Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Earth It's funny.  Laugh. Power The Media United States News

Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun 644

Posted by Soulskill
from the Ra-likes-the-germans-better dept.
Andy Prough writes "Apparently those wise folks at Fox have figured out America's reluctance to invest as much money in solar energy as Germany — the Germans simply have more sun! Well, as Will Oremus from Slate points out, according to the U.S. Dept. of Energy's Solar Resource map comparison of the U.S. and Germany, nothing could be further from the truth — Germany receives as much sunlight as the least lit U.S. state — Alaska."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Fox News: US Solar Energy Investment Less Than Germany Because US Has Less Sun

Comments Filter:
  • by Linsaran (728833) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:37AM (#42831797) Homepage
    So I know this is Fox News we're talking about here, but where exactly does one draw the line between a failure to check your sources, and becoming a tabloid?
  • by firex726 (1188453) <firex726&yahoo,com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:42AM (#42831845)

    Audience...

    Fox would qualify as a tabloid save for the fact that a large part of the US takes them seriously.

  • Morning Show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sanosuke001 (640243) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:47AM (#42831903)
    It's a morning show; they all suck. It doesn't have to be FOX News.
  • by Deitiker (732739) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:47AM (#42831913)
    I think it is the first time that _anyone_ in the media has said anything that is factually incorrect.
  • The real reason (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:47AM (#42831915)

    The real reasons the US is slow on solar is due to the payback period. Due to high property taxes, permit fees, and relatively low electric rates, the payback period in most parts of the US is 15+years. With the job morket and soft realesate market, the chances of breaking even is slim for many. A map of the insolation index of much of the US shows much of the US will receive much less than most of the high population areas.

    I did pick up a solar panel. I put it on my motorhome where the generation cost is very high due to high gas prices. Then I take my vacation trips to Arizona and Utah to visit the national parks. Being self contained instead of paying for sites with hookups, quickly pay the investment cost of the panels instead of the payback rate of installing them on my house in the Pacific Northwest.

  • Re:Morning Show (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Capt James McCarthy (860294) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:53AM (#42831983) Journal

    It's a morning show; they all suck. It doesn't have to be FOX News.

    It does when both sides are so polarized and angry with each other. All the while we the sheeple keep believing whatever spews from either sides mouth. Both sides have their agenda, and both agendas suck in their own way.

    I'm wondering how this is news for nerds? All news organizations repeat filtered facts, chock full of slanted opinion, with the purpose of keeping viewers to sell ad time. They all have become more entertainment then news.

  • by splutty (43475) on Friday February 08, 2013 @10:53AM (#42831993)

    The difference most probably being that Germany isn't pumping money into making their own solar panels, but just buying them from the chinese, and then setting everything up locally.

  • by Zorpheus (857617) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:02AM (#42832093)
    In the past a large fraction of all solar cells was produced in Germany, but that was mostly because the production chains were set up and improved earlier than in other countries. Nowadays the German solar industry has the same problems as the American. And the reaction of the government is just to cut the subsidies, by quickly lowering the guaranteed prices for power from solar cells. Still, that hurts the German companies more than the Chinese, since the Chinese have lower costs due to lower wages and newer production plants.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:02AM (#42832095)

    Obviously they don't have an obstructive fossil-fuel industry that forcefully gets in the way of any advancement that would put their business model in danger. Good example is Chevron and their shameless sandbagging of large-format NiMH batteries. This sort of thing isn't uncommon when you have a political system that seems almost tailor made to be abused by whoever has the most cash. Its disgusting how lobbyist are pulling the strings of our duly elected puppets, errr politions.

  • by blackraven14250 (902843) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:02AM (#42832101)
    If this is their "expert" on solar energy, it's a serious blow to Fox's nonexistent credibility. If they can't be bothered to bring on experts who, at the very least, are going to dance around the real issue factually to make a case for the conservative standpoint, they need to get off the air.
  • by thomas089 (759773) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:06AM (#42832167)
    Germany receives a bit more sunlight than Alaska, since slate.com was comparing apples and oranges.

