Socialist France making moves to keep the solar dream alive

posted at 1:01 pm on January 12, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

France’s government may be having difficulties on agreeing how to pay for, or at least appearing to pay for, their expensive and unsustainable socialist state, but never fear, greenies — unaffordable ‘renewable energy’ standards and subsidies will absolutely not fall prey to the awful specter of financial reality. European demand in general is falling off in the face of everyone’s persistent fiscal woes, but France is prioritizing with some emergency measures to bail out their sickly solar business:

France has doubled its capacity target for photovoltaic power generation and offered more financial support to small solar power farms that use European-made panels in a bid to rescue the country’s ailing solar industry. …

The government estimated the annual cost at between 90 and 170 million euros, to be levied on consumers through the existing CSPE tax on power bills. …

France is slowly embracing heavily-subsidized renewable energy, such as wind and sun power, which accounts for 13 percent of energy consumption, well below the 23 percent target set by former President Nicolas Sarkozy for 2020. …

France is also trying to reduce its reliance on foreign-made solar panels, after cheap Chinese modules flooded the French market, prompting cries of unfair competition and creating a 1.35 billion euro trade deficit for the sector in 2011. …

I have no doubt that solar energy does indeed have a legitimate place in the global economy, but why do all of these oh-so-enlightened redistributionist governments (very much including our own) seem so bound and determined to prevent us from figuring out what that place might be? The relentless market-signal distortion is hardly a way to encourage price efficiency and productive competition, and slapping all of these taxpayer-funded band-aids on the industry is hardly doing solar energy any long-term favors.

One of President Obama’s justifications for providing subsidies, standards, and tariffs that ‘help’ our own solar energy industry is that China ‘unfairly’ subsidizes their solar outfit, meaning that we have to accordingly subsidize our industry just to keep up. …If everybody was jumping off of a bridge, would you do it, too? China is all too aptly demonstrating precisely why it is not a good idea to fiddle with incentives and pump so much public money into a politically-favored industry, but the governments of the world just can’t seem to stop themselves from rushing to double down on stupid.

Today, the solar industry worldwide is suffering from oversupply, weak demand, and depressed prices, and many of China’s solar manufacturers are fighting huge financial losses, debt, and bankruptcy. …

Yet China has also saturated the solar industry with overcapacity. A recent solar market research report released by GTM Research and the Solar Energy Association reveals that global solar manufacturing capacity stands at 70 gigawatts, even though only an estimated 31 gigawatts are needed. China is responsible for much of the glut, and as another GTM report cited by the New York Times indicates, Chinese companies alone had the ability to manufacture 50 gigawatts of solar panels last year. …

In addition, polysilicon, the essential raw material for photovoltaic cell and module products, went from severe shortage to growth in worldwide manufacturing capacity beginning in 2010. As polysilicon became more abundant, the prices of solar products dropped, causing the profit margins of solar companies, including Chinese ones, to plummet.


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There is a delusion on the left. A misplaced belief that they are ‘progressive’. In spite of all evidence to the contrary.

pat on January 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Who cares if it fails, as long as the leftist elite has something to brag about on the dinner party circuit?

Sharke on January 12, 2013 at 1:06 PM

Epic photo. Talk about “capturing the twit” in a person.

I’m all for following France’s lead on nuclear energy. Why is that never part of the conversation?

John the Libertarian on January 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

Meanwhile Erika never complains about all the other tariffs, subsidies, tax breaks that other industries get wholesale without even having to ask Washington. Telling.

mythicknight on January 12, 2013 at 1:13 PM

Meanwhile Erika never complains about all the other tariffs, subsidies, tax breaks that other industries get wholesale without even having to ask Washington. Telling.

mythicknight on January 12, 2013 at 1:13 PM

[eyeroll]

Blake on January 12, 2013 at 1:18 PM

I have no doubt that solar energy does indeed have a legitimate place in the global economy

Solar would be an asterisks in worldwide energy consumption in a sane world. Maybe someday it’ll make more sense, but for now, unless you live in a remote cabin 50 miles from anyone, solar is a huge waste of money.

Timin203 on January 12, 2013 at 1:20 PM

It should be call prophylactic energy, seeing as how it’s designed to prevent people from getting energy.

