In the four years since the last election, the viability of solar energy as a primary power source has gone from questionable to inevitable. The Chinese are now making solar panels so cheap that even a proposed one hundred percent tariff doesn’t guarantee US competitive advantage in the renewable energy market. This disparity in what has become the next major energy race will need to be addressed during the 2012 election campaign. Those who don’t address it are simply not fit to lead this country.
Is that a political opinion? No, it’s reality. Leaders are chosen according to their ability to handle the current issues and affairs of today’s world, not by how well they understand the policies of yesterday. The American voter is savvier today by far than his counterpart of a few decades ago. Information and education on any topic is available at the click of a mouse or by doing a simple search on a smart phone. This year, the hot button issue will be energy. Solar will take center stage, as will wind and hydro power.
This is good news for educators. Those who offer solar energy certification and training are due for a large influx of new students. This increased demand may make the prices for some of these courses rise and will most certainly limit availability, particularly if the candidate elected is a renewable energy proponent. We’re not talking strictly about the president either. There are plenty of seats up for grab in Congress and on city and state levels also. Where do those candidates stand on energy?
Electric cars are making a serious splash on the West Coast right now, and sales inland are improving. With electric cars come solar powered charging stations, a combination that provides a sustainable transportation solution that eliminates our dependence on foreign oil. You will hear each of the political candidates in every race, local and national, expound on our nation’s dependence on foreign fossil fuels and how it needs to end. The question is - what are they going to do to help end it?
Solar power will be the primary energy source of the future. That future should be right now, but our leaders have managed to complicate the transition. Subsidies and powerful lobbying efforts keep fossil fuels in the forefront of American energy options. This year’s election, if all of the “experts” are correct, should mark the beginning of a change in that philosophy – if you vote for that change.