In the 1970s a thriving and rapidly expanding U.S. solar water heating market was destroyed by tax credits and the promise of utility company incentives. The manufacturers and entrepreneurs who had built the industry without artificial incentives were instantly overrun by over-funded companies that were selling the incentives rather than the products that capture free energy and convert it into useful heat or work. Since the dawn of the tax credits for solar energy that sprung up in response to a completely unrelated and rigged oil embargo of the ’70s, solar energy has carried the perception that it is not viable without some form of assistance.
It’s happening now in the PV industry. Government incentives have created a vacuum that China has happily filled over the brim with its capitalism killing build for a loss then takeover the world strategy. Headlines today from the Renewable Energy News at RenewableEnergyWorld.com are disturbing evidence of this industry-murder-in-progress:
- Political Reality and the Way Forward for Renewable Energy:Political heavyweights know this about their rough-and-tumble game – you project victory long before the results are in. And when you think you’ve won, you never give your opponent an opening.
- Asia Report: India Slashes Wind Incentive: India has drastically scaled back tax incentives for wind generation in a move that many fear will halt new wind energy investment while derailing the manufacturing base that has grown up to support that growth
- Solar Struggles Continue: Q-Cell to File for Bankruptcy: Germany’s Q-Cells, a solar industry giant that helped usher in a new era of solar energy, announced Monday that it will file for bankruptcy, but that it will continue to work to restructure. Since August of last year, several solar companies, including Solon, Solar Millennium, Solyndra, Evergreen Solar and SpectraWatt, have filed for bankruptcy. On Monday, Solar Trust of America, the developer for the 1,000-MW Blythe project, also filed for Chapter 11.
- Solar Supporter: Clinton to Give Keynote at SPI: This is the year of politics, so who better to speak at America’s largest solar show than perhaps the most skilled politician around
The governments are killing the organic growth of the industry by creating barren hybrid organizations that are dependent on artificial and unnatural nourishment to survive. These hybrids almost never survive unassisted in the wild. Hybrids are greedy, beautiful on the outside, but empty on the inside.
If you want a great solar water heating system, and you want to build one yourself without government or utility assistance, the geyser pump is a good start: copper pipe, copper fins, black paint, aluminum box frames, glass, water, methanol, two refrigeration quality schraeder valves, and the ability to silver-braze the components together. We built the first dozen prototypes in a back yard with primitive tools. Anyone can do this with a little assistance in sizing the pipes and positioning the components. The intent of this Website is to provide that little bit of assistance required for anyone to convert excess solar energy to hot water.