Sunday, June 24, 2018
Publication Date: 07/1/2011
Archive >  July 2011 Issue >  Tech-Op-Ed > 

The Greening of the USA
Jacob Fattal, Publisher
Each year the solar exhibits at Moscone get larger, with the entire West Hall given over to co-located Intersolar Expo for this year?s session of Semicon West. Of special interest is the fact that most of the exhibitors in the West Hall are not American companies at all. There is a special reason for this: in spite of all of our government's protestations and initiatives for going "green", it is in other countries — in Europe and the Far East — that governments heap lavish amounts of solar energy R&D money on their own manufacturers.

Then there is the question of tax incentives. True, the US provides some tax relief and rebates for solar users, but the vast majority of the manufacturing is done overseas or in US companies with foreign ownership.

How is it that the US has missed the boat so completely in this all-important and fast-growing energy area? And while it is true that the renewable energy industry is creating new jobs in the US, they are mostly in the service sector, but at the same time is not exporting jobs — the manufacturing jobs don't exist in the US — but helping to grow the manufacturing sector overseas. One major US installer that had just opened a plant in the Philippines said they would love to have a plant in the US, but the tax advantages in the Philippines were just too good.

US tax credits today focus on the power companies and consumers, but do little if anything for the manufacturers. The Federal government will have to take some decisive and industry-friendly action if this trend is to be reversed. As things stand now, nobody has any incentive to open a new domestic PV plant. This is definitely not the way to "green" our country.  

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