Europe's Biggest Solar Company Goes Up In Smoke

Meanwhile: African Nations To Build More Than 100 New Coal Power Plants

Germany’s SolarWorld, once Europe’s biggest solar power equipment group, said on Wednesday it would file for insolvency, overwhelmed by Chinese rivals who had long been a thorn in the side of founder and CEO Frank Asbeck, once known as “the Sun King”. A renewed wave of cheap Chinese exports, caused by reduced ambitions in China to expand solar power generation, was too much to bear for the group, which made its last net profit in 2014. —Reuters, 11 May 2017

The company once hailed as Europe’s largest solar panel producer filed for bankruptcy Wednesday, blaming cheap Chinese panels for flooding the market. SolarWorld is only the latest bankrupt solar company to blame the Chinese. U.S.-based Suniva Inc. filed for bankruptcy in April, also citing stiff competition from Chinese solar panel makers. The solar industry’s biggest problem is likely the very mechanism that led to its rise: lucrative subsidies. European subsidies, mostly in Germany, led to a massive expansion of the companies green energy industry, but eventually subsidies became their undoing as cheaper solar panels from China began to win out. –Michael Bastasch, The Daily Caller, 11 May 2017

More than 100 coal power plants are in various stages of planning or development in 11 African countries outside of South Africa — more than eight times the region’s existing coal capacity. Africa’s embrace of coal is in part the result of its acute shortage of power. –Jonathan W. Rosen, National Geographic, 10 May 2017

h/t to The GWPF

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May 12, 2017 5:46 am

Thank God for coal.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  BallBounces
May 12, 2017 5:50 am

Thank CO2 and plants for coal. Coal seems were laid down ~250mya.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 6:18 am

ahh, you maybe mean seams?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 6:23 am

Where do you think the plants came from?

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 6:27 am

“MarkW May 12, 2017 at 6:23 am”
B&Q (UK), Bunnings (Aus), CostCo (US)?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 7:41 am

Coal, oil, and gas are mostly from seabed algae deposition.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 8:20 am

You are not correct about coal.
Coal formed millions of years ago when the earth was covered with huge swampy forests where plants – giant ferns, reeds and mosses – grew. As the plants grew, some died and fell into the swamp waters. New plants grew up to take their places and when these died still more grew. In time, there was thick layer of dead plants rotting in the swamp. The surface of the earth changed and water and dirt washed in, stopping to decaying process. More plants grew up, but they too died and fell, forming separate layers. After millions of years many layers had formed, one on top of the other. The weight of the top layers and the water and dirt packed down the lower layers of plant matter. Heat and pressure produced chemical and physical changes in the plant layers which forced out oxygen and left rich carbon deposits. In time, material that had been plants became coal.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 9:05 am

Indeed, Paris ‘Treaty’ money to Africa goes to build coal power plants.
Pure gold.
The Globe Has Not Been Warming . . . So Why Is It Called ‘Global’ Warming?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 12:29 pm

“As the plants grew, some died and fell into the swamp waters. More plants grew up, but they too died and fell, forming separate layers. After millions of years many layers had formed, one on top of the other.”
As can be seen today in reality-land, where?

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 12:59 pm

The lakes around the Mount St. Helens blast zone (some of which were made by the eruption) already have a forming layer of peat on their bottoms, from all the trees and other organic matter that was thrown into them, then sedimented over by the settling ash clouds. Peat is a precursor to coal.
Of course, the rapidity of the process (by the standards of orthodox geologic timelines) lends itself to the possibility that coal doesn’t always needs eons to form.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 2:11 pm

The best analog to the coal forming areas of the Devonian period are probably the mangrove swamps of southern Florida and the Amazon basin. The Earth was a vastly different place, much warmer, much wetter. Very unlikely that there was any ice on the planet at all, not even at the poles, especially since they appear to have both been in open ocean at the time.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 3:54 pm

there was thick layer of dead plants rotting in the swamp. The surface of the earth changed and water and dirt washed in, stopping to decaying process.

Actually, there was very little rotting of the dead biomass that had fallen into the water because of the toxicity of, …. or lack of oxygen, ….. in the water, …… which prevented most all microbial decaying processes.
There are present day “loggers” who search river bottoms for “virgin timber” that sank to the bottom more than 100 years ago …… when those cut timbers were “floated” down river to the sawmills.
A dangerous job …..comment image

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 8:16 pm

If we had paid attention before, we should have helped African countries, like Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, etc develop and build natural gas fuelled power stations rather than coal fired. But, the West have never taken the African continent serious with regards to industrial development. Instead, the Africans are migrating to Europe in order to experience modern development.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 9:19 pm

Samuel C Cogar,
Nice photo.
My Mother’s father and grandfather herded logs in Western Pennsylvania, to Pittsburgh. They sold the logs there, then walked home — about 80 miles.

Philip Mulholland
Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 13, 2017 1:23 am

“As can be seen today in reality-land, where?”
Indonesian peat swamps.

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 13, 2017 4:52 am

@ John F. Hultquist,
Small world it tis, ….. so did my grandfather, only he helped “herd” both logs down river and farm animals alongside the Little Kanawha River from Burnsville WV to Parkersburg WV (appx 70 mi’s).

Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 13, 2017 6:54 am

“we should have helped African countries, like Kenya, Tanzania, Nigeria, etc develop and build natural gas fuelled power stations rather than coal fired. ”

Paul Blase
Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 13, 2017 7:22 pm

JohnKnight, see also the Champaign IL coal beds:
“Illinois geologists have discovered the remains of one of the world’s oldest tropical rainforests, preserved in the ceiling of a coal mine 250 feet below the surface.”

Jeff in Calgary
Reply to  Patrick MJD
May 15, 2017 10:53 am
Reply to  BallBounces
May 12, 2017 6:31 am

My Friends who support Green Energy become most upset when I inform them that fossil fuels including coal are really a form of Solar Energy. The coal, gas and crude oil are plants and animal life that existed millions of years ago storing the Sun’s energy for use today and for the next 500 years.

Reply to  TeeWee
May 12, 2017 1:10 pm

True. Thank God for that.

Reply to  BallBounces
May 12, 2017 6:39 am

Thank God for the Chinese.

Jeff Labute
Reply to  BallBounces
May 12, 2017 8:44 am

I wouldn’t mind a little coal furnace myself in additional to gas. In BC Canada… the actual ‘natural gas’ costs ~$40 bi-monthly, plus taxes, delivery fee, fee for this, fee for that, plus other various charges it comes out to $230 bi-monthly. Coal would be cleaner than my wood stove. lol and cheaper. Thank God for Coal!

Richard Bell
Reply to  Jeff Labute
May 12, 2017 11:12 am

Unless you pay the premium for high quality anthracite, I do not believe that coal would be cleaner burning in your wood stove than wood. Coal did not completely replace charcoal, because it did not burn cleanly. Before you can cleanly burn the coal, it must be roasted in a coking oven to bake out all of the hydrocarbons and leave nothing but carbon and ash precursors.
If you do decide to burn coal in your wood stove, remember to investigate whether it matters that burning coal and burning wood have different heat transfer mechanisms. Coal radiates its heat while wood fires transfer heat with convection (burning the wood releases the volatiles and the volatiles transfer heat by condensing on what is to be heated). This difference is important when trying to heat a roman hypocaust (only a wood fire will do).
Useless, but interesting, historical aside:
It was once thought that the Romans had seriously deforested the Italian Peninsula, because there were attempts to force cargo ships offloading goods at Ostia to pay part of the berthing fees in firewood. The truth was that demand for charcoal was high enough that for equal values of firewood and charcoal, loggers made more money selling wood scraps to the charcoal burners, than hauling it to Rome to sell as firewood.

