Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yes, It's the Sun, Stupid

How much more stupidity will the American so-called technology geniuses take from our faulty economic and government leaders? Solar panels, passive solar, advanced solar concentrators, and myriad of solar arrays may not be the silver bullet for energy independence and to move us all toward a post-carbon society, but it's pretty darn close to being a key solution to many of the world's energy and environmental problems.

Of course, we wonder when those corporations that generate more jobs overseas than here, and those that skedaddle out of here will be slapped hard penalty-wise. All of that innovation, education, R & D, community support just poof, immolated as they move to countries like China to set up shop? Executives from Massachusetts enjoying dim sum, bullet trains and luxuries the can only dream of in the USA?

Check out the Post Carbon Institute here:

Here's Alternet's news on Evergreen Solar ditching the USA and heading to China:

3rd Biggest Solar Panel Maker in the Country Closes US Operations, Hightails it to China

An article today on GOOD about the potential of renewable energy says, "every hour enough sunlight reaches the Earth's surface to meet the world's energy demands for a year." If only we could utilize such potential! Of course there are folks out there trying, but the solar business, it turns out, is still a tough business.

The New York Times reported today that Evergreen Solar, the third-largest manufacturer of solar panels in the U.S. is closing their American operations and hightailing it to China. Apparently, $43 million in assistance from Massachusetts taxpayers wasn't enough to keep Evergreen Solar's 800 jobs in the country. China, which just became the world's largest manufacturer of wind turbines, is apparently able to give much more support for solar ventures than the U.S. government.

So much support that the Obama administration has been muttering that China is violating the free trade rules of the WTO with all their state subsidies for renewables. (A big meeting between Obama and President Hu Jintao will take place this week and may be hugely significant for the development of clean energy.)

The issue, according to the Times, has to do with prices for solar panels dropping, hugely.

"World prices have fallen as much as two-thirds in the last three years -- including a drop of 10 percent during last year's fourth quarter alone.

Chinese manufacturers, Mr. El-Hillow [Evergreen Solar's chief executive] said in the statement, have been able to push prices down sharply because they receive considerable help from the Chinese government and state-owned banks, and because manufacturing costs are generally lower in China."

Perhaps the U.S. government would like to rethink it's policy of subsidizing dirty energy like coal and oil and instead give a little love to the clean tech sector. Our environment could use the help and so could American workers.

Read the New York Times here:

It gets worse. While the USA is in this spasm of Republican and Tea Party gun love; while the Supreme Court's decision to allow trillions of corporate dollars injected into elections; while the liberal class tries to tweak the failures of neo-liberal policies; while 120 million Americans technically have pre-existing conditions that would either make them ineligible for corporate run health insurance, or at the least, cause their rates to sky-rocket -- while of that and more guts our national conversation -- we are defunding education, imploding K-12 learning, and facilitating the death of critical thinking in the USA.

Solar Panels? Wind turbines? Bullet trains? Sanity in helping Haiti rebuild? No way, Jose (oh yeah, ultra-Republicans can't even stomach a conservative like Jeb Bush reaching out to Latinos -- sorry --

Right-wing hate radio host Mark Levin blasted Bush for “race-baiting,” calling his remarks “divisive” and “destructive of conservatism.” Levin said, “I’m starting to think Jeb Bush isn’t that bright, to be honest with you.” Calling Bush someone who sounds like “a host on MSNBC,” Levin concluded:

I am sick and tired of politicians and ethnic front groups who do everything they can to divide us, to categorize us, and to undermine the entire notion of our founding. I cannot vote for Jeb Bush whenever he runs, because apparently, he has a comprehension problem when it comes to our founding, when it comes to the Declaration and the Constitution, and when it comes to basic — basic — understanding of the greatness of this nation.

Our entire solar technology is being gutted, as is our wind turbine aspirations:

New York Times -- Other solar panel manufacturers are also struggling in the United States. Solyndra, a Silicon Valley business, received a visit from President Obama in May and a $535 million federal loan guarantee, only to say in November that it was shutting one of its two American plants and would delay expansion of the other.

First Solar, an American company, is one of the world’s largest solar power vendors. But most of its products are made overseas.

Chinese solar panel manufacturers accounted for slightly over half the world’s production last year. Their share of the American market has grown nearly sixfold in the last two years, to 23 percent in 2010 and is still rising fast, according to GTM Research, a renewable energy market analysis firm in Cambridge, Mass.

In addition to solar energy, China just passed the United States as the world’s largest builder and installer of wind turbines.

1 comment:

  1. At an event I recently attended, the guest speaker emphasized on one statement – one sentence that dictated the way our nation works: “Follow the money.” This may have various meanings, but one we can all agree on is that money decides what happens, whether good or bad. China has every right to claim one of our larger solar companies, considering we (as a nation) don't appreciate the advancements of clean energy and therefore do not support the companies who need it. And why wouldn't Evergreen Solar team up with China? There's interest, profit motive, and government funding. Evergreen Solar followed the money to China, and I think the US needs to carefully reconsider what is important to this nation and what will become a major concern if China takes control.


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