It’s undeniable that solar power is on the rise. It’s growing all over the US and the world. But the there are still those who want to hold it back. For instance, last week the Institute for Energy Research, an organization funded in part by the Koch Brothers and fossil fuel industry. But now the Centers for Biological Diversity have fought back against the accusations.
The institute’s new report, “The High Cost of Rooftop Solar Subsidies,” contended, among other things that solar subsidies increase net metering provisions are raising rates on all customers, including the poor, unfairly. More specifically, it focussed on Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton’s plan to install 500 million solar panels in the US by 2020. “That plan, however, will increase electricity prices for Americans—both consumers of solar power and consumers of traditional energy that subsidize solar power’s use of the electric grid,” it stated.
“It's no surprise that an organization that has received funding from the Koch brothers and Exxon produced a report that's quick to point a blaming finger at solar subsidies, but let’s not forget that it’s the fossil fuel industry that has long been kept afloat by government subsidies," said Chad Tudenggongbu, a senior renewable energy campaigner at the Center for Biological Diversity. “This report’s so-called findings are simply regurgitating the same left-over arguments we've been hearing for years, but the facts are clear: Distributed solar is one of the most promising paths to a clean, healthy and affordable energy economy.”
The International Energy Agency has reported that fossil fuel subsidies are nearly 10 times higher than those received by renewable energy. That doesn’t even consider the environmental costs of using fossil fuels, which the center, citing the International Monetary Fund, said cost 10 times more, nearly $5 trillion annually.
“Despite the trivial governmental support it receives in comparison with fossil fuels, the solar industry is growing,” said Tudenggongbu. “In 2016 solar is expected to add more electricity-generating capacity than any other energy source in the United States, and the solar industry is employing workers at a rate nearly 12 times faster than the overall economy.”
The Centers for Biological Diversity also noted a recent Harvard University study, which found that negative impacts of coal cost the US $330 billion to $500 billion annually. “If fossil fuel enthusiasts like the Institute for Energy Research are truly concerned about the welfare of Americans, they should encourage the government to shift subsidies from dirty fossil fuels to clean and distributed solar energy,” Tudenggongbu said. “Not only does the solar industry provide economic opportunity, but it also offers relief from the disproportionate pollution and climate impacts from fossil fuels borne by low-income communities.”Tweet