One irony the report highlights is the impact that continued support for the fossil fuel industries, which have long since reached maturity, has on the emerging technologies. These “incentives in the mature industries effectively raise the overall cost of government incentives needed to bring new resources up the adoption curve,” the report says.
The SEIA said the Tennessee report was evidence that support for solar was sound public policy—and ought to be maintained.
“When it comes to government investment in new and emerging energy sources, solar is not unique,” Tom Kimbis, vice president of strategy and external affairs for SEIA, said in a statement. “The U.S. has a long history of incentivizing all sources of energy because access to reliable power is the lifeblood of economic development. Pursuing an all-of-the-above approach to our energy portfolio, including aggressively deploying solar energy, is the right policy choice and is critical for America’s long term competitiveness.”
The Tennessee study also makes the point that the spate of bankruptcies in the solar industry in the past year or so shouldn’t be seen as an indication that the industry overall is necessarily doomed to failure. “Businesses fail,” the report says. “Technologies fail. Sometimes the technology succeeds while the business does not, while at other times the technology fails although the business survives. New businesses are more likely to fail than established businesses. So it goes with firms engaged in the early stages of technology diffusion.”
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