The government should terminate special billion-dollar tax credits and subsidies for solar energy programs because they are too costly and have failed to build the solar energy industry as promised, according to a new watchdog report.
Citizens Against Government Waste laid out its case in a new report released this week titled “The Sun Should Set on Solar Socialism.”
“Publications and public remarks by renewable energy industry proponents are replete with allusions to the ITC (investment tax credit) as essential for these energy sources to vie effectively with fossil fuels, create jobs and provide a fantastic return on investment,” the report stated. Basically, “the tax credits
are all things to all people.”
But the reality, the report claims, is that solar energy only accounts for 1 percent of the country’s electricity generation. On top of that, there isn’t a lot of credible information to support that future solar technologies will suffer without subsidies.
Tax expenditures through subsides have cost $13.7 billion from 2004-1025.
Energy subsidies have been in place since the 1970s but they didn’t take off until Congress passed the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The legislation significantly changed the country’s energy policies by creating commercial and residential tax incentives and loan guarantees for several types of energy production.
The report concludes that not only have efforts to subsidize solar failed to lower costs, it has instead led to massive waste, fraud and mismanagement.
“Perhaps these results were inevitable when the government created a new, lucrative program and provided little accountability,” the report said.
A 2012 Government Accountability Office report found overlap in more than 50 different federally-funded and managed initiatives involving solar energy.
Taxpayers felt the sting after solar-panel manufacturer Solyndra got a $535 million loan guarantee from the Department on Energy in 2010 only to go bust the following year. A 2015 Department of Energy IG report revealed the company had repeatedly lied to the feds, including inflating the value of corporate contracts and
sales to score the giant loan guarantee in 2009.