The 99%, those people protesting current government and corporate greed, think banks are the problem, yet they don't seem to realize banks aren't the biggest problem - the government that enables them and other kooky schemes is. Likewise, Hollywood capitalists are having a field day joining in on calls to make changes - unless it is to their incomes.
While Kanye West, one of those rich people (worth $400 million), showing up at Occupy Wall Street wearing a $350 shirt and gold chains to show support might seem stupid or even ironic, in reality he has a lot to thank poor people for, as do a lot of other millionaires in California.
If you are rich and in California and care about solar energy enough to do something, there is a pretty good chance the $3.3 billion all Californians have tacked onto their utility bills to bolster 'clean' energy is really just going into the pockets of you, just like those other tax breaks the 99% say are a bad thing.
Glenn McCoy Belleville News-Democrat
Residential solar power has always been something of a placebo for people who want to rationalize they are not part of the problem and want to feel all science-y about it. On my last house I had solar panels and it took more electricity to pump the water onto the roof than I saved even heating the pool. It's just bad technology and I have argued early and often we should be funding basic research to make solar worthwhile rather than subsidizing companies and efforts we know will fail 100% of the time - Solyndra is just the tip of the scandal iceberg that will be coming in 2012. The reality is that solar power is dreadful and we would need to build giant solar plants every day for the next 50 years to meet just our energy demands today.
Why is this government program so especially flawed, even when we know most are and don't seem to mind? The biggest reason is that in order to get a rebate, you have to have money in the first place. The California method is designed to float companies that sell solar power systems. The people in the least efficient houses can't afford any money for a solar power system, only the rich can - so if a wealthy house in Napa Valley adds in a $1.45 million dollar solar installation, as Dan Morain used in a Sacramento Bee example, every taxpayer in California, rich or poor, forks over $319,000 of it. And then they get a federal tax break too.
People making money on this say the program is 'wildly' successful. I suppose it is, if you can afford to pay subsidies to rich people you supposedly want to tax more. It's obvious that if the 'industry' would not exist without state rebates and a 30% federal tax credit on top of it, it is not ready to exist.
How much weatherization for existing, inefficient homes and apartments lived in by lower income people could be done for $3.3 billion? Every single apartment building in the state, that's how many, and the energy savings would be far more than any solar program could hope to achieve - but that won't be a splashy campaign slogan about how much California cares about clean energy.
So if we want to have people in Compton buying solar panels for toney Malibu mansions, let's keep rationalizing feel-good science by press release instead of letting poor customers keep more of their money until we have a solution that works.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Part I: Bee Deaths Mystery Solved? Neonicotinoids (Neonics) May Actually Help Bee Health
- Part II: Bee Deaths And CCD - Flawed Chensheng Lu Harvard Studies Endanger Bees
- Violence, Sex And Taboo: The Original Brothers Grimm Fairy Tales Back In Print
- Volunteer-Based Peer Review: A Success
- Bitcoin And Anonymity: User's Identity Can Be Revealed Much Easier Than Thought
- The BPA Paradox – Too Many Studies?
- Education: Stop New Age Thinking, Chalk And Talk Might Be The Best Way After All
- "As someone who has received NIH funding, I can tell you the answer is magic and pure coincidence..."
- "I never thought of diminutive as having a positive or negative association. I often describe people's..."
- "For the most part, I found your article compelling. It reminded me of the time in graduate school..."
- "Indeed, my little experiment does not prove anything; it is not scalable. Not the $10, not the..."
- "Most students take it to battle tiredness and lack of focus, so they study a lot more on the drug..."
- Endangered hammerhead shark found migrating into unprotected waters
- Female color perception affects evolution of male plumage in birds
- Diagnosing deafness early will help teenagers' reading development
- 'Utter neglect' of rheumatic heart disease revealed by results from global study
- Sweet-smelling breath to help diabetes diagnosis in children