U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich‘s timing couldn’t have been worse.
His “Solar Toolkit,” released last week, arrived on the heels of The Solar Foundation’s finding that “the number of solar jobs from 2016 to 2017 in the Land of Enchantment decreased 14 percent, from 2,929 to 2,522.” (And the Solar Energy Industries Association “is projecting further downsizing of jobs in 2018.”)
As Errors of Enchantment documented in 2016, solar’s been “a bit of a bust” in New Mexico, despite the state’s abundant sunshine. Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, New York, and Massachusetts each have more “distributed solar PV installed capacity.”
But facts never get in the way of left-wing pols’ love affair with all things “green,” so Heinrich’s Solar Toolkit claims that there is “no doubt that solar works for New Mexico.” He hopes the document will provide “a launching point for local governments, tribes, schools, power providers, rural businesses, policymakers and educational institutions to consider whether solar can meet their needs.” It “highlights success stories from around the state, and provides reflections from the New Mexicans who have gotten the job done.” Heinrich’s “proud to have led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to pass an energy agreement that included a five-year extension of the Solar Investment Tax Credit.” But in light of the latest employment data, here’s the money quote: “Thousands of New Mexicans work in this rapidly growing field.”
Unmentioned in the Solar Toolkit is the return of New Mexico’s solar tax credit, which expired at the end of 2016 but was revived during the 2018 legislative session. A bill restoring the perk enjoyed bipartisan support, passing the House 40-26 and Senate 35-6. (The legislation has yet to be signed or vetoed by the governor. Let’s hope New Mexico’s outgoing chief executive makes the right call.)
As the Competitive Enterprise Institute noted in 2015: “When their tax breaks are secure, the wind and solar lobbies claim they’re vibrant industries; but every time their tax breaks are set to expire, they claim that market maturity is just around the corner, and that they need just one more extension of handouts.”
It’s a clever tactic, used to maintain — and even enhance — solar’s corporate-welfare freebies. And Heinrich’s all in, with nary a word about the energy source’s unreliability, environmental impact, or cost to taxpayers.