Must Read: The solar energy subsidy is complicated and hidden

July 1, 2019

Disentangling the Renewable Energy Scam

By Norman Rogers

The solar energy industry is telling its pals in Congress that it is willing the lose most of its subsidies. The current subsidy for solar is 30% of the construction cost. To that subsidy, an additional 10% subsidy is available due to special fast depreciation for solar energy plants. The 30% subsidy is scheduled to ramp down to 10% by 2022 and thereafter remain at 10%. This is not a consequence of declining costs of solar that makes the industry no longer in need of such a large subsidy. Solar electricity is a mature industry, and cost declines are moderate. The real reason the solar people are happy with a lower subsidy is that the 30% investment tax credit (ITC) is not their most important subsidy. The real subsidy is more complicated and better hidden.

The real subsidy is rooted in renewable portfolio requirements in about 30 states. These states require that a certain percentage of electricity come from renewable sources. The quota ramps over time. For example it might ramp from 20% now to 50% by 2030. These quotas create a chain of events that guarantee solar and wind energy a market for years to come with a guaranteed profit. If that is not enough, the industry is trying to freeze the quotas into state constitutions so as to make it difficult for the electricity consumers to get out of the trap that has been set for them.

Renewable energy has been defined in an illogical way so as to favor solar and wind. The ostensible motive for increasing renewable energy is to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and thus avoid a supposed global warming catastrophe. But hydro and nuclear are prohibited from being used to meet the renewable energy quota, even though they don't emit CO2.

Electricity is responsible for 28% of U.S. CO2 emissions. The rest is from transportation, heating, and industrial processes. Yet the emphasis on reducing CO2 is focused on the electricity sector. The U.S. is responsible for 14% of world CO2 emissions, and our electricity generation creates less than 4% of world emissions. All the effort being put into U.S. renewable electricity will have no important effect on global warming, assuming that global warming is even real. The real source of CO2 emissions is China and India among others.

I will explain how renewable energy quotas subsidize solar. The argument for wind is similar but different in various details. To see how big the subsidy is, I will compare an imaginary, unsubsidized solar electricity business with the existing situation, propped up by subsidies and quotas.

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Comment by Willem Post on July 3, 2019 at 10:49am

Comments on Below Table


Indirect subsidies: Due to loan interest deduction and accelerated depreciation deductions.

Direct subsidies: Due to up front grants, waiving of state sales taxes, and/or local property (municipal and school) taxes. See URL.


An owner of ridgeline wind would have to sell his output at 18.8 c/kWh, if the owner were not getting the benefits of cost shifting and upfront cash grants and subsidies.

That owner could sell his output at 16.4 c/kWh, if his costs were reduced due to cost shifting.

He could sell his output at 9 c/kWh, if on top of the cost shifting he also received various subsidies. The same rationale holds for solar. See table.


In US areas with better sun and wind conditions than New England, those prices would be less.


Wind/Solar Electricity Cost

NE Wind

NE Solar





Owner price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

No cost shifting



Less cost shifting benefits



Owner price to utility

No direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting



Less subsidy benefits, wind

45% of 16.4


Less subsidy benefits solar

45% of 21.4


Owner price to utility*

With direct/indirect subsidies

With cost shifting



* Owner prices to utility are based on recent 20-year electricity supply contracts with NE utilities.

Comment by Frank J. Heller, MPA on July 1, 2019 at 11:44am

Market factors at work.  Clarkson report indicates a generating capacity 'glut' and the impact of mandated use of intermittent renewable energy resources are affecting the cost to the consumer. 

Natural gas vehicle use is increasing while electric vehicle purchases have slowed down, i.e. TESLA, etc. 

Hannah Pingree on the Maine expedited wind law

Hannah Pingree - Director of Maine's Office of Innovation and the Future

"Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine."


Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power


Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT


(excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010 Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?" Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.”

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