In his blog post of August 11, 2011, Bob Ferrari noted that supply chain consolidation is underway in solar manufacturing. This consolidation is due to decreased government subsidies, excess investments in production that led to decreased demand and price, according to Bob. Further, “Industry events however now point to China and Taiwan as possibly being the global dominants for this industry, as cost-cutting becomes the dominant industry force.” This is an unfortunate turn of events for the United States because alternative energy technologies are important for energy security, job growth and the environment.
The U.S. government needs to make a strategic decision on becoming the leading developer of renewable energy technologies. This can be done given the political will to do so. For example, the U.S. government has achieved extraordinary success in many areas. These include a massive mobilization of personnel, technology and manufacturing during WWII. The United States developed a space program that led to a man on the moon, earth orbiting space station and the Hubble telescope. Other U.S. government led programs include the Internet, the Global Positioning System and Hoover Dam. Then came President Reagan, who opined that Government is the problem. Historically, there was never any basis in fact to make that declaration. With the seizure of Reagan’s dogma by the right wing, the U.S. government’s ability to mobilize national resources to resurrect the economy is quickly slipping away. The free market will not help since this group is myopically focused on the current quarter’s profits. Absent any counter prevailing forces, the United States is doomed to lose the renewable energy race.Tags: China, Environment, Government Subsidies, Jobs, President Reagan, Renewable Energy, Right Wing, SBIR, solar, Strategic Decision, Supply Chain