Feds Give $39 Billion A Year to Solar Industry; Only 0.5% of Power Generated by Solar

If “green” really was the way to go, we wouldn’t need any government subsidies to produce it. The market would demand it, and innovators would create the supply. The competition would naturally drive prices down, and the quality of the product would get progressively better.

CNS News is reporting that despite $39 billion in taxpayer-funded subsidies to the solar industry, solar power accounts for just 0.5% of all electricity generated in this country. Does it sound like we’re getting an adequate return on our forced investment?

Despite receiving an estimated $39 billion in annual government subsidies over the past five years, the solar energy industry accounted for just one half of one percent (0.5%) of all the electricity generated in the U.S. during the first 10 months of 2014, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Between January and October of last year, the U.S. produced a total of 3,431,473 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity. But only 15,973 million kWh were generated by solar thermal or photovoltaic (PV) solar modules that use semiconducting materials to convert sunlight into electricity, according to EIA’s latest Monthly Energy Review.

The amount of solar power generated last year was up from the 9,252 million kWh produced in 2013, but still remained a tiny fraction of the nation’s total power generated in 2014 despite billions of dollars in subsidies spent on hundreds of solar programs at the federal, state and local level.

The U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) “Sunshot Initiative” proposes to have solar energy account for 14 percent of all electricity generated in the U.S. by 2030 and 27 percent by 2050. But even among renewable energy sources, solar still accounts for just a small percentage, according to the EIA.

So, if it takes annual subsidies of $39 billion in order for the solar industry to account for just 0.5% of total electricity production, how much more is it going to take to make the solar industry account for 14% of all power generated in the country? You do the math.

I’m all for other forms of energy. If this were left up to the market, we’d likely have many options from which to choose. The government shouldn’t be involved in deciding what form of energy we use. There shouldn’t be any subsidies. There should be no need for subsidies. If an innovator developed a cleaner, more efficient and cheaper form of energy than fossil fuels, people would buy it.