Ron Williams
Reply to  Jeff Labute
May 12, 2017 1:39 pm

Might be better off Jeff with electricity? When the carbon tax in BC goes to $50 a ton, and if NG prices go any higher then you are basically writing a blank cheque to heat your house. This mornings announcement about another USA LNG deal will make domestic NG even more expensive. If Canada’s stupidity persists opposite to policies in the USA, then all fossil fuels are going up big time especially when base prices go up from these historical lows.
Burning wood keeps you warm 5 different ways. Cutting, loading, chopping, stacking and loading the damn stove. And then it gets you divorced with all the mess you track in.

Reply to  Jeff Labute
May 12, 2017 1:48 pm

I have heated with a coal furnace myself. They work very well. There are Amish made ones, that work without electricity. Will go for 72 hours on a fill, when turned down low, so you can go away for a few days in winter without a problem. Burn good Antracite coal. No creosote in your chimney to worry about with coal.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Jeff Labute
May 14, 2017 12:18 pm

Jeff, Richard and all:
It is possible to burn coal extremely cleanly, as evidenced by the 65% improvement in the city air of Ulaanbaatar in only 4 years (2011-2015) thanks to the replacement of only the stoves used to heat yurts (gers). Work now begins on exchanging the small water heating boilers which have very poor combustors.
This winter there was a pilot stove program in Kyrgyzstan that demonstrated the performance of natural draft coal stoves was very good with high acceptance by rural users. They have a 99% reduction in PM2.5 emissions. (<2 mg/MJ delivered, often <0.4mg, info for techies.) The stoves piloted were made by local artisans using only an arc welder and angle grinder so it is not something complicated to make.
These highly improved stoves use a coal coking principle that makes them continuous pyrolysers which can operate indefinitely, meaning it is not necessary to use anthracite or semi-coked coal/briquettes. All that gunk in the chimneys of coal stoves is unburned hydrocarbon fuel. Burn it properly nd there isn't any.
How these stoves work will be the subject of a presentation at the upcoming heating stove conference in Poland at the end of this month, largely concentrating on the reduction of black carbon emissions in Eastern Europe. The only thing that prevented these stoves being developed earlier was a lack of research into the matter. They have been produced in 5 countries so far, all in Cold Asia.

Reply to  BallBounces
May 12, 2017 9:29 am

‘heat and pressure’. If heat is the primary (singular?) casual element needed for formation then long ages are not needed. Iif you have just a little pressure and a lot of heat will that produce coal? And how quickly?
Don’t worry, I’m not anticipating any discussion. Cue ad hominem pressure and heat to begin post haste!

Reply to  groovyman67
May 12, 2017 10:04 am

With practice you can usually find the sweet spot; but contributing or peripheral variables that you can’t influence (or even understand) make it impossible to provide an answer that is consistently correct.

Reply to  groovyman67
May 12, 2017 11:08 am


Ron Williams
Reply to  groovyman67
May 12, 2017 9:23 pm

In certain areas of the third world, they take biomass like river reeds, tall invasive weeds or even agriculture waste, and similar to making charcoal, they make a Biochar. It can be pelletized and shipped fairly economically. Has maybe half the heating value of coal and can be burnt in a coal fired plant.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  groovyman67
May 14, 2017 12:22 pm

Ron – point well made. The energy in char is typically 29 MJ/kg, well above many coal deposits, possibly even ‘most’. Brazil uses a lot of biomass-based charcoal in steel production, and India has a coal-substituting project which buys char from people cooking on waste wood using top-lit updraft pyrolysers (TLUD stoves).

paul r
May 12, 2017 5:48 am

Free trade sucks

Reply to  paul r
May 12, 2017 6:07 am

Not really! Subsidies do!!!

Jim Berkise
Reply to  paul r
May 12, 2017 6:20 am

For an example of how an industry evolves with government guided industrial policy instead of free trade, just look at the history of atomic power in the US. An attractive alternative? We’re now doing an updated version of the same thing with “renewables”.

Paul Penrose
Reply to  paul r
May 12, 2017 6:34 am

paul r,
Rather than attacking free trade, we should be looking at why our local industries can’t compete with the Chinese and fix those things. When the government, either theirs our ours, gets involved, they distort the market. That’s the problem. I don’t mind if they lose fair and square, but it infuriates me when our industry is hobbled and the other side cheats.

Marlo Lewis
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 7:07 am

Keep in mind that the Chinese subsidize their solar power manufacturers to meet demands for solar power arising not from the free market but from subsidies like Germany’s feeder tariff system, the U.S. Solar Investment Tax Credit, and 29 state renewable portfolio standard programs.

Lee L
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 8:12 am

Paul R… you wrote:
“we should be looking at why our local industries can’t compete with the Chinese and fix those things.”
Is what you’re saying that we should get the Germans to wear face masks like the locals do in Beijing and many other Chinese cities?

Mario Lento
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 8:33 am

I think you are right to look at fixing those things. I would say, at the end of the day, there is one underlying thing that tilts things in China’s favor. That is the standard of living is lower, by a lot. It’s hard to compete with a factory that pays $5/hr.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 9:10 am

Mario, that’s a temporary problem that solves itself as the exporting country modernizes. The same things were once said of Japan, Korea, Taiwan, etc.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 9:11 am

Look the chinese government decides that it wants to make strategic long term decisions to own manufacturing. That is their free right. They decide to focus on long term returns rather than quarter to quarter profits. That’s the competition. Like it or Lump it. Fair? There is no fair in business. There is only winning.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 10:41 am

The situation is no different than Walmart or some other big box store moving into your neighborhood. Using mass purchasing and head office to branch subsides, the new Walmart store can sell everything well below the local small retailers wholesale cost. This will quickly drive all small retailers out of business, leaving the big box store with a monopoly. At which point they can jack up the prices, reap huge profits, and plow these profits into opening another big box in some other neighborhood.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 10:41 am

The situation is no different than Walmart or some other big box store moving into your neighborhood. Using mass purchasing and head office to branch subsides, the new Walmart store can sell everything well below the local small retailers wholesale cost. This will quickly drive all small retailers out of business, leaving the big box store with a monopoly. At which point they can jack up the prices, reap huge profits, and plow these profits into opening another big box in some other neighborhood.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 11:08 am

So the troll believes government subsidies are just “long term investing”.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 11:11 am

ferd, that’s the left wing theory. Fortunately the rest of us, it never works.
It isn’t subsidies that drive out smaller businesses, it’s better price and better selection.
Being able to get everything you need in one stop is very valuable to most people.
As to jacking up prices, that can’t happen unless government prevents competitors from cropping up to under cut the would be monopolist.

Bryan A
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 11:14 am

China is also Communist in ideology and political practice and pays the people’s workers next to nothing for their labors. So their cost is significantly lower than non communist nations

Janice Moore
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 11:16 am

Yes, “cheats,” SM. China is effectively using slave labor (in some cases, literally — prisoners doing work for nothing).
While MarkW’s point is correct in a free market scenario, Mario is right vis a vis China. They are, no matter what SM wants to style them, communists. That means: no — free — market. In a free market, price is a data-driven effect which promotes FAIR trade. In China, price is an artificial construct.
If we do not want to end up living like they do, we must manage our response to them (as they, HOPEFULLY, steadily do transition to a free market economy… someday… i.e., “somewhere, over the rainbow, skies {will one day, hopefully be} blue.” 🙂 ). Simply letting laissez faire operate will (with a thriving communist organism (USSR is a dying organism)), like the bloodsucking tumor that it is, end up, if not killing you, making you anemic and weak.
Further, even if China became a free market, limited liberty, country tomorrow, the standard of living would take a very long time to make a dent in that $5/hour. Effectively, China has, within its native population, the equivalent of millions of impoverished aliens flooding not over, but, up, from within its own borders. Before communism grasped China by the throat, the citizens were at the mercy of warlords (essentially, gangs of thugs) who used them just as the communists use them now.
Only a miracle will change China (as a whole).
So, pray for one! 🙂

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 1:20 pm

In other words, the Chinese subsidize the exploitation of foreign subsidies.

Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 3:13 pm

The Chinese are complaining about their high labor costs, so they are automating production in many industries. That is where we can compete – we can automate our own production, plus save on shipping costs.

