Energy Department Launches New Research Program to Advance Solar Technologies

February 23, 2012

As part of the Obama Administration’s blueprint for an American economy built to last, Energy Secretary Steven Chu today announced $3 million available this year to support research to significantly lower the cost of solar energy.

How many Department of Energy solar programs have gone belly up in just the past year? Even those who follow the news in alternative energy have probably lost track. How many hundreds of billions of dollars have been lost between loans and grants that can never be returned to the taxpayer? Never fear though, the Obama administration has decided to fix the problems that plague the solar industry. The specifics are too numerous to name so the entire sector needs to reevaluated and overhauled. Surprisingly enough this is going to be tackled successfully with a mere $3 million.

The first question that comes to mind is that if the industry itself could’ve been successfully tweaked with such a small amount of funding then why wasn’t that done before the collapse of the many companies awarded contracts, funding, and loans? The challenges that solar energy has faced to become economical and equitable were no secret, and those problems have plagued that industry and technology for well over a hundred years.

What’s more, since advancing America’s “competitiveness” by “the end of this decade”, is named as one of the objectives how are we defining said term? Solar has been a losing proposition for every country that has bet on it. But there is an obnoxiously backwards philosophy in the clean energy industry. Countries that have been actively “competing” are finding themselves in a rush to the bottom. Whomever gets there first is the winner. So is our goal to manipulate the results of solar just enough to become acceptable in the public sphere so we can actively compete in this rush to the bottom? The recent results and the philosophy that guides the venture seems to answer that for us.

With the recent disastrous results one would think the administration’s solar policy would be put on hold. Or better yet demand that solar companies make the adjustments first to prove the resource is viable and traditionally competitive before awarding any further funding. But that is logical and sensible; something alien to bureaucrats and government types whom believe success can be achieved simply because one wills it.

I was going to do a brief list and explanation of the solar companies that have failed under the administration but why bother? Everyone has a Google.