Is solar advocacy about to enter a brand new phase?


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You’ll never believe who is embracing solar…

This week we take a detour from our usual rants to look at an interesting emerging overseas trend. The changing face of solar advocacy.

Australia tends to follow most trends that start in the United States — some would say slavishly — so this recent article in the superb Grist magazine made me think that the very way solar is positioned may indeed be changing. Support for solar power has long moved from the fringes to being accepted by the mainstream.

But solar advocacy is now being embraced by ultra conservatives as a symbol of free enterprise!

Let me explain.

Hot on the heels of an article during the week about the son of famed conservative Barry Goldwater going into bat for solar power down in Arizona, The Grist talks of a similar dispute in Georgia.

But the dispute isn’t the usual stoush between progressives backing solar power and opposing right wing elements. No, the battle (confusingly) is between two right wing elements of the ultra conservative Tea Party.

The Koch Brothers-backed Americans for Future Prosperity (AFP) has opposed a proposal to more than double the amount of solar power produced by Georgia Power. They have spread the usual fallacious arguments against solar to achieve their ends, none of which (of course) is based on fact.

Nothing unusual there I hear you say. However the interesting point is that a rival right wing Tea Party group, The Tea Party Patriots, has supported the increased solar power proposal in the name of free enterprise and the will of the people.

And why not readers?

The point made earlier about Australia importing US trends has to be considered. If all sides of in American politics except the most looney-rightwingers has taken up the solar power clarion call, has solar advocacy fundamentally changed? Will solar power finally be supported by both progressives and at least an element of conservatives? If so, and yes its a big if, how long before this trend is imported into Australia?

The delicious irony of pro-fossil fuel lobbyists and (bums on seats) MPs state and federal calling for increased funding and support for solar power in the name of free enterprise and popular support may be a way off yet in our country. But then again, maybe not? Solar power now ticks all the economic boxes as a competitive form of energy before the environmental benefits are even considered.

With solar advocacy undergoing a change in emphasis, the real winner would be the solar sector and solar customers folks. Dream on? Or is this the harbinger of things to come.

Chat about this either here or over at our Facebook Page.


  1. You might enjoy a bit of reading if you Google information about Australia’s involvement in solar over the past thirty years or more. Australians are reputed to be quick to take up new technologies, and the country is a source of a great deal of innovation. The big boom in solar in Australia has definitely been its trading relationship with China.

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