8:51 PM EDT
Tom McClintock, R-CA 4th

Mr. McCLINTOCK. Mr. Chairman, this amendment saves $166 million by relieving taxpayers of having to subsidize yet another year of handouts to the solar industry.

Solar power is not some fragile, new technology. Photovoltaic electricity generation was invented by Edmund Becquerel in 1839, more than 170 years ago. And in more than 170 years of continuing research and development and technological advancement, not to mention untold billions of taxpayer subsidies, we have not yet invented a more expensive way to generate electricity.

Yet we're perfectly comfortable telling our constituents that we are taking another $166 million from their families this year to throw at this 19th-century technology for no particular reason other than it makes us feel good.

Not only is this the most expensive way we have ever invented to generate electricity; it also adds nothing to our baseline power. Our electricity systems operate on an integrated grid, meaning we constantly have to match the power going onto the grid with the power coming off the grid. And since there's no way to predict when a cloud passing over a solar array will immediately drop the output to zero, we have to construct an equal amount of reliable conventional power to back it up at a moment's


In other words, for every kilowatt of solar power we add to the grid, we also have to add an additional kilowatt of backup power. If this technology was truly on the verge of a breakthrough, it would be the hottest thing in the stock market right now, and investors would be tripping over themselves to get a piece of the action. They are not.

We have no right to take our constituents' money and put it into yet another losing proposition. We're told the solar industry is making great strides in the marketplace. Lots of new jobs. That's true, but it is making those strides not on its own merit, but solely because we are hiding its true cost from consumers through massive tax subsidies that in turn we are borrowing from the Chinese.

It is true that if you hand over $166 million of taxpayer money to certain solar corporations, those corporations are going to do very well financially. But their government-funded windfall comes at the expense of not only the hardworking Americans who are the source of this largess; it comes at the expense of our ability to generate the most energy for the lowest price.

Perhaps it is just human nature that the more we invest in our mistakes, the less willing we are to admit them. But with the mistakes of the last 30 years now contributing to the bankruptcy of our country and the impoverishment of our people, perhaps it is time to tell not only the solar industry but every part of the energy sector, get off the public dole, compete on your own merit, and restore to consumers the accurate and unadulterated price signals that they need to make rational decisions

in the marketplace.

I yield back the balance of my time.

8:54 PM EDT
Pete Visclosky, D-IN 1st

Mr. VISCLOSKY. I rise in opposition to the gentleman's amendment for reasons I have stated on other very similar amendments relative to energy research into renewable accounts.

I would point out there has been reference about the care that the subcommittee has taken as far as drafting this legislation. Stated in the committee report is language relative to solar, that the committee encourages the Department to include in its efforts disruptive solar energy utilization technologies, fabrication methods that yield ultra-low-cost solar cells, technology for ultrahigh efficiency solar cells, and technologies designed to simulate the operation of solar cells and other methods

to yield advance sciences.

The committee also recommended no funding for solar demonstration zone projects, as the Department has adequate facilities at its existing laboratories. So they certainly recognized that they did not want money expended in that area.

The committee also indicated in its report that it is aware of the significant cost and efficiency advantages that solar films can provide to thin film and crystalline silicon modules, and we encouraged the Department to expand the funding of solar film research and development.

So, again, the moneys that are provided, which are very tight, are also very thoughtfully put forth with very directive language by the committee.

For that reason, I do oppose the gentleman's amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.

8:56 PM EDT
John Garamendi, D-CA 10th

Mr. GARAMENDI. We clearly have to move away from fossil fuels. In order to do so, we need to understand the other opportunities that are available to us. Indeed, solar has been around for a long time. But also in the last decade, 15 years, there have been extraordinary increases in the efficiencies in the solar systems, and they continue to increase.

This is not the time for us to back away from the future. It is time for us to move aggressively forward, providing the research, providing the incentives to move to a new source of energy.

If you want to continue to pollute the atmosphere, then stay with coal. If you want to continue to be indebted to the petro dictators of the world, then stay with oil. But we need to move away from that. And this money in this particular part of the bill provides us with the opportunity to seize the next generation of power, and that is the sun. Yes, the sun has been around a long time, warming us and providing us with what we need to survive. We need to use it more effectively and efficiently,

and that is what this money allows us to do. Removing the $154 million is exactly the wrong thing to do. I oppose the amendment.

I yield back the balance of my time.