Subsidized and Expensive Solar Energy Bites the Dust Again

April 9, 2012 05:43

The reality is that there is no cheaper substitute right now for fossil fuels as a source of energy, no matter how the administration and its proponents spin it.


By Ileana Johnson Paugh


Solar Trust of America, filed Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware courts, the ninth solar energy company to bite the dust, adding to the previous list of BrightSource, Beacon Power, Ener1, Evergreen Solar, Fiskar, Solyndra, Sunpower, and Spectrawatt.


Solar Trust of America, which listed assets between $1 to $10 million and liabilities between $10 and $50 million, was unable to meet the Department of Energy loan guarantee deadline. The $2.1 billion loan guarantee was “the largest amount ever offered to a solar project.” (The Washington Examiner)


“Despite the posturing and finger pointing, the American solar energy industry is alive and well.” He continued, “One company’s bankruptcy [Solyndra’s] has cast doubt on the credibility of a government program that is otherwise being administered with incredible efficiency,” said Uwe Schmidt, chairman and CEO of Solar Trust, in an op-ed in the Huffington Post.


Spiegel Online reported that even Q-Cells, the biggest solar cell manufacturer in Germany and the world has filed for bankruptcy on Tuesday, April 3, 2012, with a record loss of $1.1 billion in 2011. In Bitterfeld-Wolfen, 2,200 workers have lost their jobs. Q-Cell’s share price was 9 cents.


Q-Cell blamed competition from China, management issues, and solar energy subsidies. When the government subsidies dried up, Q-Cell was not able to compete in a real market as their product was expensive to make. Production prices have fallen in China by 30 to 40 percent, much faster than other companies could scale down their costs, especially when relying on government subsidies.


“Solar subsidies had been a highly effective political means of promoting the environmentally friendly technology.” (Stefan Schultz)


Scheuten Solar from Freiburg declared bankruptcy in March 2012. Solarhybrid and Odersun from Frankfurt-an-der Oder filed the same month. Berlin-based Solon and Erlangen-based Solar Millennium filed for bankruptcy in December 2011.


The reality is that there is no cheaper substitute right now for fossil fuels as a source of energy, no matter how the administration and its proponents spin it. Solar power is expensive, windmills are expensive, noisy, and unsightly, hydropower does not provide enough energy for our large economy, and nuclear power requires more plants to be built. Two reactors are in the works in Georgia.


Using crops to produce bio-fuels has caused a shortage of key grains such as corn in many countries and caused the price of food to spike. “Energy prices affect the production of fertilizers as well as costs related to food distribution and farm machinery use.” Grain futures spiked when the U.S. government reported that grain stocks were lower than estimated, and soybean and wheat plantings fell. (Reuters)


According to the Heritage Foundation, a Senate bill, rejected 51-47, and encouraged by President Obama, “attempted to impose higher taxes on the oil industry as punishment for their profits.”


Instead of easing regulations and allowing for domestic drilling, liberals stage votes to punish the evil oil companies at a time when average oil prices in the country passed the $4 mark and the crude oil is $105 per barrel. No mention is made of the fact that oil prices are quoted in dollars and that crude supplies are getting short. A currently weak dollar causes a higher price for crude. Further complicating the problem, “High crude oil prices have fueled the upward pressure on inflation since the start of the year.” (Reuters)


David Kreutzer, a Heritage expert, describes the manufacturing tax credits that disadvantage the oil and gas industry:


“The unfair tax break that makes up nearly half of what Obama calls ‘subsidies’ is the manufacturing tax credit. All manufacturers except the oil and gas industry get to deduct 9 percent of their revenues before calculating their tax bills… Though oil and gas producers get the deduction, they are singled out for a lower 6 percent deduction. The oil and gas industry gets a deduction that is only two-thirds as generous for all other manufacturers…yet the deduction is called a subsidy to oil and gas. The President’s proposal does not eliminate the deduction for any other industry.”


The crony capitalist green alternative energy has not worked so far, it has sunk billions of taxpayer dollars at a time when we can ill-afford it. Obama’s FY 2013 budget contains more billions to fund the Department of Energy research that is not commercially viable. (Nick Loris)


As we are witnessing a very slow and painful economic recovery at an average rate of 2.4 percent economic growth, at least one percent below of what the period 1947-2007 has experienced, our government is pursuing alternative energy sources at all costs, hampering economic growth and real job creation while pushing non-existent green jobs.


As liberals keep saying, “we are not paying our fair share,” the U.S. corporate tax rate of 39.2 percent is now the largest in the world as of April 1, 2012. The average tax rate for other developed nations is 25 percent. (Mike Brownfield, Heritage Foundation)


It would be nice if our government would stop spending so much money borrowed from China, and multi-national corporations like GE would pay some taxes instead of filing 57,000-page tax return to shelter them from paying. Was it not Congress that passed legislation enabling large corporations to move their headquarters, manufacturing, jobs, and investment to other countries?


Nobody stops liberals, who love to capture sound bites about “paying a fair share,” from writing a large check to the IRS simply because they are so rich and “we must spread the wealth to the poor.” They can start by giving the rest of us an example of the “communist generosity” they so admire and advocate.


In the meantime, I hope liberals of all stripes stop the alternative energy talking points and start drilling domestically for oil. They cannot put windmills on a car and cannot power electric cars without electricity produced cheaply by the coal industry.


Dr. Ileana Johnson Paugh ( Romanian Conservative) is a freelance writer (, Canada Free Press, Romanian Conservative), author, radio commentator, and speaker. Her book, “Echoes of Communism, is available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Short essays describe health care, education, poverty, religion, social engineering, and confiscation of property. Visit her website,

Dr. Johnson can be reached at:



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