to curb the solar industry, and asking regulators to raise fees and impose new restrictions on solar customers."

Picking winners and losers (5, Interesting)

StatureOfLiberty (1333335) | about a year ago | (#45493689)

Congress (especially GOP members) don't seem to understand that we have no choice but to pick losers and winners. Their reluctance to fund research into alternative energy sources just ensures that the United States will lose. By the time they finally realize we have no choice but to get on board, we will have to pay China, Germany ..... to use the technology because it will have already been developed and made practical (and profitable) by them.

GOP is corrrect... Sorta. (4, Insightful)

DarthVain (724186) | about a year ago | (#45493721)

The only reason you subsidize renewable energy generation such as solar is to make it currently viable whereas otherwise it would not.
The only reason you make renewable energy generation currently viable is to jump start development.
The only reason you jump start development is if you want to be the one producing the technology or buying the technology.

There is also the matter that on a grand scale, infrastructure takes awhile to build, it isn't something you can just do overnight.

Anyway so long as the idea isn't that things like solar is going to solve all your energy issues because it will not. It is part of a generation mix. You can however increase its effectiveness and the percent used overall to help mitigate other energy related issues.

Very little to do with the GOP - look at Germany. (5, Insightful)

Aquitaine (102097) | about a year ago | (#45493727)

There is certainly a lot of political agenda polemic when it comes to energy, and this article is no different.

As Slashdot is theoretically geared toward engineers, having a hard look at the numbers involved is not an optional consideration. See here for Germany's story:

http://www.quora.com/Alternative-Energy/Should-other-nations-follow-Germanys-lead-on-promoting-solar-power-1?srid=ue54&share=1 [quora.com]

Solar is great for micro/local-level offsets in particularly sunny places, and it's good if you want to build a compound for the zombie apocalypse. As a key component of energy policy for the United States, it is not and has never been practical compared to wind or nuclear power.

Politicians in every party love being able to pick winners and losers. It's one of the perks of the jobs. People imagine solar as warm, fuzzy, and mother Earth friendly. If that were the case, Germany wouldn't have a bigger carbon footprint now than it did before it had the world's largest nameplate capacity of solar power production.

If you're concerned about global warming from burning fossil fuels, the only choice at the moment that satisfies all the requirements of most first world country's energy policy is nuclear. Nothing else comes close.

Solar doesn't have to be PV (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#45493735)

Many states can use the cheap solar hot water systems, costing $3-5k professionally installed, less than half that if you're not scared of plumbing. It's not all about generating electricity, spinning meters backwards or off-grid storage.

Some countries around the Mediterranean have laws that all buildings have to have solar systems to heat domestic water. They're different designs from ours, looking somewhat clunky and like the old USSR hodgepodge satellites, but they're effective.

Here in FL, every other cookie cutter house has a pool solar system, but very few have domestic hot water panels, even though they're cheaper and take up far less roof space, and save having to have the 50 gallon tank powered all day every day. I find this very bizarre.

Our house (2 adults, 2 kids) hot water is purely heated from the sun bar the 10-14 days of the year when I have to switch on the power to the tank due to extended cloud coverage. We also have pool panels, but to get the benefit of extending the pool usage period, we have to have the pool pump running a lot longer, which uses a fair amount of power.

Shouldn't pick winners/losers... (5, Informative)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | about a year ago | (#45493759)

Their argument, as laid out by House Republicans and libertarian organs like the Cato Institute and Reason magazine, is that the federal government shouldn't 'pick winners and losers' in the energy markets ...

Okay. Step 1: Cancel all subsidies / tax breaks [thinkprogress.org] and tax loopholes for the Oil Companies. Sure they're *only* about $2-4 billion / year, but it's a start. (Note: Reason.com - slogan "Free Minds and Free Markets - thinks these are okay [reason.com] ).

Just noting from the Think Progress article:

Last year, the five largest oil companies — BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, and ExxonMobil — earned $118 billion profit at a time when consumers paid record-high gas prices. This haul follows after a year the companies earned a record $137 billion profit.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?