Tag Archives: solar

Exclusive Interview: Dr. Boulet on the Fallacies of Paul Krugman

Joshua Cook spoke with Dr. Jon Boulet, economics professor at North Greenville University, about economist Paul Krugman’s new op-ed piece Enemies of the Sun featured in the New York Times.

Dr. Boulet described how Krugman uses a tactic of the progressive left by calling skeptics of global warming “deniers” instead of debating the objective facts or science.

“He [Paul Krugman] is not just a statist, he is an elitist,” said Dr. Boulet. “Even more so of dealing with the bad policy prescriptions is the fact of those who oppose him are called deniers. For Krugman, a denier is someone who is not worthy of discussion and that is one of the greatest dangers of modern America.”

Boulet said that in the 1970’s, the consensus was that the cause of global cooling was the result of burning fossil fuels and the solution, according to the progressive left, was a government-run economy ran by elites by Paul Krugman.

Cook asked Dr. Boulet about Krugman’s claim that solar is adding more jobs than the coal industry.

“Frankly that’s a sign of inefficiency,” said Dr. Boulet. “Solar provides approximately 1 percent of the power in the United States which is being generous.”

“So solar is generating 1 percent of the power and is using more labor than we use coal miners in the United States who generate 38 percent of our power,” said Dr. Boulet. “One industry is spending more on labor to provide 1 percent of the power than it is to use the same amount labor to generate 30 times the amount of power.”

Dr. Boulet said, “someone might say ‘well that’s more jobs that will be great.'”

“But who will pay for these jobs?” Dr. Boulet continued. “If you get rid of coal tomorrow and say we’re all going to provide solar, will people like it when people’s power increases by 10, 20, 30, 40 or 50 fold? People will get royally ticked off.”

Near the end of the interview Cook and Dr. Boulet talked about the Federal Reserve and how elites get richer at the expense of the poor and middle class.

“A handful of large banks and financial institutions go to the Fed and borrow money at .5 percent and they turn around and feed the stock market bubble and they make a killing. It allows the mega-rich to get even richer,” said Dr. Boulet.

Dr. Boulet doesn’t like the term “crony capitalism.” He prefers to use “crony socialism.”

“There’s nothing crony about capitalism,” said Dr. Boulet. “Socialism is crony because these firms go to the government because the government is their sugar daddy.”

Listen to the entire interview here.

Solar Subsidies Could Let Musk Double-Dip

By By Peter Fricke 

Elon Musk has made millions from government solar panel subsidies, and may have found a way to make even more if rumors Tesla will soon introduce a whole-home battery are true.

Musk, the CEO of Tesla Motors and chairman of solar panel manufacturer SolarCity, set off a wave of anxious speculation Monday when he tweeted that “[a] major new Tesla product line—not a car” would be unveiled on April 30.

Neither Musk nor Tesla have confirmed any details about the new product, but according to The Motley Fool, many observers believe the new product will be a home battery capable of storing electricity produced by solar panels.

Musk told investors during a February conference call Tesla would begin production of a home battery within about six months, and further reinforced expectations with a second tweet, in which he said, “With all that solar power being generated, it almost feels like something is needed to complete the picture …”

Many experts, however, claim much of the reason for all that solar power being generated is that state and federal subsidies make rooftop solar panels affordable in the first place. (RELATED: Solar Industry Demands Extension of Subsidies)

In an op-ed for Townhall, for instance, Ken Blackwell asserts that, “Very few people would install these rooftop solar systems at all if not for the federal tax break that comes with it,” which takes the form of a 30 percent non-refundable tax credit known as the solar investment tax credit.

Even the Solar Energy Industries Association, a national trade group, acknowledges as much on its website, noting that, “the residential and commercial solar ITC has helped annual solar installation grow by over 1,600 percent since the ITC was implemented in 2006.”

Another program that acts as an implicit subsidy for solar is net metering, which requires power companies to purchase excess solar from homeowners at the same price they charge their retail customers. Most states have their own net metering policies, and since 2005, federal law has required all public electric utilities to offer net metering to their solar customers on request.

Electric companies complain that net metering ignores the cost of operating and maintaining power grids, which they say accounts for about one-third of the price they charge for electricity. Because solar customers use the grid whenever they buy or sell power, the utilities argue net metering allows solar users to use the grid as a battery without contributing toward operating costs, forcing them to raise rates on other customers. (RELATED: Low-Income, Minority Households Bear Costs of Solar Subsidies)

According to a study from the University of Colorado at Boulder conducted by Chrystie Burr, “most of the investments in solar power systems wouldn’t have been made without the … upfront subsidy and the residential renewable energy tax credit.”

Similarly, a study by Kenneth Reddix II of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill concludes that in California, “over 54 percent of all purchases would have not occurred … in the absence of government subsidies.” (RELATED: Europe’s Green Energy Industry Faces Collapse as Subsidies are Cut)

If Tesla’s new product does turn out to be a home battery, as is widely expected, Musk will stand to profit twice from those subsidies—once from SolarCity’s sales of the subsidized panels, and then again from Tesla’s sale of home batteries to the same customers.

“Elon Musk is making a big play for American solar and all the subsidies that go along with it,” an energy industry consultant told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “If you’re getting millions from the federal government and a subsidized power grid, you might as well keep offering related products.”

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