    Here is a really good explanation of US vs German solar energy:
    http://www.joewein.net/blog/2011/09/09/solar-energy-usa-vs-germany/ [joewein.net]

    Quote:
    "Germany’s annual exposure to the sun is actually not too different from the US east of the Mississippi, except for the Southern sunbelt from Texas to Florida, which does get more sun."
  • by daem0n1x (748565) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:14AM (#42832257)

    My thought: who is being held accountable for the money, and overseeing that it goes into productive use?

    Because in private enterprise the return on investment is always 100% guaranteed?

  • by F. Lynx Pardinus (2804961) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:14AM (#42832267)
    Advice that's served me well: if someone is careless about the small details, you shouldn't trust them on the big picture--whether it's a Fox News report or someone's home brew beer.
  • Re:Problem? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Cwix (1671282) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:19AM (#42832319)

    All that goes to tell you is that there are a lot of idiots.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:19AM (#42832329)

    But you've hit on the fundamental issue. If you just wait around for things to "get cheaper on their own" you wait a lot longer. One could argue that China has waited a bit too long for electric vehicles and over their densest cities they have "air you can chew." For the commuter vehicles for which they worked, electric cars in the US did not break even on the cost of electrics on the year the Volt was introduced. The $7,500 tax credit made them break even. Once they were justifiable to the consumer they sold like mad. This in turn causes the cost of manufacturing to drop and means that by the time the next generation of batteries hits, there will have been two generations of Volt working out all the bugs. If we get a 50 mile electric range out of the next gen (as opposed to 35 today), this will actually double the people for whom this technology is viable, if by then the cost of manufacturing the Volt had gone down 10% we might not need the subsidy to sell out of all the Volts GM can produce in a year.

    Even with the subsidy, my commute didn't fall into the break even range. I bought one anyway because I thought it was the right thing to do.

    So, I must disagree. We'll have better electrics on the road ~3 years sooner due to that "evil government subsidy." That was money well spent.

    As for centralized solar, there are lots of viable-sounding technologies for making that work, the sooner we try 10 of them on a large scale, the sooner we find the clear winner. Paying for the 9 runners up, is part of that cost. If you can do this sort of science and have all your test results come out positive each time, you aren't actually doing science.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:23AM (#42832369)

    You left out another major factor, the Chinese don't have to worry about environmetal issues. Want to dump all the dirty water you made when you etched those panels? China says find your nearest river and have at.

  • by gmuslera (3436) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:23AM (#42832375) Homepage Journal
    if a large part of the US takes seriously than a country of a size of Germany, in the latitude of Germany, gets more sun than US, then the problem is bigger than Fox News.
  • wait (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Charliemopps (1157495) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:26AM (#42832403)

    So, fox news has turned into a joke over the years, and the worst of it is the morning show. The hosts are idiots, they do little research and make a lot of false claims. BUT... watched the video. The quote was taken completely out of context. She said "Germany has a lot more sun than us. You could do solar power in places like California and out west, but on the east cost here it's just not going to work well." That's a far cry from what Slates claiming. It's still probably wrong, but it's not nearly as idiotic as Slates claiming and it was clearly an off the cuff remark and not a statement of fact. The real direction the interview was taking was that China is undercutting our solar panel production, and the only way to compete is with subsidies. Which is true. Also, she went on to say our money would be better invested in developing cleaner methods of using Natural Gas, which is also true. My own opinion is that, we're going to use that natural gas, period, it's a fact. So lets make sure we at least use it in as clean a way as possible.

    There are plenty of reasons to talk shit about Fox news. This single comment is not news worthy.

  • by Cwix (1671282) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:26AM (#42832409)

    Busted ACORN and Planned Parenthood for what?

    As far as I have been able to tell 99.9% of the allegations that Fox and their retarded viewers have made were false. In fact completely, totally and utterly false.

  • by h4rr4r (612664) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:33AM (#42832495)

    I would be happy with 25 miles if the things were affordable. I can get a Cruze(the car the Volt is built from) for $17k, the extra $20k the Volt costs would buy me a lot of gasoline.