Reply to  pyeatte
May 12, 2017 3:27 pm

“That is where we can compete” We can also stop giving them our processes and inventions in the name of ‘globalization’. Many examples of this but the most profound is the electronics assembly industry. We handed them the technology, showed them how to manage it, all in the name of globalization. We were told …. and believed it …. that cheaper products would revolutionize our society but they failed to explain at what expense. And they were well aware of it.

paul r
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 12, 2017 3:24 pm

Lee l i didnt say what you said i said i just said free trade sucks . Being more in depth the west will never be able to compete with countries with lower currencie values

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Paul Penrose
May 14, 2017 12:26 pm

“China is effectively using slave labor (in some cases, literally — prisoners doing work for nothing).”
Have you seen the movie “The 13th” about the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery? It documents the use of prison labour in the US for manufacturing products for big box stores. These same companies also use Haiti as a sort of labour camp where $0.50 an hour jobs are accepted.
I also agree with those who say the solar panels are subsidised outright. The companies affected were trying to get an anti-dumping case going at the WTO. I suppose that will fall away if there is no local company left.

Reply to  paul r
May 12, 2017 10:59 am

The reason China is able to make stuff cheap is because there coal is still king so they have cheap energy.
Of course when it comes to boondoggles like solar panels the Chinese are probably quite happy to sell at a loss if they need to. After all getting their competitors to commit to ludicrously expensive unreliable forms of energy pushes up their production costs, shrinks their industries and guess what? They then have to buy more stuff from China. Clever, the Chinese.
Global warming? Forget the science. It’s all about economic warfare! (And those who are winning this war like to call it ‘free trade’.)

Reply to  Michael K
May 12, 2017 3:59 pm

I am actually impressed by China. Imagine how the US would fare with billions of poeple. Absolute anarchy springs to mind. Truly thinking about vast numbers of people and human nature when crammed together is a really daunting excercise. Yet they blend modern technology with ancient cultures. Ultimately their strategy is to keep work manual for themselves ( everyone needs a job) and supply clever innovations and technology to the rest of the world’s greedy/ lazy wants. I bet their classrooms are filled with eager students, not disruptive brats like Australia’s.

Reply to  Michael K
May 14, 2017 11:44 am

The Chinese average wage has gone up to around $3.50-$5.00 an hour and they are looking to offshore a lot of their manufacturing. Where do you think they are going? Mexico, where the average wage is less than $3.00 and, yes, transportation to the US is far less than from mainland China. Mexico is in active negotiation with China at this point. All because Mexico is covering their butts in case NAFTA really goes bad on them.

Reply to  paul r
May 12, 2017 3:59 pm

Not really! Government Grant seekers do.

Patrick MJD
May 12, 2017 5:49 am

Seriously, this is too funny! I actually CAN’T laugh, even wearing a girdle, and I am serial!

May 12, 2017 6:01 am

It’s hard being green

Reply to  Latitude
May 12, 2017 6:23 am

It’s not easy being green.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Marv
May 12, 2017 6:28 am

There is a joke about Kermit, green (Fingers), and the smell of pork (Barreling).

Reply to  Marv
May 12, 2017 8:17 am
May 12, 2017 6:08 am

Practically speaking, the cost of installing your own solar stuff as part of your home’s utility needs is somewhere between $16,500 and $35,000. That’s if you are building a home in a suitable place for it, have access to the roof to clear snow off the panels (because they won’t clear themselves) or a yard with a suitable venue and a fence. But unless you plan to live in that house for a full generational period (minimum 40 years), I don’t think it’s remotely worth it to go to that expense.
The notion that it was all a big freebie to have solar this & wind power that never EVER addressed the real costs: construction, maintenance, weather damages, suitability. It was just ‘let’s all jump on the train of S&W’.
Does it work? Of course it does. I can open the living room blinds and in the winter and save some money on my gas bill because the bay windows let in enough solar HEAT to keep the entire house at 72F all day. But at night, even with double-paned windows, I still have to run the furnace. That is the reality of this twaddle.
It isn’t free, it has more disadvantages than advantages, and no matter how clever we think we are, we can’t outwit or outdo Mother Nature or someone else’s clever ideas.

Ron Williams
Reply to  Sara
May 12, 2017 1:53 pm

You are right Sara, especially about passive solar heating, or even solar hot water heating. But PV solar is iffy, and I only use it significantly for my off grid locations, or the RV. It’s fantastic when you have nothing else. Nothing like being way out in the mountains at the cottage/lake or parked hundred of miles from nowhere and enjoying all the modern conveniences of civilization. With Sat TV/Internet of course, if you like that stuff.
What I don’t understand, especially in rural area’s is why people want to put them on the damn roof. Odds are you will break your neck cleaning them in winter or have to redo the roof shingles before the panels need replacing. Almost never get full efficiency out of the solar PV panel that way anyway. If the panel can’t track Sol, then the inherent inefficiency is not worth the bother and should not be subsidized.

Reply to  Sara
May 12, 2017 7:25 pm

+ many

May 12, 2017 6:21 am

Chinese have a long history as merchants and traders.
Change direction for domestic power production away from solar (if that really ever was the direction)? Dump existing product on Euro and US, and use the proceeds to build coal and nuclear.
Heads they win, tails we lose, at least with the current Euro and US leadership.
And it ain’t “free trade”. There’s no such thing outside economists’ ivory towers.
China’s priority is to protect their domestic markets. They’re bringing a gun to a knife fight and the US (especially) and Euros are unarmed.

Reply to  curly
May 12, 2017 6:25 am

By that logic, there is no such thing as the free market, because all governments meddle in the market, therefore we should just go ahead and all adopt communism.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 6:39 am

You got the first half right. Not sure how you made the leap to Communism.
For the last decade or so, the Chinese have been better capitalists than the Euros and US.
Most countries protect their local markets. I don’t think they’re all Communists.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 6:45 am

The logic is straight forward. You believe that since the governments of many countries interfere in free trade, we should abandon free trade.
By that same logic since the governments of many countries interfere with the free market, we should also abandon the free market.
If the Chinese government wants to tax their people in order to subsidize my purchase of something, the proper response is to thank the Chinese government and people for their sacrifices for my well being.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 6:46 am

Just to be clear, I’m not arguing in favor of subsidies for green energy. It’s a huge waste of resources, misallocation of resources, and we will pay the price in lost opportunity cost and wasted time; let internal markets work. The Chinese just seem to have played the game much more effectively, using “free trade” as a weapon against us while protecting their own interests.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 7:31 am

Your response to thank the govt. of China is the correct one. Well said. All our govt. functionaries should take note.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 8:52 am

China and Soviet Union,were never a true Communist state, China survives because they opened up to allow limited Capitalism in,Soviet Union never did,which is a major factor why they collapsed.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 11:12 am

It’s ironic, even as China is adopting capitalism, the US is adopting socialism.

May 12, 2017 6:25 am

A renewed wave of cheap Chinese exports, caused by reduced ambitions in China to expand solar power generation, was too much to bear for the group …

What I hear from my greenie friends is that China is leading the way in renewables. On the other hand, China does seem to be backing off. link

May 12, 2017 6:32 am

Free trade rules, ridiculously high tariffs (taxes) and government subsidies of favored (chosen winners) industries suck! If half the money spent on “renewable” energy was spent on Molten Salt/Thorium Nuclear Power for the last ten years we would probably be building cleaner, safer power plants and well on our way to eliminating the use of coal, oil and gas for electrical generation, saving it for more important uses.

Reply to  WBrowning
May 12, 2017 4:05 pm

Rubbish. Free trade means you accept paying someone in another country wages you are unwilling to accept in yours. Why not pay the difference to them so local product costs about the same. Ridiculous how the same produce, eg oranges can be sent half way around the world yet be cheaper than local shop with orchards a few kilometres away. Now thats a waste of energy.

