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Energy: Research and news about Energy

How to Succeed in Solar Energy: Grab Government Giveaways

Mar 4, 2014 10:50 AM PT

Time and time again, the free market has spoken on alternative energy companies.  Yet, we keep hearing about booming companies like SolarCity.  Watchdog.org (via FoxNews.com) knows the secret to their success:

The company's stock, initially offered at $8 a share in December 2012, is trading around $82 a share early Monday. And in a shareholder's meeting last week, company officials said they're bullish on the company's future. 

Buried in SolarCity documents is the secret to that success. Musk, the billionaire who founded PayPal and is chief executive officer and product architect of electric carmaker Tesla, has built SolarCity on government giveaways -- subsidies that will decrease substantially in the next two years. 

"If, for any reason, we are unable to finance solar energy systems through tax-advantaged structures ... we may no longer be able to provide solar energy systems to new customers on an economically viable basis," SolarCity's third quarter 2013 reportsaid. "

This would have a material adverse effect on our business, financial condition and results of operations." That makes SolarCity no different from countless other companies that have leveraged taxpayer cash for private profit -- all part of President Barack Obama's goal of a green-energy future.

Another Taxpayer-Funded Solar Energy Boondoggle

Feb 26, 2014 8:27 AM PT

One of the recurring themes in the Leftist playbook is using government regulations and handouts to pick and choose winners in business.  The latest solar energy boondoggle is SolarCity.  Watchdog.org highlights one customer's horror story in dealing with SolarCity:

[I]n 2012, Jeff Leeds, who lives in the Northern California town of Half Moon Bay, listened. His 3,100-square-foot home features 91 incandescent bucket lights, a 180-gallon fish tank, three large refrigerator-freezers and a huge entertainment system. His electric bill was averaging $350 per month.

The sales pitch Leeds was hearing on the phone sounded ideal: Lease a system from SolarCity, the nation’s second-largest solar electrical contractor, for a low monthly fee and reap the rewards of cheap electricity.

“For a $600 fee up front, I would pay $182 a month for the next 20 years,” Leeds said. “They have a performance guarantee. If I don’t make enough electricity, they said, ‘No problem, don’t worry, we will write you a check.’ I thought, ‘I’m covered.’”

Tacked on to that would be what the company called a small bill from the local utility company allowing the customer to use the grid and to cover the use of any electricity Leeds drew from the utility rather than from his SolarCity solar panels.

Now, 15 months later, the local utility company has raised its rates and instead of a lower bill, Leeds is pushing $500 a month with no way out for the next two decades. And he has the eyesore of solar panels that cover most of his roof.

“As a customer, you have no say,” Leeds said. “With a solar lease, you are putting the stuff on your roof. You have a signed contract with the devil and you are stuck with the stuff.”

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Life in the Shadow of Germany's Green Energy Revolution

Sep 2, 2013 10:30 AM PT

German investment in small scale green energy has led to significant increases in residential electricity prices, but there are other downsides to the green energy boom.

As this clip suggests, living beneath a wind farm is not for everyone. But once the towering turbines go up, good luck selling your home. It seems most people in Germany don't want to live in the shadow of the green energy revolution.

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Gasland Director Changes His Story On Air

Aug 15, 2013 9:50 AM PT

Josh Fox is the creator of the film Gasland and the person behind the celebrity bus tours of small Pennsylvania towns supposedly harmed by fracking. Ever since the release of Fracknation, a film critical of anti-fracking efforts in general and Fox in particular, Fox has avoided responding to criticism by claiming he has not seen Fracknation. [Full disclosure: I donated $25 to the film's production.]

But this week something unexpected happened when a public radio station in Aspen asked Fox directly about a scene in the film. First Fox became agitated and attacked the film, then he changed his story about his involvement in a land lease (to another lie it turns out), then he admitted he knew the scene in question. Finally, Fox begged the interviewer to go "off the record."

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German Solar Subsidies to End

Jul 10, 2013 12:54 PM PT

Germany's environmental minister has announced that subsidies for solar power, which have created a boom in the past three years, will end no later than 2018.

The German Energiewende or energy revolution has been based on significant government subsidies. This subsidy, which is known as the feed in tariff, guarantees the grid will purchase energy from small renewable producers at a guaranteed rate and also that these producers get to sell their energy before large energy companies burning coal, oil or gas. The result has been a solar boom. Today, roughly half of the installed solar capacity in the world is located in Germany.

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The eco-propagandists are back to their old tricks

Jul 9, 2013 7:22 AM PT

Green energy: the industry so marvelous that it can't survive without gigantic taxpayer subsidies, government-mandated purchases, special legal breaks of the sort that give wind farm operators an unlimited license to shred bald eagles, and blatant lies peddled by well-funded propagandists.

On the latter subject, the guy who made the lie-filled agitprop disaster "Gasland" is back with another anti-fracking film, cleverly entitled "Gasland Part II."  In the first movie, a long-standing local complaint about flammable chemicals in the water supply was repurposed into an attack on the new technology of hydraulic fracturing, resulting in a famous scene where tap water is lit on fire.  It had nothing to do with fracking, but the propagandists weren't about to tell the audience that.  It's not as if their argument can be made honestly to well-informed people, after all.

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Wasserman Schultz Predicts Florida's Global Warming Demise

Jun 29, 2013 12:35 PM PT

Apparently, I must not have received the memo that my home in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, would be underwater within a couple of years from now. Thanks to Democratic Congresswoman and part-time Meteorologist, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, for telling the news that the rising sea level will soon doom Florida.

“I will eventually represent Orlando if we don’t do something about making sure we can reduce global warming"-Rep. Wasserman Schultz

Rare bird takes wing, only to be pureed by windmill

Jun 29, 2013 5:27 AM PT

Another great moment in the history of "green energy," brought to us by the UK Daily Mail:

There had been only eight recorded sightings of the white-throated needletail in the UK since 1846. So when one popped up again on British shores this week, twitchers were understandably excited.

A group of 40 enthusiasts dashed to the Hebrides to catch a glimpse of the brown, black and blue bird, which breeds in Asia and winters in Australasia.

But instead of being treated to a wildlife spectacle they were left with a horror show when it flew into a wind turbine and was killed.

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Obama Tees Up Rejection of the Keystone XL Pipeline

Jun 25, 2013 11:56 AM PT

In his speech on climate change Tuesday, President Obama seemed to make a turn on whether or not to allow the Keystone XL pipeline to be built.

President Obama has not previously declared himself on the issue of allowing Keystone XL, but today he said "allowing the keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our national interest." The President added "the net effects of the pipelilne's impact on our climate will be critical to determining whether this project goes forward."

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Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Clears Fracking

Apr 30, 2013 10:32 AM PT

A 16 month investigation by the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection has found that fracking is not responsible for methane which appeared in local water wells in Franklin Township, PA. But local fracking opponents have already rejected the state's explanation.

The Mannings are a family in Franklin Township who have become vocal opponents of fracking. They claim that fracking operations about a mile from their home have led to contaminated well water. And there is no doubt that their water is contaminated with significant levels of methane. As a result, their house has become a pilgrimage site for those who oppose the drilling process. But according to the DEP, the evidence suggests fracking is not at fault for the contamination of their well. This local news report outlines the results of a 16 month investigation:

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