Last week, the Department of Energy came out with a new contest intended to re-ignite the United States’ solar manufacturing market. This contest will award three million dollars to US industrialists working on solar energy. This is in addition to the four hundred million dollars already set aside for solar projects and technologies in 2017. The solar industry received subsidies of $231.21 dollars per megawatt hour in 2013 according to the Institute for Energy Research. By comparison, coal received subsidies of $.57 per megawatt hour, while natural gas and petroleum received subsidies of $0.67 per megawatt hour.

The current state of the United States’ solar manufacturing market can best be summed up through the humor of Ronald Reagan:

“Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.” 

In this case, the solar market has stopped moving, due to lower costs from fossil fuels such as oil, coal and natural gas. That being the case, it has stopped moving, so it seems that the government – which really means the American people – are going to subsidize it.