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What if solar got fossil fuel subsidies? [infographic]

Posted by / November 28, 2010

Green energy gets a bad rap in America thanks to an avalanche of fossil fuel lobbyists, but what if solar was playing on a level playing field in term of subsidies? The answers are illuminating.


Full story at Breakfast Links.

Giving green a fighting chance.

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  • Whatever

    Funny how ignorant most people are on what constitutes oil subsidies. They are the same as any other business, to include solar companies. Apponents cite depreciation of assets for exploration as a subsidy. So stupid to think that the exploration of fossil fuel, and depreciation schedules is so demonized. Most people have no idea how actually dificult it is to power the countries grids. If you are personally demanding solar then through a panel on your house. Start with yourself before demanding everyone else have their taxes wasted.

    • jim sadler

      Since solar power is already doing fine in Germany and considering that sunshine is a bit scarce in Germany the message can no longer fail to penetrate even the weirdest minds. It is obvious that solar and wind can replace coal and oil rather easily and rather quickly. The German traditional power companies have threatened to leave Germany as some days solar is already the dominant source of power there. Even some of the Arab nations who have an abundance of oil are already installing solar power plants. How dumb can the US get?

      • The arrogance and the over the top sanctimony never ceases to amaze me. We also have access to the internet heck our kind actually built it. Accountants engineers and venture capitalists…so use a search engine of your choice and do some homework before spouting off idiocy. this link from your kind of web site was found in a millisecond.

        • SSLocal

          Its also a right wing writer ith a vendetta – he’s a climate change denier. Look at his other publications listed at the bottom in the credits. Secondly, Germany, as stated in both the article above and in the article you referenced, has significantly less sun than the U.S. does. Now, go back to your coal burning and ignore the evidence…

  • Funny how ignorant most people are on how much real subsidies, tax breaks and state guarantees the fossil fuel multibillionaires the world over actually get

    “Fossil fuels remain dominant in the global energy mix, supported by subsidies that amounted to $523 billion in 2011, up almost 30% on 2010 and six times more than subsidies to renewables” IEA (2013) World energy outlook

    A recent projection places the total value of conventional global fossil fuel subsidies between $775 billion and more than $1 trillion in 2012, depending on which supports are included in the calculation. In contrast, total subsidies for renewable energy stood at $66 billion in 2010” World Watch institute: Fossil Fuel and Renewable Energy Subsidies on the Rise

    The International Monetary Fund is deeply worried about the fossil fuel subsidies: Energy subsidy reform | IMF Rejects Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Calls for Reform

    Don’t let the errand boys and the giant propaganda industry for the fossil fuel industry fool you. They are notorious and professional liars and deceivers doing anything, including risking the lives of their own (and all others’) grand children for short term profits.

    • Sophia Karlberg

      Sven Åke,
      Thanks for a great reply based on facts!

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  • Keitho

    What about comparing “subsidies” per unit of energy delivered. Oh, I know, perhaps it won’t paint quite the picture you are trying for.

    Also by fossil fuel subsidies I presume you are talking to resource depletion tax credits used throughout the mining industry or like capital depreciation allowances throughout industry.

    I think you are trying to mislead folk.

  • jeff

    Fossil fuel “subsidies” fall under General Accounting Practices (GAP). Things like depreciation of assets that are allowed in ALL profitable businesses. Subsidies for renewable sources of energy get these same deductions, only the dollar figure is smaller because the amount of REVENUE is smaller. In addition, renewable energy gets real tax credits that few if any other industries receive. The government needs to stop picking winners. When renewable energy is cost effective and reliable, it will thrive

  • Solyndra received over 500 million in government funds and look what happened to them (Ch 11 bankruptcy). Unfortunately, the challenge of incorporating solar cells into the current power grid coupled with low economic returns (in part due to low efficiencies of photovoltaic devices, especially those based on silicon) make solar energy an unrealistic goal. Would love to see it happen, but technologically we are not yet quite there.

  • The solution to coal/oil use is decentralization. Produce your own power be it sun or wind or water or all three – decentralization and diversification – if ‘industry’ needs more power than homeowners let them pay for installing and maintaining it, just as you will for your sources. I estimate savings of $120k over the past 33 years of ‘self-sufficiency’ in solar, without any direct help from government as either a subsidy or tax break. Works great but most of all I love the independence from corporate power and government corruption. I only wish I was young enough to benefit from an electric automobile which I could charge from my PV array. The best advice I can give is to get started – slowly at first if you must, but do it! Decentralize, diversify and thrive …

  • Walter

    Federal subsidies per megawatt-hour for electric power (2010)

    Oil and Gas – $0.64
    Hydropower – $0.82
    Coal – $0.64
    Nuclear – $3.14
    Solar – $775.64
    Wind – $56.29

    Source: US Dept. of Energy 2011

  • Solar power is almost useless in the northern hemisphere. Where I live in Maine, we don’t get as much light, when it snows the solar panels won’t work, there are lots of trees and mountains that block the sun, and solar panels won’t heat your home.

  • Hey Whatever. Its spelled opponents not “Apponents” Just a thought, if you’re going to be very critical of something try and spell basic English words correctly. It lends an air of sophistication( or in your spelling “so fist eh cay shun) to what you are saying that is lost in your use of lousy English. Or just keep spelling the way you do and have people laugh at you. Whatever.

  • […] by RenegadeMinds [link] [comment] …read […]

  • Stewart

    Regarding the chap in Maine: The latitude of Berlin, Germany, is 52.51167 N. That of Bangor, Maine is 44.8036 N. As the Encyclopedia of Maine happens to mention: “European countries that are completely or mostly further north than Maine include the following: Ireland, Britain, all Scandinavian countries, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and Russia.” These countries do better than we do on solar energy because they are trying and do not have huge, obstructing oil industry lobbies tricking the voters and bribing politicians.

  • Phil Rustage

    MICK LASLAVIC is right in that we should do our homework before taking things at face value.

    The link he provides as an antidote to the “idiocy” of this article is to page by Bjorn Lomborg. A little research reveals the following websites about the author. Try this ( and the heading “Formal accusations of scientific dishonesty.” Or how about this (, a website devoted to exposing Lomborg’s bias and stating that “Lomborg´s texts are systematically manipulated to fit a certain agenda”. Who’s agenda is that? A bit more research and we discover this expose ( “Bjorn Lomborg Is Part Of The Koch Network — And Cashing In”.

    So now we know.