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Solar Power Doesn’t Get Subsidized More Than Coal, Study Reports

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Complaints that renewable solar energy has received special incentives advanced by the U.S. government different from its support for traditional energy sources may be unfounded, reports Reuters.

The said report was derived from a solar-industry backed report. This was a published assessment by researching scientists from the University of Tennessee’s Baker Center for Public Policy that showed figures depicting incentives and employment impacts of setting up solar energy projects in the US.

Clean energy technology investment in the US has been surrounded by much controversy.  After solar manufacturer Solyndra’s bankruptcy last September, critics have been airing complaints and arguing that the US government has of late been giving the industry undue financial incentives.

Notwithstanding, the University of Tennessee’s aforementioned report depicted a very different image. It portrayed that there has been an almost equal provision by the government towards every major energy production market – not just the solar. That same report indicated after assessments that solar energy technology has been found to follow a similar trajectory as its energy producing counterparts.

Researchers further noted that coal and oil industries, which can be arguably said to be far more mature in energy production, do continue to receive government subsidies to some measurable degree. This led them to point out that solar energy generation was also following a similar incentive-driven path just like those other veterans in the sector for some policy purposes.

Market control measures for oil and availing pipelines for natural gas distribution were some incentives that got pointed out. Further, just like gas, oil, and coal, there was a need to create a long period of innovation and full market adoption- to at least achieve a 1% market share.

The report was commissioned by Tom Kimbis, Solar Energy Industries Association’s vice president. He emphasized that it was necessary for government’s 30% tax credit for solar energy to continue being a facilitating factor for growth until 2016. He cited goals for solar energy to be at an installation of 10GW per annum starting in 2015, thus necessitating government provision.

Kimbis stated that immediate objectives also included the creation of jobs (between 240,000 to 965,000 by 2030) and increased exports potential.

[via reuters]

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