Reply to  Macha
May 13, 2017 8:43 pm

Oh great, just find the highest paid worker in any industry and pay everyone else the same rate regardless of their productivity or needs. Hey why restrict this policy to just one industry when we could all enjoy the highest pay? Now where have I heard that before?
As for a waste of energy no it’s not. Somebody is growing oranges where they shouldn’t be and keeping local land from more productive pursuits which may save all that energy and more.
Economies are dynamic not static and there are constant tradeoffs going on all the time.

Tom in Denver
May 12, 2017 6:33 am

Germany and Holland are sitting on a huge unconventional Carboniferous gas field that extends from the southern North Sea into Germany. If only they would stop listening to the ‘Russian sponsored’ anti-frac zealots, They could be rich with low carbon CH4 energy. France and the UK have similar opportunities.

Reply to  Tom in Denver
May 12, 2017 6:54 am

Yep – Putin must be laughing into his sleeve, once again.
The idiots in Europe fell for the propaganda and now they are totally dependent on Russian gas. A complete bargain for Putin in terms of return on investment in the promotion of disinformation.
Well, at least you’ve figured this out.
So that’s two of us who have unplugged the bananas from our ears.

Charles Boritz
Reply to  indefatigablefrog
May 12, 2017 9:02 am

Are those ‘carbon bananas?’
Quote (courtesy SNL): “William Hogan, research director of the Harvard Electricity Policy Group, suggested that the agency support the creation of a “carbon banana,” avoiding the use of the word “tax” because of the political ramifications. “

Reply to  Charles Boritz
May 12, 2017 1:21 pm

Carbon Banana? That is priceless! Can you imagine all the jokes about carbon bananas that would create! LOL! That has got to be the best post of the day!

May 12, 2017 6:37 am

This is great news for the leaders in solar with strong balance sheets. They have had to operate alongside these distractions for years. (If you don’t know which ones have the strong balance sheets, then admit your own shortcomings in knowledge.)

Reply to  Resourceguy
May 12, 2017 6:40 am

No solar companies have strong balance sheets.

Reply to  Leo Smith
May 12, 2017 6:48 am

The ones that get most of their money from government grants and subsidies do.

Reply to  Leo Smith
May 12, 2017 7:47 am

Blinders on

Reply to  Resourceguy
May 12, 2017 8:41 am

You’re absolutely, positively, 100% correct…but only intermittently.

Randy Bork
May 12, 2017 6:38 am

The quote from the Reuters link says, “A renewed wave of cheap Chinese exports, caused by reduced ambitions in China to expand solar power generation…” seem to imply the price is due to Chinese ‘dumping’ excess capacity on the world market. But that would lead one to question why the excess capacity was first developed, and what was it that drove those ambitions to be reduced. Bloomberg reported in Nov, “China, the world’s biggest clean-energy investor, lowered its solar and wind power targets for 2020, a reflection of how record installations of renewables have overwhelmed the ability of the nation’s grid to absorb the new electricity. And further, “While China has poured billions of dollars into clean energy in recent years, the ability to deliver the newly-generated electricity from where it’s produced to where it’s needed has lagged. ” It would seem the experience of actually trying to implement the scheme hasn’t gone so well. Nothing reduces the likelihood of a second snipe hunt so much as the experience of the first.
[bloomberg link:

May 12, 2017 6:41 am

Here’s some irony: Wouldn’t more coal plants enable more energy to produce more solar panels?

Ron Williams
Reply to  Robert Kernodle
May 12, 2017 10:24 am

Which should also allow more solar to be connected to the grid in Africa because they have a reliable base load that can be plugged into.

Reply to  Ron Williams
May 12, 2017 11:13 am

Why would they want to use expensive power who’s only benefit is to make cheap coal power more expensive?

Ron Williams
Reply to  Ron Williams
May 12, 2017 1:56 pm

Just saying it will be technically possible, not advocating for such…

May 12, 2017 7:02 am

Here is even more irony: Hasn’t anyone noticed that the production of silicon solar panels entails the emission of a very large amount of CO2? The IPCC refused to quantify these emissions, but it is possible that the production of a polycrystalline silicon solar panel emits more CO2 than the panel can offset during its service lifetime. A lifetime, by the way, which is much shorter in actual practice than the IPCC will admit.

Reply to  George
May 12, 2017 9:25 am

George , The IPCC may have ducked the question you have raised but there is an establishment answer on the following link, which I found when looking for the environmental cost of green energy :
For life cycle global warming emission question they say ::
“While there are no global warming emissions associated with generating electricity from solar energy, there are emissions associated with other stages of the solar life-cycle, including manufacturing, materials transportation, installation, maintenance, and decommissioning and dismantlement. Most estimates of life-cycle emissions for photovoltaic systems are between 0.07 and 0.18 pounds of carbon dioxide equivalent per kilowatt-hour.”
“this is far less than the lifecycle emission rates for natural gas (0.6-2 lbs of CO2E/kWh) and coal (1.4-3.6 lbs of CO2E/kWh) “:
What may be relevant , given the gradual disappearance of western manufacturers , or finishers , of some types of solar panels is the paragraph concerning the toxic materials at end of life:
“Thin-film PV cells contain a number of more toxic materials than those used in traditional silicon photovoltaic cells, including gallium arsenide, copper-indium-gallium-diselenide, and cadmium-telluride[5]. If not handled and disposed of properly, these materials could pose serious environmental or public health threats. However, manufacturers have a strong financial incentive to ensure that these highly valuable and often rare materials are recycled rather than thrown away.”
If US and EU manufacturers give up , who is responsible, who has the incentive , for recycling?

Reply to  George
May 12, 2017 9:29 am

” but it is possible that the production of a polycrystalline silicon solar panel emits more CO2 than the panel can offset during its service lifetime. ”
err no.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 12, 2017 11:14 am

actually yes. Especially when you add in all the stuff that also has to be constructed before you can actually use that poly-crystalline cell.

May 12, 2017 7:07 am

So how much did Obama give them?

Reply to  philjourdan
May 12, 2017 7:48 am

The State of Oregon gave them boat loads.

John Bell
May 12, 2017 7:11 am

Where are all these solar panels going? I never see any in Michigan, must be in sunnier states.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  John Bell
May 12, 2017 7:55 am

The local Veterans Administration hospital had it’s parking lot roofed with 1MW worth of solar panels and supporting structure, to the tune of several million dollars. That roof is just one of many VA solar installations around the nation, including several at VA national cemeteries.
There isn’t any accurate data at how much faster those cemeteries were filled by trading health care for solar power, but thanks anyway, Green Federal largess and former Pres. Obama.

Alan Robertson
Reply to  Alan Robertson
May 12, 2017 8:05 am

Here’s a link, which displays the tip of the iceberg of the VA’s Green attempt to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, (one veteran at a time):

Tom in Denver
Reply to  John Bell
May 12, 2017 8:44 am

Just go to any government installation anywhere, you will find panels. Thanks to Obama’s stimulus boondoggle

Reply to  Tom in Denver
May 12, 2017 10:02 am
Reply to  Tom in Denver
May 12, 2017 11:14 am

In most areas, if it hasn’t rained in a week or so, they are also covered in dust.

Reply to  Tom in Denver
May 12, 2017 11:26 am

@ urederra May 12, 2017 at 10:02 am
Squeegee guys cleaning solar panels!
Moar Jobs!

Reply to  Tom in Denver
May 12, 2017 1:20 pm

funniest thing is that I found that pic on a solar panel company in SCOTLAND!

May 12, 2017 7:13 am

I think it is distasteful when this blog seemingly “cheers” when solar companies fail. I understand it is because climate activists make hyperbolic claims about the ability of renewable power to replace fossil fuels, and the impact of these claims on climate issues. When a solar company goes bankrupt it seems like proof of the bankruptcy of the whole climate alarmist agenda … but it isn’t really.
I’d like to see solar power reach whatever potential it really has. I just think the current approaches to it, and the crazy subsidies it receives, are holding it back.

