By Siva Muthulingasamy, Nov 2 2012 11:38AM
Americans want more power from the sun, but GOP politicians don’t. What’s an industry to do?
Says Michael Grunwald, New Energy Columnist for the Time Magazine November 5, 2012
YOU PROBABLY LIKE SOLAR ENERGY, I know this because I recently got a press release from the solar lobby, “poll reveals strong support for solar energy across political spectrum”. It turns out that 92% of likely voters, including 84% of Republicans, want more sun-powered electricity. In America, solar is motherhood and apple pie.
Of course, in Washington, even motherhood is a partisan issue, some super PAC (Political Action Committee) is probably rebranding apple pie as a socialist dessert, and solar power is now a political football too. Thanks largely to President Obama’s stimulus bill, solar has become the U.S.’s fastest growing industry, expanding more than tenfold in four years and adding more than 100,000 jobs. Prices have plunged nearly 50% since Obama took office.
But many Beltway Republicans who had embraced green energy and green jobs turned against them after they became associated with the Obama agenda. Electric vehicles, which once enjoyed bipartisan support, became Obamamobiles, and Senator John McCain’s cap-and-trade plan became as assault on free enterprise.
And the GOP’s solar talking points now begin and end with a bankrupt, stimulus-funded manufacturer called Solyndra, even though the stimulus also helped finance a half a dozen of the world’s largest solar plants and a nationwide effort to install solar panels on commercial rooftops.