Democratic presidential candidate former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s plan to build half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term in office could end up being a $206 billion handout to China, according to a new report.
“Hillary Clinton’s solar plan will cost more than $200 billion above and beyond current projections,” according to an analysis by the free market Institute for Energy Research (IER).
“But the true cost of the plan is much higher, especially when the costs of adding this much solar power is considered,” IER reported. “Making matters even worse, electricity demand is not projected to grow enough that this new generating capacity would be needed, making Clinton’s plan even more wasteful.”
Clinton’s plan calls for 120 gigawatts of solar by 2020 — more than twice what Obama administration regulations are expected to create by that year. Adding nearly 100 gigawatts of new solar to the grid will cost nearly $2.5 billion per gigawatt hour, according to IER.
In total, Clinton’s plan costs $205 billion, and would likely benefit the world’s largest solar panel producer — China.
“To be sure, there is nothing wrong with international trade, but let’s be clear that Clinton’s initiative is not going to give the United States a ‘leg up’ on renewable energy,” IER reported, “we will simply be providing more support for Chinese solar panel producers.”
The U.S. imports most of its solar panels, 57 percent of which came from China 2014. U.S. panel makers only produced 12 percent of solar panels used domestically and government efforts to jump start the solar panel manufacturing have largely failed — think Solyndra and Abound Solar.
“Clinton’s solar plan is a plan to import billions of dollars of solar panels, even though electricity demand is not growing to necessitate this kind of new electricity generating construction,” IER reported.
China’s been pumping billions of dollars into their solar panel industry, which is largely responsible for the huge drop in solar prices in the past few years. Chinese companies have flooded the market with cheap panels that U.S. companies lease out to consumers in return for government subsidies.
Clinton’s energy policy is almost exclusively focused on boosting green energy production from solar panels and wind turbines. She’s promised to build half a billion solar panels by 2020 and make sure there’s enough green energy to power every American home.
“Through these goals, we will increase the amount of installed solar capacity by 700% by 2020, expand renewable energy to at least a third of all electricity generation, prevent thousands of premature deaths and tens of thousands of asthma attacks each year, and put our country on a path to achieve deep emission reductions by 2050,” Clinton’s campaign website boasts.
U.S. solar companies would likely benefit from “competitive grants and other market-based incentives” to boost solar energy use, but panel producers in China and Taiwan will liekly se the biggest dividends.
A 2014 report by the European Commission found that “China and Taiwan together now account for more than 70% of worldwide production.”
The Obama administration did slap tariffs on Chinese solar panel products in a bid to help domestic producers, but it’s still taking time for U.S. panel manufacturing to take off.
Chinese companies are also finding ways around the U.S. tariffs, mainly by producing panels in other countries. Bloomberg News reported “more than half the panel capacity Chinese producers plan to add overseas is in Southeast Asia.”
“Clinton promised to install half a billion solar panels by the end of her first term and get the U.S. to a point where it can generate enough green energy to power every home in the country,” IER reported.
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