Flange on January 12, 2013 at 1:20 PM

1) That picture of a Frog is kind of creeping me out.

2) Where’s the Football thread?

trigon on January 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

the world just can’t seem to stop themselves from rushing to double down on stupid.

Yep. That’s why I trust these folks to handle my affairs for me. Of course its also why I treasure the second amendment so.

Bmore on January 12, 2013 at 1:27 PM

Let the French squander their wealth on this boondoggle.

If we’re to emulate the French, let it be with nuclear energy, not this solar nonsense.

Rebar on January 12, 2013 at 1:28 PM

2) Where’s the Football thread?

trigon on January 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

The Steeler’s got beaten like a rented mule and are out of the play-off’s, Ed just can’t bring himself to post a football thread now… ( insert evil laughter here… )

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 1:32 PM

Go Pack!!!

Bmore on January 12, 2013 at 1:39 PM

France is also trying to reduce its reliance on foreign-made solar panels, after cheap Chinese modules flooded the French market

There’s a number of Chinese citizens who like that idea too:

Riot police broke up a four-day protest by several hundred villagers in Haining, Zhejiang province, who overturned cars and stormed the compound of a photovoltaic manufacturer that is accused of releasing toxins into a local river…

Although solar is seen as clean energy in terms of carbon emissions, the production of many components is energy intensive and polluting. Toxic discharges from the factory killed large numbers of fish and regulators have previously ordered the company to suspend operations, according to the domestic media.

RadClown on January 12, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Ooo, zees French, zey is zooo how you say, stupeed? Yes, stupeed.

First zey promise everybody everything under zee sun…then when zey cannot pay for eet all, zey make bigger taxes on those who have money…zen, when zees peeples go away…who is left to pay for eet all?

When it comes time to pay the Piper…seems too often that we forget how expensive that damn little piper was going to be after all.

Cash up front…might work better than “I will gladly pay you Tuesday Mardi (or ees it merdi?) for a hamburger pate de fois gras today.”

Face it…if the French cannot make socialism work in France…and they’ve had a couple hundred years of trying it out…where can it work?

Yep.

You guessed Right.

Certainly not here.

coldwarrior on January 12, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Face it…if the French cannot make socialism work in France…and they’ve had a couple hundred years of trying it out…where can it work?

Yep.

You guessed Right.

Certainly not here.

coldwarrior on January 12, 2013 at 1:47 PM

Socialism, which by the way is just a fancy pretty name for Marxism only works in hell. Which oddly enough is exactly what it turns every nation that attempts to implement it into.

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 1:52 PM

Where’s the Football thread?

trigon on January 12, 2013 at 1:22 PM

Withe the Jets and the Steelers out golfing the HA folks don’t have a dog in the hunt.

philw1776 on January 12, 2013 at 1:59 PM

The progressives simply need a mandate, hell, have Obama issue an EO, that mandates that 50% of all energy sources be from perpetual motion.

Problem solved.

wildcat72 on January 12, 2013 at 2:11 PM

France is also trying to reduce its reliance on foreign-made solar panels, after cheap Chinese modules flooded the French market, prompting cries of unfair competition and creating a 1.35 billion euro trade deficit for the sector in 2011. …

That worked so well for them with their auto industry, it’s easy to see why they are trying to do the same kind of protectionism on their solar industry. Just don’t expect those French solar arrays to actually produce any electricity for any amount of time without heavy maintenance.

/French cars, they make British cars look positively maintenance free

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 3:14 PM

Idiots. France’s energy, quite reliant on nuclear power, is one of the few things they’ve got going for them.

alflauren on January 12, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Sooner, rather than later, reality is going to step up and slap France right in the face. And the schadenfreude will be great!

RoadRunner on January 12, 2013 at 3:49 PM

I remember, as a kid, roasting ants with a magnifying glass.
Karma

dirtengineer on January 12, 2013 at 4:19 PM

…If everybody was jumping off of a bridge, would you do it, too?

…seems to 50% or so of the people in this country…it’s becoming a sport!

