Planet Gore

Solar Panels are a Ronald Reagan Trifecta

Remember Reagan’s great quote about the economic-policy habits of Democrats? “If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.”

Well, this CNBC piece on the fees and regulations heaped onto subsidized solar panels made me think of the Gipper:

Government Catch-22 Clouds Consumer Adoption of Solar Roofs

As the federal government pushes to make solar energy cost competitive with coal, local governments are undercutting the effort by imposing high fees and red tape on business and consumers.

“Consider thousands of local processes, fees and timelines,” says Rob Cahill, manager of business development for solar financier SunRun, pointing out that installing solar panels is still treated by city authorities like a complex home renovation. “It’s not surprising that a significant amount of (solar’s cost) is embedded in a local regulatory morass,” he says.

Cahill authored a recent report for his firm showing local government fees and processing can add an average of $2,516 to a residential rooftop solar installation—about 33 percent of what the homeowner would spend on solar panels.

These so-called soft costs are not only expensive for the industry, says Matthew Feinstein, solar research analyst at Lux Research. but hurt US competitiveness.

“Soft costs in Germany are half that in the US, it’s incredible,” he says.

I can almost here him saying, “There they go again.” The rest here.

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