Let us pray, for First Solar, Inc., may it prove to be the grand exception that truly tests (proves) the rule!
Accounting for only 1.3% of all energy provision in America, “Obama-approved” sources will never in the foreseeable future replace fossil fuels. Of course, besides huge new fields (the Bakken Deposit) of oil and immense troves of natural gas . . . the United States has the world’s largest concentrations of Keragen (“oil shale”) with enough in Western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to provide all the world’s energy needs for the next six and a half centuries. It goes without saying that petroleum, natural gas and keragen are all EVIL FOSSIL FUELS not to be considered by Barak the Bird-Brain.
#1 Detriment to Viable Alternatives
for U.S. Energy? Expensive Unions!
After forty-four years of unending subsidies and false starts, solar energy is not much further along than it was when Jimmy Carter first did the alternative energy foreplay routine on all his progressive friends. After all that time it’s getting harder and harder to build up their orgiastic excitement to the crescendo that used to bring progressives such a thrill back in the day . . . in short, like most of today’s alternative energy options, solar power is largely impotent when compared to the sheer power and virility that is petroleum, natural gas and coal which combined with nuclear and hydro-electric power yield 96.8% of America’s total energy. At present, no single alternative energy source produces more than the 1.6% of total energy provided by burning wood; and all of the documented alternatives taken together fail to match the 5.6% of total energy provided by hydro-electric power (which produces 20% of the world’s energy and 88% of the world’s renewable energy at present).
When both transportation needs and home and industrial electricity are combined, the following information holds true:
RAE (Renewable “Alternative” Energy) –
After all the hype and all the monetary drain, these sources (solar; wind; geo-thermal; tidal; waves; mirror) only amount to 1.3% of the nation’s total energy. The most ancient (and therefore NOT “alternative”) of our renewable energy sources, water-power and wood-burning 7.2% combined, still account for 84.7% of all renewable energy power usage in America in 2011. For the record, only water-power generation of electricity (hydro-electric power) among all the renewable forms is viable for large energy production. Also for the record, battery-powered cars get 47% of their electrical charges from coal furnaces . . .
Coal, which provides nearly half -- 47.3% -- of the power providing the nation’s electricity, accounts for 22.6% of all energy (91% of all coal is used for electricity) expenditure.
Hydro-electric Power –
Is presently our major viable renewable energy source and accounts for 5.6% of all energy use in the country. Hydro-electricity is relatively new, (only 120 years old) but water-power for mills has been used for at least the last three thousand years. The failure of the other “alternative energy” ideas to catch on is graphically understood when you consider that 86% of all renewable energy comes from hydro-electric generating stations in dams and burning wood . . . and that the United States has one of the least expansive hydro-electric systems in the entire world.
Natural Gas –
Provides 23.8% of all energy used in the country.
Nuclear (electric) Power --
Only provides 8.5% of America’s energy.
36.6% of our total energy comes from oil; 71% of petroleum is used for transportation and 23% for industrial purposes.
Wood Burning –
Still accounts for 1.6% of all American energy and a larger share of our energy use than any single “renewable energy source” except, of course hydro-electric power. Only wood-burning and hydro-electric power are viable renewable energy sources at present.
Solar energy has proved to be a huge disappointment and its future is very much in the dark. Wind power has also left our sails slack, while geo-thermal has left its proponents cold. Accounting for only 1.3% of all energy provision in America, “Obama-approved” sources will never in the foreseeable future replace fossil fuels. Of course, besides huge new fields (the Bakken Deposit) of oil and immense troves of natural gas . . . the United States has the world’s largest concentrations of Keragen (“oil shale”) with enough in Western Colorado, Utah and Wyoming to provide all the world’s energy needs for the next six and a half centuries. It goes without saying that petroleum, natural gas and keragen are all EVIL FOSSIL FUELS not to be considered as viable alternatives by Barak the Bird-Brain.
Progressives in Washington, D.C. have destroyed the economy with the thirty-four year old plague of CRA ’77 on the one hand creating the sub-prime lending crisis and our ongoing financial meltdown; and on the other hand with deliberate and malicious energy-blockage (no new refinery has been built in this country since 1974) bankrupting the country. Until they put us back to the dark ages (literally!!) they will not be happy. The contradictions of the green-energy fanatics stand out clearly in this next little item . . . .
At present all “independent” American solar panel manufacturers have failed save one: First Solar, Inc. First Solar, an unsubsidized firm unlike 99.8% of its still viable competitors, has disappointed investors again as net income for the last quarter fell 33% in the face of strong Chinese competition. The Chinese, of course, are able to put cheaper labor in their shops, something not possible in a country whose wage structure is driven by union demands. In short, the fault presumably lies NOT with First Solar, but with the economic conditions that progressives have handcuffed us with over the last six decades.
There may still be hope -- First Solar has gone directly against the grain (shades of “Rearden Metal,” Mr. Galt!) and sacrificed energy production capability thus far in the interest of lighter weight, production- cost savings and versatility. The company specializes in bendable thin-film solar panels which capture sunlight and convert it to electricity. First Solar’s film is only able to capture around 11% of the sunlight shining on the panel which is less efficient than wafer-style solar panels, which can capture anywhere from 20 to 25 percent of the sunlight shining on the panel. The wafer-style panels meanwhile are all being manufactured in this country by firms heavily-subsidized by the Obama government. In its favor, First Solar was the first company to bring cost-per-watt of solar energy below $1 . . . a huge, indeed the critical, step in making solar energy more competitive with traditional energy sources from fossil fuels.
In short, First Solar is the first nearly viable solar energy manufacturer in America, it’s innovative and even intransigent (refusing to follow the herd and trusting in their own vision) and thanks to First Solar, there really has been a breakthrough in solar energy viability. While other companies have concentrated on solar energy, First Solar has concentrated on cost-viability so that its products while only about as efficient as the panels installed in 1980 . . . now cost about 1.25% as much as they did back then. In other words, except for the influence of the unions on wages, First Solar might already be the world’s leader in providing solar energy. As it stands, however, they’re probably going to need to triple their efficiency past the wafer-companies in order to compete with the Chinese.
Then there’s the matter of patent infringement, we can expect the Chinese, if First Solar ever does make it . . . to just steal the process (none of these niceties of paying patent royalties) and again put the American economy between the sword and the wall. Let us pray, for First Solar, Inc. Its Chinese competitors like SunTech and JA Solar are the main rivals. Sun Tech had been the last U.S. independent solar panel manufacturer other than First Solar but now the Chinese and French own it. The long-term viability of First Solar is at stake and reportedly the rats are leaving the sinking ship (huge amounts of insider sales and departure of many of these insiders). Meanwhile besides the Chinese, First Solar must compete against heavily-subsidized but less efficient American firms. These firms (which would have all gone bankrupt by now) are still alive and still fighting to keep First Solar’s share of the solar panel market low. Much as the federal auto-bailout has threatened Ford’s survival, federal solar subsidies are now threatening the only viable American solar panel manufacturer. Let us pray, for First Solar, Inc., may it prove to be the grand exception that truly tests the rule!
Ya’all live long, strong and ornery,