  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tmosley (996283) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:43AM (#42832649)
    Comedy, or tragedy?
  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by shawnhcorey (1315781) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:53AM (#42832783) Homepage
    All humour is just tragedy you laugh at.
  • by ceoyoyo (59147) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:56AM (#42832809)

    You're conflating "bad at science" with "lying."

    The Huffington Post chose to sensationalize a story by focusing on life, but it isn't actually untrue: red dwarfs commonly hosting planets in their habitable zones greatly decreases the likely distance between life-bearing planets. It also has no political significance.

    Saying Germany gets more sunshine than the US is a false statement, one that is easily checked with ten seconds of Googling, and does have political significance.

  • by judoguy (534886) on Friday February 08, 2013 @11:57AM (#42832825) Homepage

    Because in private enterprise the return on investment is always 100% guaranteed?

    Because in actual private enterprise, not Facist crony capitalisim, investment isn't made at the point of a gun.

  • by ColdWetDog (752185) on Friday February 08, 2013 @12:28PM (#42833317) Homepage

    Implementation. Nasty little technical details. Like waste management. Like cost overruns. Like bad siting decisions. Like incredible up front costs.

    The feds have been trying to get industry to start up nucs. They have billions in loan guarantees and other support packages. But it still takes so much up front money to get a nuc plant on line that the industry is passing. You can actually build out solar / wind for less.

    For fission power to actually do something in the US, you have to do two things - figure out a long term waste storage system and make smaller, modular reactors that have some sensible price point. The former is basically a political football, the latter an engineering problem that seems to be mostly solved.

    We have met the enemy and he is us.

  • by foobsr (693224) on Friday February 08, 2013 @12:36PM (#42833423) Homepage Journal
    everything you say is the exact opposite of the truth

    Interesting, as this assumption worked for me as a child when I had to read books from "East Germany" (family circumstances) though living in "West Germany".

    CC.

  • by asylumx (881307) on Friday February 08, 2013 @12:40PM (#42833487)
    There are a LOT of people that don't drive more that 25 miles 95% of the time. These people tend to live in areas where pollution from cars is a very big problem, so uptake of this kind of vehicle is supportable.

    Don't let seeking a perfect solution get in the way of doing something better than what we have now.
  • by bradley13 (1118935) on Friday February 08, 2013 @12:43PM (#42833523) Homepage

    I have to agree: The problem really has nothing to do with Fox news. It has to do with the entire profession of journalism. With very few exceptions, journalists have zero grasp of issues relating to science, engineering or technology. Too often, their idea of research is to talk to their equally clueless colleagues in the lunchroom. Alternatively, they just make up "facts" that sound right to them.

    The entire profession is spiraling towards the drain. With the rise of the Internet, fewer people are willing to pay for news of any sort. Less income, budgets are cut, fewer journalists have to churn out more material, quality goes in the crapper, so even fewer people are willing to pay for news...

    Just look at the quality of coverage on scientific/technical issues like nuclear power, health care, climate change. Find some specific bit of information, any factoid that seems fairly unique, and start searching. Most likely you will find a lovely merry-go-round: journalists copying from journalists copying from journalists. If you manage to find the original source of the factoid, likely as not it has been taken totally out of context and/or has been completely misunderstood.

    Alternatively the entire article may be basically a copy of a press release. Companies and governmental organizations know the journalists are under time pressure, so they provide pre-written "articles" that can be used directly, no thinking required.

  • Re:Problem? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Metrol (147060) on Friday February 08, 2013 @12:47PM (#42833621) Homepage

    It seems that the "cool" thing to do here is slam Fox news for an awkward statement made on a morning show. From the looks of things, very few who have commented actually watched the video... go figure.

