The latest casualty of the Republican-held House, in its witch hunt against renewable energy, is a huge distributed solar project that would have doubled the number of solar rooftop installs in the US, while cutting electricity costs to practically nothing for hard-pressed military families, many of whom return home to lives of long term disability and resulting hardship.
In partnership with military housing developers, SolarCity was to have installed as many as 160,000 solar roofs on military family housing, supplying cheaper and cleaner electricity from their own roofs. Its SolarStrong military program would have doubled the number of solar roof installations in the US – there are only 166,000 solar rooftops as of this Spring. Solar City would get a $275 million loan from USRG Renewable Finance for the project, and the Department of Energy would provide the loan guarantee.
But, due to the Solyndra witch hunt, the project has been halted.
Secretary Chu received a letter from the committee on September 20th warning of a slew of new requirements as part of the Solyndra witch hunt. As a result, the Department of Energy contacted SolarCity with the news that it will be impossible to finalize the loan guarantee for the 371 MW SolarStrong project on time. In addition to the red tape,
Then yesterday Republicans clawed back the last funding for “Solyndra” loan guarantees.
The Republicans had been refusing to fund FEMA costs this year unless the funding is offset, preferring to taking the money from renewable energy funding. Growing more renewable energy is the only government policy with a solution to rising FEMA costs, but party policy is not to believe in climate change.
First they attempted to take $1.5 billion from the clean car loan program, to offset disaster relief, but failed to attract enough Democrats who refused to offset disaster relief with $1.5 billion from renewable energy funding to make up for a defection by 48 Republicans in states desperate for FEMA funds this year, and on Friday that vote failed.
On Monday they succeeded in sacrificing the Solyndra loan guarantees. The Republican-held House was able to garner enough votes from its own caucus by stripping $100 million from the DOE loan guarantee program that financed the Solyndra guarantee, as their condition for passing the continuing budget resolution on Monday including key disaster relief funds for the states that suffered from wildfires, floods and tornadoes this year.
Bolstered by the hysteria they have created over the last few months over supposed Solyndra wrongdoing, congressional Republicans have so increased the red tape that nearly all the renewable energy loan guarantees have slowed to a crawl.
But in offsetting disaster funds for the first time in US history, Republicans have set a precedent for conditions on help for those who will be caught in the ever more expensive climate disasters caused by their shortsighted climate policy of “drill, baby, drill”.
Susan Kraemer writes at CleanTechnica, CSP-Today, PV-Insider , SmartGridUpdate and GreenProphet and has been published at Ecoseed, NRDC OnEarth, MatterNetwork, Celsius, EnergyNow and Scientific American. As a former serial entrepreneur in product design she brings an innovator's perspective on inventing a carbon-constrained civilization: If necessity is the mother of invention: solving climate change is the mother of all necessities! As a lover of history and sci fi, she enjoys chronicling the strange future we are creating in these interesting times. Follow Susan @dotcommodity on twitter.