Solar Gets 326 Times More Subsidies Than Coal, Oil, and Natural Gas

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Solar and wind power get 326 and 69 times more in subsidies than coal, oil, and natural gas per amount of energy generated according to an article published in Forbes Wednesday.

The table below shows the amount of  subsidies given to various forms of energy based on 2013 Department of Energy data collected by Forbes which shows the amount of solar and wind subsidies  relative to the amount of energy produced.

Solar 326Green energy in the U.S. got $13 billion in subsidies during 2013, compared to $3.4 billion in subsidies for conventional sources and $1.7 billion for nuclear according to data from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Most solar subsidies go to residential installations and includes a 30 percent federal tax credit, while wind is usually industrial scale and is thus somewhat more efficient per dollar spent. Solar-leasing companies install rooftop systems, which cost a minimum of $10,000, at no upfront cost to the consumer. Companies do this because the state and federal subsidies  are so massive that such behavior is actually profitable. Solar companies simply cannot compete without government support.

This is not a new phenomenon as shown in the EIA graphic below, but the government is increasing subsidies to solar and wind at the expense of other forms of energy.
Subsidies Are Increasing

EIA data from 2007 shows that solar energy was subsidized at $24.34 per megawatt hour and wind at $23.37 per megawatt hour.  By contrast, coal received $0.44, natural gas and petroleum received $0.25, hydroelectric $0.67 , and nuclear power $1.59 per megawatt hour. In 2010, subsidies were even higher, reaching $775.64 per megawatt hour for solar power.

Solar power produced 0.4 of all energy used in the United States in 2014 according to the Energy Information Administration. Wind power produced 4.4 percent of electricity used during the same year. Meanwhile, coal power produced 39 percent, natural gas produced 27 percent, and nuclear power produced 19 percent of all American electricity during 2014.

Congress been increasing subsidies for green energy as well.  In 1999, green subsides were a mere 17 percent of total subsidies, by 2007 that rose to 29 percent. Over the same time period, natural gas and petroleum-related subsidies declined from 25 percent to 13 percent of total subsidies according to the Institute for Energy Research.

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