Reply to  TDBraun
May 12, 2017 3:08 pm

I for one have never ‘Cheered’ the bankruptcy of a Solar or other renewable company.
…point and laugh, sure. But never cheer. It’s just undignified.

Bruce Cobb
May 12, 2017 7:28 am

It would have happened eventually anyway, once the great “green” energy skamapalooza collapsed.

William Astley
May 12, 2017 7:30 am

This is an engineering reason the market for wind and solar is shrinking in the Germany, the EU, and the other developed countries.
Germany Energiewend Leading To Suicide By Cannibalism. Huge Oversupply Risks Destabilization
Wind and solar power cannot be used if there is no demand for the electric power at the specific time the wind and solar power is generated.
i.e. Installing more wind and solar system beyond the hard engineering limitation of roughly 10% of electricity grid total will just result in more surplus energy that is not used and will hence not reduce total ‘fossil’ energy required.
The Storage Problem/Green Scam Hard Engineering Limitations
Ignoring the cost issue (the cost of electricity in Germany is now twice that of the US), energy storage is required to reduce CO2 emissions by more than about 10% of the electrical grid total load if solar and wind systems only the schemes used.
Energy storage more than doubles the cost. There is no energy storage system that is scalable. Roughly 30% of the energy generated is lost in energy storage systems in conversion losses and battery loses. The battery systems efficiency degrades with time. The batteries have a lifetime of 7 to 10 years.
Germany has reach the hard engineering limit of wind and solar. Germany has installed wind and solar that is 100% of base German power load for the peak nameplate rating of the wind and solar installations.
The problem is German wind and solar installation runs at less than 20% average efficiency.
German wind and solar total power output therefore varies from 100% of grid output to close to zero.
Germany has 100% natural gas/coal back-up to supply the 80% of power when the wind does not blow and the sun is not shining.
Germany needs nuclear power to reduce CO2 emissions further.
German CO2 ‘savings’ do not include the energy input required to build, install, maintain, and replace wind and solar systems and does not include the energy loss to use single cycle natural gas turbines that can be turned on/off/on/off/on/off as compared to the 20% more efficient combined cycle (produce steam from the waste heat from the first pass turbines) natural gas power plants that take 10 hours to start and hence cannot be turned on/off/on/off/on/off multiple times per day in respond to changes in wind speed.

Germany Energiewend Leading To Suicide By Cannibalism. Huge Oversupply Risks Destabilization The coming age of power cannibalism…Germany on the verge of committing energy suicide
Capacity without control
The problem with the “renewable” power sources of wind and solar is their intrinsic volatility coupled with their poor capacity utilization rates of only 17.4% for wind and 8.3% for solar (average values for Germany).
Yet Germany has a unique peculiarity: its leaders sometimes exhibit a stunning inability to recognize when the time has come to abandon a lost cause. So far €500 billion (William: €500 billion is $550 billion US) has already been invested in the “Energiewende”, which is clearly emerging as a failure. Yet all political parties continue to throw their full weight behind the policy rather than admitting it is a failure (which would be tantamount to political suicide).
Instead, the current government coalition has even decided to shift into an even higher gear on the path to achieving its objective of generating 80% of German electric power from “renewable” sources by 2050. If the situation is practically unmanageable now with 25% renewable energy, it’ll be an uncontrollable disaster when (if) it reaches 80%.

1)The EU is also cutting down forests to burn in power plants which results in also no net reduction in CO2 emissions. This is how EU get their phoney quoted ‘renewable’ energy above 10%.
2)The Germans are receiving 25% of their electrical power from green scams, the actual carbon reduction is only 15% to 25% due to requirement to turn on/off/on/off single cycle natural gas power plants rather than to run combine cycle more efficient power plants that take 10 hours to start and that are hence left on for weeks.
3) Power output of a wind turbine is at the cube of wind speed. Wind farm power output can and does change 30% in 20 minutes which requires the starting or shutting down of all the ‘back-up’ power systems.

Dodgy Geezer
May 12, 2017 7:51 am

How much taxpayer’s money went into this?

May 12, 2017 8:04 am

Solarworld has followed the same corporate history as all solar energy companies. Politically-connected leftists form a solar company; obtain government grants and subsidies; use the grants and subsidies to hire some workers, buy some inventory, and pay exhorbitant salaries and dividends to the founders; then file for bankruptcy. Any free market investor understands the scam, and would not participate.

South River Independent
May 12, 2017 8:07 am

Here in Maryland (the FREE State), the Public Service Commission has approved “ratepayer subsidies” for two windfarms, which “could dot the Ocean City horizon with wind turbines as soon as 2020 – and add $1 to monthly residential bills once the windmills start spinning.”
This is supposed to establish a “21st Century economy to combat climate change and (create) jobs in droves at the same time.”
Unmentioned is that the legislature passed a law requiring electricity providers to use at least 25 percent renewable sources, which is expected to increase rates much more than the $1 tax (subsidy) for the wind farms.

Reply to  South River Independent
May 12, 2017 9:50 pm

Apparently “21st century” is a synonym for non-existent and/or crappy.

May 12, 2017 8:23 am

U.S. taxpayers lavished over $100 million in government aid on the now insolvent SolarWorld
Even inflated and ill-gotten tax credits did not prove enough to keep SolarWind aloft. By 2012, the company’s revenue and share price had dropped dramatically, as the efficiency and cost of the panels it manufactured was continually undercut by Chinese competition, according to an investigation by The Oregonian.
Rather than cut costs and improve the quality of its products, a company that had by then gotten $100 million in tax breaks at the state and local level alone—went to the US Department of Commerce and demanded import tariffs on Chinese solar panels it claimed were unfairly subsidized.
The Obama administration—eager itself to promote the U.S. solar industry—complied, slapping tariffs as high as 250 percent on the Chinese competition. The government added tariffs again in 2014, the same year the Department of Energy gave SolarWorld a $4 million grant.

J Mac
May 12, 2017 8:30 am

Inexpensive, reliable, and widely available electricity from efficient, clean coal fired power plants will do more to alleviate the economic, health, and social ills of African countries than any other single factor.

Rhoda R
Reply to  J Mac
May 12, 2017 8:53 am

Africa definitely needs more reliable power – but can its various ‘Strong Men’ keep from using power plants as targets of gun fire or, even worse, keep from putting their incompetent friends in charge ala Venezuela?

Reply to  Rhoda R
May 12, 2017 3:21 pm

One of the biggest problems will be stopping locals pulling down the transmission lines to sell for scrap.
No, I ma not joking. It is a large problem in a lot of places, along with illegal taps off the lines.

Reply to  Rhoda R
May 12, 2017 5:20 pm

I don’t have much hope for the long-term survival of those power plants. The US built a hospital in western Africa, Sierra Leone, I believe. It was destroyed in a civil war (a hospital, ffs). They could have used it during the 2014 ebola outbreak!

Gary Pearse
May 12, 2017 8:40 am

Can somebody twitter this stuff to Trump? I’m pleased to see this for the best of reasons. I first went to Africa in the mid 1960s, hired by the Nigerian High Commission in London, England’s as a geologist to the Geological Survey. I sailed from Liverpool on an Elder Dempster ship that serviced African Ports along the West African coast and around to Durban, S Africa, going ashore several times. I worked on groundwater projects, mapped the geology over broad regions, saw the abundance of resources and observed poverty across the country. I worked in Tanzania in the 1980s and returned to West Africa in the 1990s (oh, and temperatures were the same as 30yrs before!) and found much the same poverty in rural areas as before.
In the 1960s, I predicted Africa would be a resource commodities powerhouse before now. I see some of the same Ngos in play as before and know that they have been anti real development, certainly in the resource sector and nowadays in access to cheap power to raise these long put upon people out of poverty and into prosperity.
Shame, shame on all the big patriarchal NGOs and the UN for the retardation of development and for treating Africa as one big Safari and lifelong source of employment and adventure.
Kudos to the Chinese for breaking this
European US deadlock . They are doing it out of self interest of a different kind than the devious ‘caring’ industrial complex, a kind of self interest that Africans understand and can trust. I only regret that we couldn’t have started it 50yrs in our own similar self interest. We wasted 50trillion since African independence on the Safari style approach. China is going to be the beneficiary of the new African economic (and political) powerhouse that will tip the scales in an unhappy way for the west. It’s a shame on several counts.

