The bedrock problem is that solar power simply isn't economic, as reader OBloody Hell showed here years ago. Though green zealots hoped that would change, solar power remains a myth today, says Walter Russell Mead at American Interest:
[T]here’s another factor behind the failure of so many Obama administration initiatives in this field. Because alternative energy generation is expensive and inefficient, it requires some combination of subsidies, high energy prices and forced purchases to make these investments pay off.I'm guessing the market recognizes that solar and such won't realize sufficient rates of return; this has been common knowledge for years.
The Solyndra guarantee and related programs were all developed back in the heady early days of the Obama administrations when delusional greens thought their global agenda was on the verge of being realized. Cap and trade and other aggressive energy policies would artificially jack up energy prices in the US to the point where demand for solar and other alternative energy would grow. The global carbon treaty would provide a permanent source of demand for green energy.
The political assumptions underlying the green investment boomlet turned out to be false. There will be no global carbon regime for the foreseeable future; there will be no cap and trade and no aggressive federal programs to raise energy prices during the deepest recession since World War Two.
Perhaps even worse from the green point of view, a cascade of discoveries and technological advances has dramatically increased the supplies of oil and gas in the western hemisphere -- including huge new domestic energy supplies in places like Pennsylvania, Ohio and upstate New York. These discoveries are devastating to the politics of the environmental movement. . .
The collapse of the green political structure (cap and trade plus global carbon treaty) and the transformation of the American fossil fuel supply have dramatically weakened the case for alternative energy. Investors take heed.
Which must be why Obama just doubled-down, deciding last Friday to drop another $4.7 billion on solar power loan guarantees. Sure, the Administration claims this creates jobs and reduces carbon emissions. And lefties argue that government should subsidize where the private sector can't or won't
But this isn't the moon landing. Alternate energy can't help if it's uneconomic--even if NASA made solar panels. Similarly, the claimed benefits won't come if no one buys the product (the jobs mostly are short-term construction). As Mead shows, absent gun-to-the-head cap and trade laws, no one will. The free market largely avoided Solyndra for a reason. And when did Democrats become disciples of corporate welfare?
Coyote Blog's Warren Meyer observes:
[T]he difference with the private sector is not that the private sector makes no mistakes, but there is real accountability for those mistakes which lead to changes in behavior.Exactly. Government is incapable of picking product winners and losers--and this Administration doesn't learn from its errors.
In the next batch of bankruptcies, add about $5 billion to the 2013 Federal budget deficit--due to decisions by the supposed smart guy.
(via readers Doug, Warren)