In the wake of Solyndra's bankruptcy, Fox News went on the attack against solar energy, exaggerating its cost and downplaying its potential in an effort to paint investments in solar as a waste of money. But despite Fox's myopic focus on one company's demise, the U.S. solar industry is booming, as a comprehensive new Media Matters fact sheet on solar energy shows.
Solar energy is among the fastest growing industries in the U.S., providing enough electricity to power more than a million homes. It is estimated that the U.S. installed as much solar capacity in 2012 as it did over the last decade, and experts say that the U.S. has “enormous long-term potential for sustainable market growth.” Solar power is increasingly affordable and is on track to becoming as cheap as our current electricity in only seven years. But in the midst of record solar industry growth, Fox News clings to the narrative that solar power “doesn't work,” and that fossil fuels are America's only viable energy option:
Turning a blind eye to solar industry successes, Fox News chooses to focus instead on a few solar manufacturers that have struggled amidst falling silicon prices. Although experts say the consolidation of the solar industry is actually a sign of maturation and will make solar more affordable for consumers, Fox points to these companies to declare that the “ENTIRE Solar Industry” is on the “Brink Of Collapse.” And more than a year after Solyndra declared bankruptcy, Fox continues to cite it as proof that President Obama's clean energy investments were ineffective.
But investments in solar are helping this emerging technology break into the entrenched energy market, a role that the U.S. government has historically played. Subsidies create a level playing field for solar to compete with the fossil fuel industry, which has long benefited from federal assistance and the freedom to pollute the environment without paying for the damage. They also enable the U.S. to compete with heavily subsidized solar companies in China and Europe. The great strides that the U.S. solar industry has made indicate that these investments are working and can help America lead the way on clean energy solutions.