The hothouse solar industry, in general built on subsidies and hype, is known for throwing up huge companies that quickly fall apart. The last two companies to become the world’s largest makers of solar panels have both since gone into bankruptcy; now the third to hit the number one spot may face the same fate. Bloomberg reports:
Rising to the top of the solar industry is the easy part. Staying there has proven more of a challenge.
No one illustrates that better these days than Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., which was until last year the world’s biggest panel company by shipments. It’s lost two-thirds of its market value in 2015 and in May acknowledged “substantial doubt” about whether it can stay afloat amid a pile of debt. The Baoding, China-based manufacturer will report second-quarter results Tuesday and analysts are expecting a 16th straight loss.
There are two big problems with the solar industry as a whole. First, the resource simply isn’t good enough yet to compete without subsidies and a cozy crony relationships with government. Second, green prejudice is keeping us from deploying solar in the most useful and effective way. As we’ve noted, fields of GMO soybeans don’t need fertilizer or pesticides, which means that solar is replacing the energy that used to go into running the fertilizer and pesticide plants. Combining solar with GMOs is a wildly successful way to decarbonize the economy—without reducing efficiency or living standards.
But organized greens will be fighting these ideas when the last polar bear slips from the last iceberg in the warming Arctic. Irrational prejudice and hatred of science permeate the contemporary green movement. It would rather see serial bankruptcies in solar boondoggles than any actual progress made on decarbonization if that progress violates one of the movement’s many irrational taboos (in this case, against GMOS).
It’s a sad state of affairs: The world’s worst-led social movement continues to flounder and flail.