J Mac
Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 12, 2017 8:48 am

Thanks for the ‘boots on the ground’ perspective!

Bubba Cow
Reply to  Gary Pearse
May 12, 2017 9:45 am

nuclear (from Russia) coming to Nigeria, as well – if they don’t screw it up:

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 12, 2017 1:29 pm

Russia has contracted nuclear power projects in Turkey, Iran, India Vietnam and China, among others.

Reply to  Bubba Cow
May 12, 2017 5:54 pm

Russia is streets ahead of USA in nuclear power technology AND safeguards.

Reply to  toorightmate
May 12, 2017 6:34 pm

Chernobyl? Kursk? TMI wasn’t even a burp in comparison.

May 12, 2017 8:48 am

Africa may be entering a time of rational enlightened self interest even as the so-called 1st world leaves rational society behind. Not kowtowing to the CO2 obsessed version of imperialism that “progressives” are pushing is very wise.

May 12, 2017 9:12 am

The provable fallacy of “Renewables”, so obvious in the lack of any discernible ROI related to Wind powered Electrical Generation, exists solely because of Government Subsidies. Once Subsidies are removed, no Solar or Wind related “Green Energy” solutions were ever profitable. In addition, these attempted renewables always ended up moving pollution to “other countries”. The “Not in My Backyard” arguments have stymied the growth of far more efficient coal and petroleum based operations, yet the same people think nothing of installing giant bird choppers and low frequency noise generators right next to populated areas. Without Federal Tax Dollars, the ROI on Wind generators is astoundingly negative! The average per generator installation is approximately one Million Dollars and over the expected lifetime of a typical generator, the maintenance bill will almost equal the initial investment. That might approach break-even IF such an installation operated 24/7/365, but as we all know, 45% operation is a goal achievable by only a select few installations. Either the wind is too slow or ridiculously, too fast! There are obvious locations where winds in excess of 35 MPH are the norm, yet such operational speeds are “Beyond?” current technology? And Solar is even worse, with 10% to 20% efficiencies in daily operations currently the “Gold Standard” even in Desert Locations!

Roger Knights
Reply to  sz939
May 12, 2017 12:26 pm

It’s not just subsidies that support renewables; mandates to power suppliers to provide a certain percentage of renewable-derived power do the same, and hide the cause of the resulting cost increase from consumers.

May 12, 2017 9:18 am

Obama – done in by his own African brethren. Somehow, I don’t think we will hear sharp criticism about African energy plans from our most racially biased President since Abe Lincoln.

May 12, 2017 9:27 am

Here is a 2014 assessment of Chinese coal fired power stations by the International Energy Agency.
The final sentence reads:
China’s experiences showcase the benefits of improving coal-fired power plant efficiency for a global audience.

May 12, 2017 9:37 am

TenKSolar, a Minnesota solar panel company, announced yesterday that it was discontinuing operations. This after getting a $25 million investment from Goldman Sachs.

Reply to  TedL
May 12, 2017 1:58 pm

From Green Tech Media …
Sources: TenKsolar Winding Down Operations After a Series of Field Failures
TenKsolar, an American builder of integrated high-efficiency solar panels, is winding down its operations, according to sources close to the firm.

May 12, 2017 9:38 am

dummies think they can compete against chinese manufacturing. even without subsidies the chinese would kick their ass.

Reply to  Steven Mosher
May 12, 2017 3:29 pm

Any culture that can basically use slave labor will out compete you for a while.
Right up to the point where the slaves refuse to be slaves.

Brian R
May 12, 2017 9:40 am

It seems that all the solar panel companies that go out of business all blame Chinese exports. I’m left wondering if the Chinese exports are really the reason or if it’s just a convenient excuse. Much like the left blaming Russia for Clinton losing the election.

May 12, 2017 9:42 am

Bankruptcy is an essential pillar to capitalism. It liquidates assets of unprofitable companies and allows those funds to be invested in profitable enterprises.
The free-market is screaming at the top of its lungs that wind and solar are absolutely terrible investments, because their output commodity (electricity @ $0.30/kWh) is 5 TIMES more expensive than their completion (coal and natural gas) @ $0.06/kWh…
No business model can make that absurd reality profitable. Feckless government hacks try to subsidize wind and solar industries, but that’s just unsustainable political window dressing that doesn’t address the core issue of inherent uncompetitiveness…
All wind and solar subsidies must end immediately. Hopefully, Trump will eliminate all Federal wind and solar subsidies. If states want to waste taxpayer money these stupid wind/solar boondoggles, let them, but hopefully state subsidies will be too small to keep these unsustainable industries afloat, and they’ll eventually go bankrupt.
I’m sick of this irrational and detrimental political behavior. It’s severely hurting our economy.

Reply to  SAMURAI
May 12, 2017 11:19 am

5 TIMES more expensive than their completion (coal and natural gas) @ $0.06/kWh
actually the average US wholesale price of electricity is half that, around $0.03/kWh.
if conventional power plants cannot produce for less than this, they go out of business. there is no hope that renewables can compete at this price. thus, a carbon tax is required, to raise the production cost of conventional power plants, to price them out of the market.
when only renewables are left, they can charge whatever they want, and thus become profitable. however, by that time the economy will be in hyper-inflation from the crushing debt load incurred along the way.
quite simply, you cannot retire overnight the trillions of dollars in investments meant to last 60 years. The effect is no different that terrorists bombing all the US conventional power plants.

May 12, 2017 9:45 am

Globalization, Save the World, full steam ahead to the world’s biggest train wreck ever imagined brought to you by the Marx brothers. Not to worry though…. they have a plan to save us all if we’ll only pay heed to their exhortations.

Peta from Cumbria, now Newark
May 12, 2017 9:48 am

and what *did* happen to all the import tariff money they collected? Where are all the ‘protected’ jobs?
This whole fandango has done nothing but ramp up prices for almost everything in the RE world and what are folks left with?
I ask because I follow a renewable energy forum here in UK and they are always raving about solar panels that have gone wrong and need repair, but the installer/manufacturer is long long gone.
So they’re landed with something that any other installer won’t touch with a barge pole (because of the rules & conditions imposed on these installations) and is probably more toxic and expensive to remove than nuclear asbestos would be. And if their house ever caches fire, everyone will just stand and watch it burn for fear of getting an electric shock.
What A Total Mess

Tom in Florida
May 12, 2017 10:06 am

Griff, Griff, wherefore art thou Griff?

Reply to  Tom in Florida
May 12, 2017 11:17 am

speak not of the devil, lest he hear and approach

Joel Snider
Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 12:27 pm

Grift is probably working up some rationalization – or waiting for a press release that does it for him.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 2:23 pm

I was thinking more of Beetlejuice.

Michael C. Roberts
Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 2:39 pm

Nah – His mommy just called him up from the basement, to collect the garbage and recyclable wastes and ferry them to the curb for tomorrows’ pick-up!!!

May 12, 2017 10:19 am

I seem to remember one of the supposed benefits to countries/regions which became early adopters of alternative energy was that they would become leaders in those markets.

Reply to  aplanningengineer
May 12, 2017 2:36 pm

Loss leaders, it turns out.

May 12, 2017 10:55 am

The importance of this article on solar resides in the link added at the end of the article.
The link is:
National Geographic, 10 May 2017
Please click on the link to go to the National Geographic.
Scroll down to the video.
Listen to the video.
This woman in India knows a few things!

May 12, 2017 11:19 am

Poor Solarworld founder and CEO Frank Asbeck will probably keep his mansions – I am not familiar with German bankruptcy laws.
“The concert initiated by the former US Vice President Al Gore is an excellent opportunity to raise worldwide attention for the need of global climate protection.”, says Dipl.-Ing. Frank H. Asbeck, Chairman and CEO of SolarWorld AG.” Is there a delayed Gore effect?

