Cost of solar energy dropped 30% in year; Trump's coal plan won't work

What will happen to Trump's promise to revive the coal industry as the price of solar energy continues to drop?

From Computerworld:

"Not only did solar create almost 2% of all new U.S. jobs last year, those hires were concentrated in the states where solar is booming primarily because of market-friendly policies," said Amit Ronen, director of the George Washington University's Solar Institute.

Trump has also threatened to pull U.S. support for the Paris Agreement, which last year saw voluntary pledges by 195 nations to lower CO2 emissions. But the impact of such a move would be negligible at best in helping the coal industry, analysts said.

"Even if he did all those things..., which would require legislative hurdles, the economics still favor gas more as an energy generation source," said Colleen Kennedy, an oil and energy analyst with at Lux Research. "The economics just don't work out in favor of coal."

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  1. It's both better and worse than that, sorry.

    First of all, the manufacture of solar panels is not necessarily especially messy or toxic. It certainly can be, though - so check the solar score card before you buy yours.

    Second, perhaps due to anti-Chinese foreign policies of a certain major western power bloc that we won't go into, the Chinese are heavily investing in* solar panel production. This means that panels sold worldwide are under extreme downward price pressure from Chinese mass production. Which means that unsubsidized domestic production is getting killed everywhere else, automation for efficiency is driving workers off the assembly lines, and production methods that are cheaper are more attractive than production methods that are cleaner.

    The good thing is that most modern solar panels will keep producing power for well over 50 years, so over the energy producing lifetime of a panel even the ones that were produced in a relatively undesirable way are still far better, both ethically and practically, than burning fuel.

    * or subsidizing, if you want to put it that way.

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