Some politicians are using the slogan “No more Solyndras.” What does that mean? If’s a good slogan if it means the federal government needs to pay more careful attention to the viability of companies that receive government grants.
There is no point in pouring money into a failing company no matter how much it makes! On the other hand, if those politicians really mean, “no more federal support for solar power,” they have picked a losing argument.
Certainly the Solyndra debacle has not reduced public support for solar power. It hasn’t even reduced public support for federal support of solar power.
According to a recent poll, 92% of likely voters believe that development and use of solar power in the US is important or very important. Even though Republican politicians are the most likely to make negative comments about Solyndra and solar power, 75% of Republican respondents agree that solar power is important or very important for the US.
Not even baseball, chocolate, or apple pie have that much approval!
What about the federal government’s role? 80% of respondents to the poll support financial incentives to encourage the growth of solar power, including 63% of Republicans. As a Republican myself, I am always glad to see such good evidence that other Republicans recognize that conservation is conservative.
I personally oppose adding renewable energy companies to the list of industries that receive direct government subsidies. I would like to see such subsidies disappear from the federal budget entirely–especially for big oil and big coal.
But tax credits, grants to start-up companies, and other financial incentives do not amount to objectionable subsidies as long as they cease when companies become well enough established to stand and compete on their own.
There are probably plenty more issues on which the majority of Americans agree, regardless of party affiliation. I certainly hope that no matter who is President in January and which party controls the House and Senate, that the top party leadership will turn their backs on their more extreme members and follow the express desires of the majority of voters.
By the way, last week’s post refers to a poll that, among other things, shows that most people do not realize how much influence individuals have on energy usage or energy savings.
I’ll get to writing a post about it some time, but basically when enough individuals make similar decisions about anything, a “tipping point” occurs, after which the whole society seems to go in another direction about, well, whatever the similar decisions were about.
Nearly every American wants to save energy and save money. Nearly every American would prefer to breathe clean air and clean water. Regardless of what the government does or doesn’t do, there are steps we can each take that, if enough other people take them, society will reach a tipping point.
Source: “Solyndra Has No Impact on US Public Support for Solar” / Marsha W. Johnston. Renewable Energy World, October 3, 2012
Photo credit: Proximity Hotel, Greensboro, North Carolina