Ron Williams
May 12, 2017 11:33 am

Well, it sure appears China is winning with their subsidized state control of solar panels globally. They are producing cheap product both for export and for local installation in their own country. The quality is a lot lower, with a life time efficiency of 10 -15 years or less. After 15 years, the output efficiency will be half of original name plate installation. Which is already low at 15%-20% for a new panel in a reasonable good solar siting. So at 10% of daily electron production capacity per solar watts/m2, how does anyone make money at that? You don’t, but the original company getting the contract pays themselves huge bonuses. And so on.
There will be huge opportunity in 5-10 years or sooner, on shorting the stocks of these companies who heavily exposed to solar electricity production, especially companies using Chinese product. It always amazes me that respectable companies will pay good money for garbage from China, the subsidy being the only thing of value. When subsidies scale back, this whole sector will slowly be strangled and eventually be bankrupt. I doubt there will be much an appetite for solar in year 4 of Trump unless each state pays.
Just watch the bankruptcies start on all the solar farms globally with the Chinese produced panels because when the electrical efficiency drops off, in most jurisdictions the subsidies will fall off too because subsidies are generally paid per Mw/hr of production. At least the German solar panels were a somewhat better product, albeit in an industry that is doomed to fail when they are not profitable without a subsidy.
China is still the net beneficiary of all this because they are the ones left standing in this market. Plus they don’t have to submit to any GHG reduction under the Paris Agreement and in fact get some of the Parisite subsidy from the 11 OCED countries that have to pay, the USA paying the largest part of that annual 100 Billion pork barrel. Plus China makes the investment in African coal generation, with the pay back being access to most of Africa’s resources. China wins again!
Obama’s failed policies will be felt for a long time, but I doubt he will leave much of a legacy. And it appears that Trump will soon be a lame duck president with USA re-litigating the election until the mid terms, at which time Trump will lose the Senate and probably Congress too. And then he is mortally wounded politically.
If you are going to do anything Donald, do it Now!

Reply to  Ron Williams
May 12, 2017 11:52 am

There’s almost no chance of Trump losing the Senate. Most of the seats up for re-election are Democrat. There are 7 Democrats running in traditionally Republican states, and no Republicans running Democrat states.

Ron Williams
Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 12:55 pm

We know from the past that, if anything, the generic ballot tends to move against the party in power in the year running up to the midterms. So just talking about the fundamentals, the environment may actually get a lot worse for Republicans especially if Trump/Republican poll numbers keep falling. All Donald has to do is waffle on the Parisite Agreement, and you will see a lot of Republicans not bothering to show up on election day. Still a lot of unknowns, but mid terms are always dicey for sitting parties, especially when they control both houses. Just look at history of such and you will probably find your answer there.

Reply to  Ron Williams
May 12, 2017 11:52 am

Where is the evident for lower panel lifetimes? I’d like to see that.

Ron Williams
Reply to  Resourceguy
May 12, 2017 12:29 pm
My Chinese made solar panels are reducing at at a rate of about 3%-4% per year. With some outright failure. Much higher than well manufactured PV, which has a tested rate of about .5% annual degradation. Of course, 1%-2% of nothin is still nothin… Talking Chinese Junk here.

Reply to  Resourceguy
May 12, 2017 2:28 pm

That’s more of a literature review from the past 40 years. I suppose there was a need for that but NREL can do better.

Reply to  Ron Williams
May 12, 2017 11:54 am

PS: You can’t relitigate an election in the US.
The Democrats may be screaming about impeaching Trump, but it will never happen. Just click bait for the myrmidons that infest left wing swamps.

Ron Williams
Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 12:40 pm

MarkW…all the noise you hear IS the re-litigation of the Nov/16 election. Democrats will never give up what they thought they had in the bag. And then the election was stolen from Hillary by the bloody FBI, for in part, which was why Trump just fired him. That will be his say so when push comes to shove. I know that makes no sense since Comey re-opening the Hillary investigation had more to do with the election timing (win) than anything else. The Deep State is now out for blood on Trump, and just watch the hyper leaks now. Probably see more of Donald’s tax returns with Russian investments with Trump International just for a start. You don’t think that the FBI has Trump’s tax returns, and they don’t like him? Just wait a few weeks…

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 2:30 pm

The taxpayers of selected states had to fork over money for recounts with no evidence for the need but for the symbolism of the losers calling for it. The same applies to litigation.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 6:31 pm

+1 And probably the reason he’ll be elected for a second term. Get use to it if you don’t think the average American hasn’t taken back control of the government.

Reply to  MarkW
May 13, 2017 9:45 am

“Get use to it if you don’t think the average American hasn’t taken back control of the government.”
It’s ludicrous to think that the average American has taken back control of their government. Trump’s so called reform of the ACA is nothing more than a tax cut for the wealthy, combined with kicking 14M Americans off their health care plan.

May 12, 2017 11:36 am

SolarWorld in Oregon….
circa 2013
SolarWorld was lured to Oregon in 2007 with promises of $100 million in state and local tax incentives.
“Our financials are stronger than almost any other company” in solar manufacturing, Santarris said. “Our technology is more advanced than other companies, and it’s becoming more advanced this year.”
“Probably they’re going to file for insolvency and look for a fire sale of some sort,” Toor said of SolarWorld’s managers. The fate of the Hillsboro plant, she said, depends who buys the business.

Reply to  Resourceguy
May 12, 2017 11:54 am

“Our financials are stronger than almost any other company”
Mighty low bar there.

Reply to  MarkW
May 12, 2017 12:01 pm

It’s the VW management style.

Pop Piasa
May 12, 2017 12:21 pm

More than 100 coal power plants are in various stages of planning or development in 11 African countries outside of South Africa — more than eight times the region’s existing coal capacity.”

…And with affordable power comes an opportunity for the third world to “trade up” to affluence and decreased birth rates (if the leaders don’t pervert it somehow).

May 12, 2017 3:24 pm

…D’OH !!

May 12, 2017 6:26 pm

Somehow, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory does not agree that coal power is the solution for Africa.
In “The Economic Case for Wind and Solar Energy in Africa” Berkeley Lab study finds that renewable energy could be a cost-effective option to meet Africa’s energy demands
From the news release:
“To meet skyrocketing demand for electricity, African countries may have to triple their energy output by 2030. While hydropower and fossil fuel power plants are favored approaches in some quarters, a new assessment by the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has found that wind and solar can be economically and environmentally competitive options and can contribute significantly to the rising demand.
“Wind and solar have historically been dismissed as too expensive and temporally variable, but one of our key findings is that there are plentiful wind and solar resources in Africa that are both low-impact and cost-effective,” said Ranjit Deshmukh, one of the lead researchers of the study. “Another important finding is that with strategic siting of the renewable energy resource and with more energy trade and grid interconnections between countries, the total system cost can be lower than it would be if countries were to develop their resource in isolation without strategic siting.
“The research appeared online this week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) in an article titled, “Strategic siting and regional grid interconnections key to low-carbon futures in African countries.” The lead authors are Deshmukh and Grace C. Wu, both Berkeley Lab researchers in the Energy Technologies Area.”

link to “Strategic Siting article:

Reply to  Roger Sowell
May 12, 2017 7:59 pm

LBL is hedging their position: “renewable energy could be a cost-effective option to meet Africa’s energy demands”. Could be. Should it not be, you can’t fault LBL. LBL is always right.

Reply to  Roger Sowell
May 13, 2017 8:59 am

They’re feeding you drivel Roger unless you believe the continent of Africa is different to Australia wind wise-
Their oft quoted average output of 30% hides a multitude of sins as blind freddy can see from that graph. Wind like solar simply engages in a pure form of State subsidised and mandated dumping relying on thermal generators to insure them and not paying thermals their just insurance premia.
Power is an essential service and can you imagine your political overlords proudly announcing they have privatised the fire brigade and accepted an amazingly competitive tender on our behalf. Just that the fine print states the fireys won’t be in attendance at night or when there’s no wind or it’s blowing too hard.

