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Why are we paying for inefficient energy?


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#1 Moonbox

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 10:26 AM

Just a simple question. We know the government of Ontario is subsidizing solar power in Canada to the extreme. Farmers are getting a guaranteed return on investment in solar panels and Ontarians are paying ridiculous premiums on the energy they produce. I always wonder why we're doing this. The solar panels aren't anywhere CLOSE to being cost efficient right now and at the rate things are going they won't be for another 20 years. Why are we paying big $$$ right now for instrastructure investments in inefficient and immature technology that costs everyone a fortune compared to the alternatives?

Wouldn't it be better to invest in the research and improvement of the actual technology istelf? I'd prefer the technology at least be reliable and effective before we start throwing billions at it. The cost of solar power /kwh has halved over the last 10-15 years, so it's clearly feasible, but we need to be spending money helping MAKE it feasible, not wasting it on crap technology right now.
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#2 Shady

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 12:25 PM

We're subsidizing it because it's good publicity, but very bad policy. Just like Obama wasted $500 million dollars on one bankrupt solar panel company. It sounds good to do, and it feels good for liberals. But it's a complete waste of money, and a drag on the economy.

#3 scribblet

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 02:01 PM

My take too, it looks good and keeps the greenies happy (to some extent) :)-

I wonder if McGuinty is rethinking giving money to the solar panel company after the mess up with Solondra in the U.S.

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#4 Wild Bill

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Posted 20 September 2011 - 02:47 PM

Just a simple question. We know the government of Ontario is subsidizing solar power in Canada to the extreme. Farmers are getting a guaranteed return on investment in solar panels and Ontarians are paying ridiculous premiums on the energy they produce. I always wonder why we're doing this. The solar panels aren't anywhere CLOSE to being cost efficient right now and at the rate things are going they won't be for another 20 years. Why are we paying big $$$ right now for instrastructure investments in inefficient and immature technology that costs everyone a fortune compared to the alternatives?


we're doing it because McGoofy thinks he understands technology and business. Obviously, he's out to lunch!

Some time ago he must have been at a dental appointment or something and picked up a magazine. He would have seen an article talking about how the computer chip revolution advanced by leaps and bounds. Moore's Law holds that the size of memory chips available on the market doubles every two years, while the price drops by more than half. This is driven by the sheer volume of demand for these devices.

Other articles also drop in price as volume increases. Manufacturing machinery and techniques are often more efficient at higher volumes.

The danger is that people who don't actually understand these factors take them as a given for ALL production! They have no idea of the details involved with different items and industries that might make them fall into different categories. Take sewer pipe, for example. We use miles and miles of it every year but there's not a lot of room left for increased price savings. It is a mature industry using mature technology. Aluminum and steel smelting are similar.

McGuinty seems to think that if he subsidizes wind and solar this will AUTOMATICALLY bring about cheaper prices as more turbines and solar panels are made and sold! He also thinks that 85 cents per kilowatt hour for solar will eventually cause a price drop to be competitive with 5 cents per kwhr at today's prices with current generating technologies.

He's like a teacher who has never done a task himself but thinks he knows all about it because he's read and perhaps taught from some books.

People versed in the technologies see this as rather a risky deal, especially when if Dalton is wrong WE all pay!
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#5 waldo

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 02:57 AM

But it's a complete waste of money, and a drag on the economy.

particularly in relation to your U.S. Solyndra reference, don't hesitate to supply your countering stats to the following (note: jobs census processing/analysis performed by Cornell University; figures include job losses associated with Solyndra):

National Solar Jobs Census 2011


National Solar Jobs Census 2011 Finds Solar Companies Hiring Faster Than Rest of Economy Preliminary data finds new job creation in solar despite overall down economy

WASHINGTON, DC – The Solar Foundation today announced that 100,237 Americans are now working in the U.S. solar industry, according to preliminary data from the “National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce.” Solar businesses added 6,735 new workers in all 50 states since August 2010, which represents a 6.8 percent growth rate. The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 measured solar employment during the period between August 2010 and August 2011.

The U.S. solar industry’s job growth outpaced the overall economy and fossil fuel electric generation when compared to overall economic data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI). During the same 12-month period, jobs in the overall economy grew by a mere 0.7 percent, while fossil fuel electric generation lost 2 percent of its workforce.


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#6 waldo

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 03:06 AM

I wonder if McGuinty is rethinking giving money to the solar panel company after the mess up with Solondra in the U.S.


Don’t Be Fooled By the Solyndra Bankruptcy Circus — Solar Is Booming

subsidies at play, whether BigOil or Sustainable... in this case, pay attention to the linked article's reference to Chinese government assistance to it's solar industry. Effectively, Solyndra has difficulty matching the low Chinese manufacturer prices. Of course, those crafty Chinese are quickly moving to secure immediate and long term market share.....

