Thursday, April 26, 2012
I was asked this week why I wanted government help for solar. It was actually a pretty reasonable question considering all the bad news about solar both locally and nationally. It has taken me literally six years to come up with an answer to the question, “Why solar and why should the government be involved?” First I want to list all the bad things I have seen in the solar industry and also by people professing to have something to do with solar but really just being crooks. The first company I worked for left 2 wires exposed in a circuit box, they were dead but it still bothers me. Solyndra: My personal thoughts are the Federal Government shouldn’t be on the supply side—that’s nationalism. They can, however, help foster demand for a product through tax incentives or deregulation. (Solyndra was a pretty novel idea but they didn’t know that market conditions for all of their competition were about to cut costs by 40% right when Solyndra opened a huge new factory.) Evergreen First Solar Q cells AQT Solar PrimeStar Solar/ GE (GE bought thin film maker Prime star for approx $300m) All of these solar companies have either gone bankrupt or laid people off. Here is the connection between them all. There are two types of solar, Silicon which is made out of sand and Thin-film which is made out of rare earth metals. Some of these typically used metals are cadmium, telluride and indium.