KOOLAID2 on January 12, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Meanwhile Erika never complains about all the other tariffs, subsidies, tax breaks that other industries get wholesale without even having to ask Washington. Telling.

mythicknighthead on January 12, 2013 at 1:13 PM

KOOLAID2 on January 12, 2013 at 4:40 PM

/French cars, they make British cars look positively maintenance free

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 3:14 PM

ROTFLMAO… And if you have ever owned anything made by The British Motor Corporation Limited/British Leyland you know what an amazing feat that was to pull off… ;p

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

France is also trying to reduce its reliance on foreign-made solar panels, after cheap Chinese modules flooded the French market, prompting cries of unfair competition and creating a 1.35 billion euro trade deficit for the sector in 2011. …

Owned a 1988 Sterling. It spent as much time in the shop as on the road. There was always at least one thing wrong with that car; get that fixed and a few days or weeks later something else would break. The Acura parts (power train) was reliable. The Austin Rover and Lucas parts, not so much.

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Epic photo. Talk about “capturing the twit” in a person.

I’m all for following France’s lead on nuclear energy. Why is that never part of the conversation?

John the Libertarian on January 12, 2013 at 1:07 PM

That expression says he just pulled an “al roker at the white house” in his pants after being briefed on what crap solar is.

msupertas on January 12, 2013 at 5:00 PM

France is also trying to reduce its reliance on foreign-made solar panels, after cheap Chinese modules flooded the French market, prompting cries of unfair competition and creating a 1.35 billion euro trade deficit for the sector in 2011. …

Owned a 1988 Sterling. It spent as much time in the shop as on the road. There was always at least one thing wrong with that car; get that fixed and a few days or weeks later something else would break. The Acura parts (power train) was reliable. The Austin Rover and Lucas parts, not so much.

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Meh… Back in 1978 I owned a MG 1100, my first car. I had to work on it every time I went anywhere in it. But it was a damned fun car just the same. ;)

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 5:02 PM

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 4:57 PM

Meh… Back in 1978 I owned a MG 1100, my first car. I had to work on it every time I went anywhere in it. But it was a damned fun car just the same. ;)

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 5:02 PM

ROTFLMAO… I should also point out that in 1978 I was 17, bought the car myself and gasoline was pretty damned cheap (I think it was around $.35 a gallon). And to top it all off… I lived in San Diego California… :)

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 5:12 PM

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Was supposed to be in response to this:

ROTFLMAO… And if you have ever owned anything made by The British Motor Corporation Limited/British Leyland you know what an amazing feat that was to pull off… ;p

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 5:15 PM

If someone really wants to prove the concept of this nonsense, how about trying it somewhere in the tropical zone where there is maximum sunlight?

The Progressives(?).

Back to the future: In 1912 one could purchase a car powered by steam, batteries or gasoline. In 1922, gas only. Why?

Photos from the ’20s and ’30s show farms with windmills to pump water, the ’50s, gone. Why?

Around 1910, one could take a trolley(light rail)from Boston to points in Ohio. NO longer. Why?

In the ’30s we had “high speed rail” (for the time), ’60s gone. Why?

Because all these technologies have proven to be uneconomical and inconvenient in the long run.

With access to the public treasure the dreamers insist we go back to future.

FOWG1 on January 12, 2013 at 5:19 PM

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

Was supposed to be in response to this:

ROTFLMAO… And if you have ever owned anything made by The British Motor Corporation Limited/British Leyland you know what an amazing feat that was to pull off… ;p

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 4:42 PM

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 5:15 PM

Yea, that’s what I thought… ;)

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 5:19 PM

SWalker on January 12, 2013 at 5:12 PM

The sterling was a fun car to drive but was just a maintenance nightmare. I was older than 17 and needed something more reliable.

AZfederalist on January 12, 2013 at 5:35 PM

The only thing that matters about solar photovoltaic is that it takes more energy to build a solar panel than you will get out of it in a normal service life.

To build a solar panel, you basically have to melt rock (silicon), and that takes a lot of energy. Until that problem is solved, solar panels only waste energy. They work great for satellites, though.

Solar subsidy money is a total waste. It should be diverted to research to improve the technology.

ZenDraken on January 13, 2013 at 12:10 AM