It should come as little surprise for many of us that government efforts to put fossil energy out of business and end energy independence to instead subsidize an artificial replacement demand for solar and wind which currently together produce about 3% might not make for a very good economic or national security plan.
Add to this fiasco, millions of government-ordained and taxpayer subsidized plug-in vehicles fancifully prescribed to help achieve “net-zero carbon emission” by 2050 which, despite falling consumer interest, continue to increase electricity demands along with inflationary consumer cost hikes.
As reported in the Wall Street Journal, dozens of U.S. “renewable” power developers have increased prices they are charging for electricity and have rewritten utility contracts to try to recoup costs.
It’s turning out that all this “free” tax charity isn’t working out very well for those “green energy” manufacturers, utility production developers, and investors either.
Take solar energy as a teachable example.
As oil-poor China gluts the market with below-cost government-financed solar panels, major U.S. and European projects are being scrapped, renewable energy companies’ share prices are tanking, and the world clamors nonstop for oil and gas supplied by OPEC, Iran, and Russia.
China’s state-guided green-energy spending binge is flooding the world market with solar panels which is stymying economic attempts to manufacture them elsewhere.
Since the beginning of this year alone, according to OPIS — a Dow Jones company — prices for Chinese polysilicon, the building block of solar panels, are down 50%, while panels are down 40%.
Chinese solar manufacturers are now finding themselves frantically stuck trying to unload a huge unsold inventory at bargain half- prices, to Europe in particular, one of the big markets without tariffs or other barriers to panel imports.
Beijing’s oversupply was exacerbated by Trump administration tariffs, threats to impose anti-dumping duties, and implementation of the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act, which together prevented panels made with Chinese polysilicon from entering the country.
In its August financial report, Longi Green Energy Technology, one of China’s biggest solar manufacturing companies, warned that their country’s green bubble is about to pop, whereby, “The entire industry is about to enter a knockout round.”
A San Juan solar-and-battery farm in northwestern New Mexico intended to retire a big coal-power plant that was supposed to come online last year with enough electricity to power 36,000 homes.
U.S. trade crackdowns and investigations on Asia-made solar panels stalled procurement for the San Yuan project, causing the Chinese solar-panel supplier to default on its obligations.
Over the past three years since the project’s contract was signed, costs for everything from panels to financing have soared with interest rates having pushed up financing costs as much as 30%.
As delays mounted and costs soared, renegotiated prices with the San Yuan utility for the electricity generated rose from $26.31 per megawatt-hour to $33.50.
Meanwhile, solar electric stockholders are getting big shocks as shares of SolarEdge Technologies (SEDG), an S&P 500 company, fell nearly 30% after slashing its outlook for third-quarter numbers and the Invesco Solar ETF (TAN) designed to track the stock market fell 6%. In October.
This plunge occurred when SolarEdge — a top provider of inverters and power optimizers for solar power systems — had cut its third-quarter revenue guidance to between $720 million and $730 million, compared to the previous guide of $880 million to $920 million.
Goldman Sachs downgraded SolarEdge to neutral from buy, and chopped its price target to 131 from 254.
Fellow manufacturer Enphase Energy (ENPH) fell 14.7%, and Solar developer SunPower (SPWR) fell 8.6%.
Enphase attributed its 13% third-quarter sales drop to declines in its key European and California markets. The company now predicts its current quarter revenue will be in a range of $300 million to $350 million, whereas analysts had previously anticipated as much as double that amount.
Of solar stocks tracked by MarketSmith in the Energy-Solar group, 25 have already lost a cumulative 38% this year, the worst performer among the 197 industry categories based on six-month price performance.
Perhaps there’s little wonder that the solar industry is in a panic.
A recent report by the Solar Energy Industries Association found that 83% of U.S. companies surveyed that use or purchase solar panels are expecting cancellations or delays which, largely due to heavy dependence on China and other Asian countries for parts and materials, could cause the industry to collapse.
As for helping to save the planet from climate change, don’t be surprised that Beijing is most willing to sell solar panels and wind turbines to finance construction of an average equivalence of a new coal-fired plant weekly.
Those Chinese “clean energy” revenues also support purchases of more than 100 million barrels of oil daily each from Iran and Russia to finance their dirty wars against our allies in Israel and Ukraine, respectively.
It’s important to recognize that reliable U.S fossil energy abundance and independence are urgent matters of national security as well.
Larry Bell is an endowed professor of space architecture at the University of Houston where he founded the Sasakawa International Center for Space Architecture and the graduate space architecture program. His latest of 12 books is “Architectures Beyond Boxes and Boundaries: My Life By Design” (2022). Read Larry Bell’s Reports — More Here.
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