    Personally, I was all for government subsidizing of the clean energy industry to get that ball rolling. That was until Solyndra. It wasn't that it failed mind you. It was the fact that $500,000,000 in loan guarantees from the government were coming back to the very same politicians who were providing those guarantees! How could anyone fairly evaluate companies to invest in based on those kinds of kick backs? Then to find out that this company was evaluated by the previous administration as to not being a good investment of MY tax dollars, only to then get funding when the next administration walks in the door.

    I don't care if you're a democrat or republican, that's extremely poor handling of our money.

    Back to the video, the REAL point that was being made was that billions of YOUR tax dollars have been flushed down failed companies who have far more talent in kicking back their government investments rather than actually producing energy. This would be an entirely different matter had we seen some kind of impact on our electrical grid for all the money that's been poured into it. Ya know... results!

    Sadly, the federal government really could do some things to promote clean energy. They could do so without the billions vanishing into CEO parachutes. How about negotiating smarter energy policies between states? Making getting the energy to where it's needed cheaper for producers. How about giving preference to cleaner energy when available instead of to coal plants? There's a lot of regulatory screw ups that could be fixed. Of course, nobody gets campaign donations for that kind of governing.

    As for direct investment into "Green" companies the government shouldn't be trusted on that ever again.

    Now then, back to the oh so clever Fox News bashing already in progress...

  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by orthancstone (665890) on Friday February 08, 2013 @12:51PM (#42833671)
    To be fair, I don't see many televisions in offices, restaurants, and/or lounges that are default set to Comedy Central all day long.

    (Of course, for all I know, maybe that's controlled in ratings measurements. Beats me.)
  • by aztracker1 (702135) on Friday February 08, 2013 @01:02PM (#42833801) Homepage
    Even then, if you cover California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas you have a population that's probably a bit larger (than Germany), and much more sunlight, where it would make sense for the investment in research just to cover this area... Let alone grid feeds to neighboring states, and combined with water pipelines, excess generation can be stored as Hydrogen.
  • MSNBC/CNN? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JDAustin (468180) on Friday February 08, 2013 @01:34PM (#42834249)

    I just wonder why when idiots on MSNBC or CNN (or the 3 networks for that matter) say scientifically follish statements, we don't see that posted up on Slashdot? Is the hatred for Fox that much that they are held to a significantly higher standard?

  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Friday February 08, 2013 @01:43PM (#42834397) Homepage Journal

    "Back to the video, the REAL point that was being made was that billions of YOUR tax dollars have been flushed down failed companies who have far more talent in kicking back their government investments rather than actually producing energy."

    I might believe that Fox cared about that if they had been as vigorously opposed to the multi-billion dollar fiasco that was the Iraq war, which included just as much corruption via-a-vis Hallibuton, et. al.

  • Re:Morning Show (Score:3, Insightful)

    by argStyopa (232550) on Friday February 08, 2013 @01:43PM (#42834399) Journal

    One might point out too that they're the only news agency that's been BROUGHT to court to defend their bullshit statements.

    You don't have to search far to find outright lies being promulgated by EVERY news network.

    Somehow, most of the conservatives I know recognize that all networks are largely full of lies.
    Yet the liberals I know assert that it's ONLY FOX that lies.

    Which do you suppose is closer to the truth?

  • by jandrese (485) <kensama@vt.edu> on Friday February 08, 2013 @01:46PM (#42834443) Homepage Journal
    That's a short term advantage though. The smog problem in Beijing is bad enough that people are starting to demand environmental protection. The autocratic government won't be quick to change, but you can't hold back that much public pressure forever.
  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dnahelicase (1594971) on Friday February 08, 2013 @01:52PM (#42834521)

    "Back to the video, the REAL point that was being made was that billions of YOUR tax dollars have been flushed down failed companies who have far more talent in kicking back their government investments rather than actually producing energy."

    I might believe that Fox cared about that if they had been as vigorously opposed to the multi-billion dollar fiasco that was the Iraq war, which included just as much corruption via-a-vis Hallibuton, et. al.

    I'd believe it if they rallied against the 10-54 billion (depending on how you count) subsidies we give to fossil fuel companies, who rake in trillions in profits. Half-billion to a failed solar company is bad, but not as bad as 10+ billion to already established, ridiculously-profitable industries.