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#7 Shady

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 07:04 AM

particularly in relation to your U.S. Solyndra reference, don't hesitate to supply your countering stats to the following (note: jobs census processing/analysis performed by Cornell University; figures include job losses associated with Solyndra):

National Solar Jobs Census 2011

I'm sure they have been hiring. They're getting billions of dollars of tax money. The problem is, like in the case of Solyndra, when the money runs out, so does the hiring, and the businesses themselves. Already 4 solar companies have gone bankrupt since the stimulus money ended. Solyndra's just the latest example. And all of these failed solar companies get counted in your bogus hiring report. Which doesn't tell the real story. As usual.

#8 scribblet

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 06:13 PM

There's talk about an investigation into Solyndra and where the money went. The company that McGuinty might give money too, is also having problems as it has halted production because of slow demand.

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#9 waldo

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 10:23 PM

But it's a complete waste of money, and a drag on the economy.

particularly in relation to your U.S. Solyndra reference, don't hesitate to supply your countering stats to the following (note: jobs census processing/analysis performed by Cornell University; figures include job losses associated with Solyndra):

National Solar Jobs Census 2011

National Solar Jobs Census 2011 Finds Solar Companies Hiring Faster Than Rest of Economy Preliminary data finds new job creation in solar despite overall down economy

WASHINGTON, DC – The Solar Foundation today announced that 100,237 Americans are now working in the U.S. solar industry, according to preliminary data from the “National Solar Jobs Census 2011: A Review of the U.S. Solar Workforce.” Solar businesses added 6,735 new workers in all 50 states since August 2010, which represents a 6.8 percent growth rate. The National Solar Jobs Census 2011 measured solar employment during the period between August 2010 and August 2011.

The U.S. solar industry’s job growth outpaced the overall economy and fossil fuel electric generation when compared to overall economic data from Economic Modeling Specialists, Inc. (EMSI). During the same 12-month period, jobs in the overall economy grew by a mere 0.7 percent, while fossil fuel electric generation lost 2 percent of its workforce.

I'm sure they have been hiring.


yes, yes the U.S. solar industry has been hiring... and yes, the report I linked to does include job losses associated to failed companies. You can presume to, under the auspices of ShadyPractices, arbitrarily label the linked report as, as you say, "bogus". Or, alternatively, as suggested, you could supply countering ShadyBogusFree stats. Until such time, clearly, we can dispense with your most generalized ShadyClaim that solar subsidies are, as you stated, "a complete waste of money, and a drag on the economy".

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#10 bush_cheney2004

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Posted 21 September 2011 - 11:13 PM

I'm sure they have been hiring. They're getting billions of dollars of tax money. The problem is, like in the case of Solyndra, when the money runs out, so does the hiring, and the businesses themselves. Already 4 solar companies have gone bankrupt since the stimulus money ended. Solyndra's just the latest example. And all of these failed solar companies get counted in your bogus hiring report. Which doesn't tell the real story. As usual.



Agreed....US based photovoltaic companies (arguably where the industry was founded) have been out-subsidized by their Chinese competitors...Solyndra had a better product but couldn't compete on price.

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#11 Moonbox

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 01:34 PM

Effectively, Solyndra has difficulty matching the low Chinese manufacturer prices. Of course, those crafty Chinese are quickly moving to secure immediate and long term market share.....


Who cares who takes the market share? The market wouldn't exist if not for massive government subsidies. Whether US or Canadian governments want to piss taxpayer money away on local manufacturers or Chinese manufacturers matters little. The money is still completely pissed away. For all the economic sense it makes, we might as well be paying people to generate electricity on bicycles. The benefits would be enormous. We'd have a healthier, leaner population, less methane (smaller farts), and we'd be producing clean energy. Nevermind that it would be prohibitively expensive and inefficient, like solar. Money doesn't matter! That's a small price to pay for a cleaner (and better looking) North America!

Edited by Moonbox, 23 September 2011 - 01:36 PM.

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#12 Shady

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 04:57 PM

yes, yes the U.S. solar industry has been hiring... and yes, the report I linked to does include job losses associated to failed companies.

Yes, your cited report takes into consideration job losses of the failed companies, even though some of the failed companies went bankrupt after the report had been made. :rolleyes:

Do they have a time machine? :lol:

Really, you make it too easy sometimes.

Edited by Shady, 23 September 2011 - 04:58 PM.


#13 Shady

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Posted 23 September 2011 - 04:59 PM

And of course, once the government money runs out, so does their hiring. And in many cases, the business itself as well.

#14 ZenOps

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 07:54 PM

Agreed....US based photovoltaic companies (arguably where the industry was founded) have been out-subsidized by their Chinese competitors...Solyndra had a better product but couldn't compete on price.



Yup, better product means little when talking about energy, especially solar. Million dollar uber high quality satellite solar panels *might* produce twice the energy by using gold indium arsenide dusted with platinum (ok, maybe not that exotic, but close) than an elcheapo silicon, but if it costs 1/1000th the price to simply just make two silicon panels that produce the same electricity...

China wins in that scenario every time, because the US is not effective at mass production anymore. The US may have put one man on the moon with a million pounds of fuel, but if the people want 10,000 men to make it to the grocery store for a million pounds of fuel - you have to adjust accordingly.

Edited by ZenOps, 11 October 2011 - 07:57 PM.