Reply to  observa
May 13, 2017 10:14 am

Observa, perhaps the California renewable experience is just a mirage, then. Electricity prices have decreased since the march toward wind and solar began. Grid reliability is as high as it has ever been. Solar production at grid-scale in CA reaches almost 40 percent of instantaneous load, and almost 8 percent on an annual basis. Wind output in CA is approximately one-half that of solar.
It’s not a matter of the technology being mature, the grid being able to handle it, it’s simply a matter of will.
Africa’s political problems are responsible for the lack of electricity over the past many decades. Everyone knew how to make power from coal, or oil, or natural gas, or even nuclear. The proof is in the more than 100 countries world-wide that do have stable, reliable, affordable grid power.
Study up on California, Texas, Iowa, Kansas, and other states with substantial wind and solar resources that are already installed and operating safely, reliably, and economically. .

Reply to  observa
May 13, 2017 8:04 pm

“Observa, perhaps the California renewable experience is just a mirage, then.”
So you’re telling me California’s wind and solar isn’t being dumped on its grid system and local or interstate thermals aren’t picking up their insurance tab at present? I don’t know California’s power situation but I’ll bet London to a brick California is just like my State of South Australia if you’ve got significant unreliables and that means bludging off interconnectors to reliable thermal generators elsewhere.

Reply to  observa
May 13, 2017 8:25 pm

“So you’re telling me California’s wind and solar isn’t being dumped on its grid system and local or interstate thermals aren’t picking up their insurance tab at present?” 25% of California’s power comes from out of state. Mainly large hydro. About 15% supposedly comes from photo voltaic and wind but you can’t get an honest answer. About 1/2 from gas.

Reply to  observa
May 13, 2017 9:03 pm

And that’s the point markl. These unreliables are always tacked on to reliable thermal (or existing hydro in this case) and never have to start out from scratch paying their true cost including storage to make them fit for purpose. That’s where South Australia is about to show the world the truth behind all this false advertising and obfuscation.
Sure I can go free camping in my Jayco wind-up with an extra battery and solar panel that runs a few LED lights a sink pump and a few digital electronics and the 3 way fridge runs off the car alternator while I’m driving but at 10.4 Amps draw it runs on portable LPG if I’m not plugged into 240V AC or to carry a generator. After 3 or 4 days of boiling the kettle and sponge baths, etc we’re looking for pumped hot and cold running water and 240V generally. These pampered pooch inner city urban elites ought to get out and about a bit more.

Reply to  observa
May 14, 2017 7:15 am

Who says you can’t get an honest answer? CA has a Renewable Portfolio Standard, RPS, that requires accounting for and annual reporting of all eligible renewable power generation plus imports from out of state. Note that large hydroelectric power plants are not included in the RPS calculations.
and follow the various links available there.
It is also a fact that the CA grid is stable, and reliable with these amounts of wind and solar power. Furthermore, electricity prices have not increased, in fact, our power prices barely keep up with inflation.

Reply to  Roger Sowell
May 14, 2017 8:58 am

BS. Different California and outside agencies report different numbers. Wind and solar numbers are pulled from where the sun don’t shine and when you try to pin them down obfuscation sets in. What is produced and what is actually used don’t match. Roof top solar is touted yet they are unable to account for it on the grid. Renewable nameplate and actual device outputs are conflated and never reconciled to the public. Electricity prices haven’t gone up much because CA taxes businesses for ‘carbon’ and gives the proceeds to the people and falsely claims they are ‘rebates’ for clean energy. California’s environmental actions to clean the air have been successful and they are trying to hitchhike on those efforts to “protect the world from climate Armageddon”. They sent a larger contingency to the Paris talks than most countries for nothing more than propaganda about their climate virtue. California is an environmentalist’s dream with other peoples’ and businesses’ (for now) unlimited resources to pull from. You’re drinking the Kool Aid.

Reply to  observa
May 14, 2017 7:27 am

Further to the California renewable energy program, its progress and impacts:
Status of RPS Procurement (note, IOU is Investor Owned Utilities)
 The RPS procurement target for 2015 is 23.3% of retail sales. On September 1, 2016 the large
IOUs forecasted that they collectively served 27.6% of their retail electric load with RPS- eligible generation during 2015, exceeding the 2015 RPS procurement target.
 The second RPS compliance period (2014–2016) procurement requirement is approximately
23.3% of retail sales.4 The IOUs procured approximately 26% of retail sales in 2014, and
anticipate procuring approximately 28% in 2015 and 31% across the three years of the
second compliance period.
 Since 2003, 15,565 MW of renewable capacity achieved commercial operation under the
RPS program. In 2016, 2,973 MW of renewable capacity has reached commercial operation. An additional 1,045 MW of renewable capacity is forecasted to achieve commercial
operation in 2017. — taken from 4Q 2016 RPS report.
And it must be noted that even with 15,565 MW of renewable capacity installed and operating since 2003, CA grid reliability is not reduced, and consumer prices have not increased.
The proof is there for all to see. Renewables work, they don’t compromise reliability, and they do not increase prices.

Reply to  observa
May 15, 2017 8:36 am

You must have different wind in California compared to Australia Roger-
and from that and the loss of thermal reserve I predict rolling blackouts in South Australia over the next 12 months as we are known as the driest State in the driest continent and so much for any salvation from hydro.
You cannot run a modern economy on wind power that varies from virtually zero to 65% of its installed capacity. We desperately need lemon laws and prosecutions for false and misleading advertising for peddling this rubbish.

Reply to  Roger Sowell
May 13, 2017 9:05 am

Not to worry 911 skeleton staff will be on hand on cloudy wet days to take your details and pass them on when the fireys get back 😉

May 12, 2017 11:27 pm

Icarus Inc.

Gareth Phillips
May 13, 2017 12:22 am

This is as much about Chinese economic strategy as the use of solar power. Mr.Trump has just set up an agreement with China which allows US producers to sell beef in that country. The Chinese in return can sell other types of meat to the US such as processed meat and chicken.
Who do you think will benefit? I’ll give you a clue, it won’t be US meat producers.
China due to it’s far right political system which strictly controls production and work rights will always produce goods such as solar panels much more cheaply than can we in the West. Large economies like the US and EU can sometimes challenge such practises, but not smaller isolated countries.
Take note Mrs. May.

May 13, 2017 9:20 am

Well if a bunch of watermelon crony capitalists are into dumping big time with electricity why on earth wouldn’t a commune of Maoists figure they should get in on the act too?

Retired Kit P
May 13, 2017 9:42 am

@ Samaual C
“or lack of oxygen, ….. in the water, …… which prevented most all microbial decaying processes”
Please tell me you only have a high school education. Before earth had an oxygen atmosphere, there was anaerobic bacteria. Decaying biomass is broken down so that plants can use the mineral to make protein. Also produced is nitrogen gas (N2), nitrous oxide, and methane.
While CAGW focuses on the carbon cycle, equal attention should be paid to the nitrogen cycle. Renewable energy from biomass makes a lot more sense than wind and solar.

Retired Kit P
May 13, 2017 10:06 am

“So the troll believes government subsidies are just “long term investing”.”
Yes, MarkW we do. Some examples would be Hoover Dam, Grand Coulee, TVA, BPA, US Corp of Engineers, and initial prototype nuclear plants.
Should I go on? Okay then wood waste plants from the 70s. Turned out to be a good investment for making electricity and improve air quality.
I can also point out government investments that poorly thought out if not out right disasters. Teton Dam comes to mind.
As a liberal Republican, I have no problem with government promoting things. When 30 years later, subsidized projects are tax paying part of society, they become conservative ideas. We then get labeled neocons by ‘jump off the cliff’ liberials.
I am betting anti-government types like MarkW have ever attended a public for the purpose of commenting or read a piece of legislation.

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