  • by whistlingtony (691548) on Friday February 08, 2013 @02:03PM (#42834707)

    I love how this seems to work. One company failed (Solyndra). And it was allowed to fail, not propped up endlessly (which I think is how this stuff should work). The poster was all for using government subsidy to jump start a newish industry. But now that ONE company failed, it magically gets extended to all of them, and it's government fraud, and we should stop everything.

    One company fails = "As for direct investment into "Green" companies the government shouldn't be trusted on that ever again."

    A few points:

    • I highly doubt ANY governement subsidies are provided without fraud. This is no different. That being said, The Solyndra deal WAS hinky and someone should get in trouble.
    • THAT being said, YES Solyndra was not in good financial order. We don't subsidize companies that DON'T need help. We subsidize industries that DO need help. That's kind of the point.
    • Solyndra made solar panels, not energy.
    • The Chinese are subsidizing the ever loving crud out of their panel industry. It's impossible for anyone(including the germans) to compete with that. That's kind of why we SHOULD be subsidizing our own solar companies.
  • Re:Problem? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Yunzil (181064) on Friday February 08, 2013 @02:34PM (#42835155) Homepage

    Personally, I was all for government subsidizing of the clean energy industry to get that ball rolling. That was until Solyndra. It wasn't that it failed mind you. It was the fact that $500,000,000 in loan guarantees from the government were coming back to the very same politicians who were providing those guarantees!

    Protip: You shouldn't be singling out clean energy or Solyndra for this.

  • by cat_jesus (525334) <cat_jesus@hotmail.com> on Friday February 08, 2013 @03:09PM (#42835623)

    On that note, someone is bound to mention MSNBC, but MSNBC isn't really watched by anyone.

    We watch MSNBC every day. Saturdays and Sundays are the best with "Up with Chris Hayes" and the Melissa Harris Perry show. Rachel Maddow is a must during the week. These people are policy wonks and are not afraid to admit when they're wrong. The research is deep and strong.

    And before the rightie nut jobs start blathering about MSNBC being "liberal", keep in mind that Joe Scarborough is on in the morning spewing his ridiculousness and the bride of Alan Greenspan, Andrea Mitchell is on soon after that. MSNBC is a business and they don't like people being "too" liberal, like Cjenk Uger who was asked to tone it down or leave.

  • Re:Problem? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by operagost (62405) on Friday February 08, 2013 @03:37PM (#42835985) Homepage Journal
    I love how Slashdot picks on one news channel so they can ignore all the other ones lying to us.
  • by xyourfacekillerx (939258) on Friday February 08, 2013 @06:51PM (#42838379)
    Jesus christ, last year it was all the crap about how awesome Obama is for his campaign team's electoral power (nevermind the privacy invasions in that case, whereas MS got slag for enabling privacy by default and Google got the Slashdot crowd greenlight for its privacy mining workshops...) now I'm seeing on Slashdot about how Fox mangles the news??

    First, stop treating my posts like trolling and start treating them like legitimate complaints as they are. THIS feed, THIS news does not belong here. THIS news is not informative on any intellectual level. THIS news only tells us that Fox got facts wrong. THIS news only tells us to distrust Fox reporting. What has that got to do with being a nerd? Nothing. Media makes mistakes all the time. Fox is the one highlighted here, though!

    This reporting has nothing to do with real unbiased science -- the context is clear that the "facts" are juxtaposed against Fox "facts": Fox got them wrong, science got them right. Hence, Fox is not scientific. That is the focus of THIS news. But the important information -- why does the U.S. invest less in solar -- is left to the imagination. You could have achieved a better story without mentioning conservative media WTFs, and got all the good info out there. But no, you did not. THIS is political. It is not nerds, not geeks, and it is not news. It is politics plain and simple.

    /Stop downgrading my posts.

FORTRAN is a good example of a language which is easier to parse using ad hoc techniques. -- D. Gries [What's good about it? Ed.]

Working...