Time For Solar Power To Stand On Its Own


Date: Oct. 22, 2009
Location: Washington D.C.

I thank the gentlewoman from North Carolina for yielding me this time.

Mr. Speaker, I rise in opposition to this rule and to the underlying multibillion-dollar waste that the rule brings to the floor.

Later today, I am sure the House will approve overwhelmingly this very wasteful $2.2 billion subsidy for the solar power industry and for the solar bureaucracy, but we should be remembering that our national debt will soon pass $12 trillion in just a few days. Solar energy has received massive subsidies, with very little progress, ever since the Carter administration. In fact, it has turned into little more than a jobs boondoggle for bureaucrats. As the gentleman from California just showed us in a story from the Wall Street Journal, in 1978, there was a claim that solar energy - by the year 2000 - would make up 20 percent of our energy needs.

After all of this time and after all of this money, however, solar energy makes up far less than 1 percent of the total of U.S. energy. In fact, it is just 1 percent of the 7 percent that renewable energy provides this country. That is such a small figure that I can't even figure out exactly what 1 percent of 7 percent is. It's hard to get that small. The Department of Energy has received at least $1.2 billion for this research just since fiscal 2000, not counting what other departments and agencies have spent on this.

I am not against solar energy in any way, but it is way past time for this industry to stand on its own. The demand for solar energy will go up much faster if the industry is weaned off of Federal money and if it is forced to put out a better, more efficient and less expensive product. This is called free enterprise. Some people may have heard of it. The taxpayers simply cannot afford to keep funding a very wasteful program just because it is politically correct or fashionable to do so. This is a multibillion-dollar waste, and it should be defeated.

As someone told me last week, it is easy to run as Santa Claus, but it is almost impossible to run against Santa Claus.

I urge the defeat of this legislation.