It is beyond refute that the world in the 21st Century could not function without a steady and reliable supply of fuel to produce the electricity necessary to maintain the world’s economy. What would be a monumental benefit to humanity would be a power source that was free, unlimited, and readily available and accessible in every corner of the world. Fortunately for Earthlings, there is such a source of power that intelligent nations are taking advantage of while in the richest, most technologically advanced nation on the planet the dirty fossil fuel industry is working tirelessly to block Americans’ access to the Sun because they cannot charge the people for using sunlight.
While the rest of the world’s governments are exceeding America in tapping into the unlimited sunlight to power their nations’ economies, the Koch brothers are leading the effort to block Americans’ access to the Sun for their power needs. It is appalling that the nation that invented the first practical solar cell in New Jersey (1954) is falling behind the rest of the world in producing and installing solar cells, also called “photovoltaics” (PVs), to take advantage of a free, clean, available, and unlimited source of energy.
The first PVs were extremely expensive and stayed out-of-reach until the 1973 Arab oil embargo that drove governments and private companies to pour billions into research and development to pave the way for the solar revolution taking place today in forward thinking, environmentally mindful, and economically intelligent societies. America may have invented and led the world in manufacturing PVs for a brief period, but since fossil fuel companies, and of late the Kochs in particular, have not figured out how to charge Americans for using the Sun’s free energy, they have used every asset at their disposal to block expanded use of solar power. For the record, the sunlight striking the earth’s surface in just one hour delivers enough energy to power the entire world economy for one year.
All the while, as America falls behind world leaders like China, France, Germany and Japan in solar energy production, the dirty energy fascists are actively thwarting efforts to expand solar power nationwide. Along the way, the efforts of the Kochs and their fossil fuel cohorts to obstruct solar power has allowed several other countries to surpass America in the production of PVs that has hurt the economy and stifled major job creation.
When the demand for PV cells began growing around the world, and America being retarded by Republicans and big oil, China entered the solar panel industry and took over. Subsequently with Republicans blocking solar power investment and usage, the Chinese PV industry massively expanded global production, drove prices down, and the Communist nation now produces two-thirds of the world’s PV cells; more than the previous leaders the United States, Japan, and Germany combined. Remember, America invented the technology and led the world in production until the Kochs and fossil fuel industry realized they would lose money if America advanced the use of free solar power.
The fossil fuel industry has been on a tear, with the Koch’s Americans for Prosperity and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) doing the legislative groundwork, to restrict Americans from tapping into the free energy from sunlight. In fact, a recent court ruling in Florida is just one example of how the Kochs and dirty energy industry restricts solar power usage. Florida is known as “the Sunshine State” and it would lead most people to believe the state was awash in solar power, but they would be wrong. It is true that despite the Koch’s efforts to roll back, or eliminate clean and renewable energy standards, most of America is beginning to catch up with other developed industrial nations embracing free energy, but Florida is still woefully lagging behind.
The issue in Florida is a law that “prohibits residents from purchasing electricity from a source other than an electric utility.” Subsequently, third-party solar rooftop companies installing rooftop solar panels on a customer’s property at no cost and sell solar-generated power to that customer at a reduced electric rate are prohibited. However, after some legal wrangling, and an appeal to Florida’s Supreme Court, it appears voters will get an opportunity to decide for themselves whether they get their electricity from dirty fossil fuels or the Sun. The effort is spearheaded by Floridians for Solar Choice and although the Supreme Court allowed the initiative on the ballot, the solar activists are in for a fierce battle with fossil fuel acolytes.
The primary proponent for keeping the solar ban in place is Florida’s Attorney General, hardcore Republican Pam Bondi, who said the ballot initiative is misleading and unnecessary. Interestingly, the Republican Attorney General then joined up with the state’s fossil fuel-powered utility companies in their crusade for a rival ballot initiative focused on discrediting the Floridians for Solar Choice initiative. They are not focusing on the validity of their opponents’ claim that the “existing law prohibits customer choice and blocks the growth of an abundant, clean energy source.” No, the state’s attorney general and fossil fuel-powered utilities claim the group wants to “establish the right to solar in Florida’s constitution,” and that the solar initiative is “shady.” What is shady, and suspicious, is the fossil fuel power cabal’s concern that there would ever be a need for a constitutional right to the Sun, for anything. But this is Florida and the national dirty fossil fuel industry, so anything is possible. There is after all a law prohibiting customer choice in a Republican state; a Koch Republican state.
Leading the charge against expanding solar power in the Sunshine State are none other than the Koch brothers’ Americans for Prosperity (AFP). The Koch group has repeated the same tactics in Florida that it has in myriad other states and has openly, and viciously, attacked the ballot initiative to open solar markets in Florida. AFP has even attacked conservatives working with clean, cheap energy activists supporting the solar expansion initiative and issued a rash of typical Koch Republican claims that are blatantly false, deliberately misleading and confusing, and short on facts; anything to prohibit Florida residents from choosing to get their power from the Sun.
America should be the world’s leader in both manufacturing and installing solar panels, as well as getting most of its electricity from a free energy source. Other nations are on the path to drastically reducing their dependence on fossil fuels for electrical generation, while in America the Koch brothers and their Republican legislative arm are waging a mighty battle just to block new rules that decrease the carbon emissions driving climate change and numerous health problems; problems that do not exist with solar power.
It is a serious abomination that this country is lagging even one developed industrial nation in generating power from the Sun, or in manufacturing and selling solar panels to the world. One thing is certain in America in the 21st Century; if the Koch brothers could charge Americans for gaining access to sunlight, every stinking home and building in America would have solar panels and they would have been manufactured and installed by a subsidiary of Koch Industries.
Audio engineer and instructor for SAE. Writes op/ed commentary supporting Secular Humanist causes, and exposing suppression of women, the poor, and minorities. An advocate for freedom of religion and particularly, freedom of NO religion.
Born in the South, raised in the Mid-West and California for a well-rounded view of America; it doesn’t look good.
Former minister, lifelong musician, Mahayana Zen-Buddhist.