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Subsidy- Solar- Cell Phones

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Sanchez posted on Sun, Apr 18 2010 10:24 PM

Their subsidization of solar panel production is, believe it or not, has little or no impact on the pace of solar energy research and development. If they subsidized the production of cell phones, new faster, smaller, more reliable cell phones would still be coming out every year. The only difference is that more people would be throwing out those old models.

Show me my integral flaws please...

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Andy replied on Sun, Apr 18 2010 10:52 PM

I'm assuming by they you mean government.

Disregarding your integral errors, the main problem that would occur from subsidizing cell phone production would be a decreased quality in the products since the companies are no longer risking their own capital.

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You forget to mention the fact that subsidizing industries will almost always create inefficent and wasteful products, just look at the energy industry, plenty of alternatives around. None of them are being seriously considered in the MSM and on Capitol Hill, why (don't answer this question)?

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Yea, I agree but there is something, Im not grasping in which the cause of the decrease of the quality, to me research and development would halt if subsidy, replaced and we would be keeping our older models more, the same with green energy. Yet, to say subsidy, cant deliver results,  has not been borne out by experience for all. Its just the cost will always outweigh the result if there was any. 

For all intent and purposes, countries like Canada, Norway should be farther down the road to serfdom then we are, given their policies but both have pretty strong economies.  In these places the socialism has merly been otherwise expensive, where many have prospered in spite of, and would be that much greater without.

 "The state has large ownership positions in key industrial sectors, such as the strategic petroleum sector (Statoil), hydroelectric energy production (Statkraft), aluminum production (Norsk Hydro), the largest Norwegian bank (DnB NOR), and telecommunication provider (Telenor). Through these big companies, the government controls approximately 30% of the stock values at the Oslo Stock Exchange. When non-listed companies are included, the state has even higher share in ownership (mainly from direct oil license ownership). "

I just don't get the  decrease in quality is automatic, if someone could explain this to me properly?

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Kakugo replied on Fri, Apr 23 2010 10:37 AM

I have kept an eye on the photovoltaic sector for years because in my opinion it held so much promise. Why I say "held" instead of "holds"? The answer is simple: government intervention screwed it up.

Let's say you want to fit a photovoltaic system to your house. The first thing you do is not inform yourself about brands, reliability, cost effectiveness etc but about how much the government will give you to install them. This isn't a good premise but let's carry on.

Look at the brands producing phototovoltaic systems. The only big name that springs to mind is Siemens but there's a (huge) catch: Siemens only manufacturers inverters, safety devices and a few other components. It's mostly technology developed for other programs and recycled here. They do not manufacture the panels themselves, let alone full working systems. They do not invest directly into the sector. They just supply part of the equipment used and slap their name as part of a deal with less known companies. They just hopped aboard for the ride to milk subsidies and get some quick casheesh. If they truly believed in this technology they would invest their own money, like Shell is doing in the bythumous sands sector.

Another thing. Because they are heavily subsidized (hence taking away the need to offer buyers more cost-effective products), photovoltaic systems are still immensely expensive. Provided you get lucky (ie they do not break down after warranty has expired) and you have a good hail insurance you'll recover your investment in 10-15 years at 2008 energy price levels. So if you fitted a panel and 2008 you would have watched in horror as energy costs declined in 2009 (and natural gas-produced energy is still declining in cost in Europe) since it would take you more to cover your initial investment.

What could have been a potentially lucrative mass market has been turned into a niche market populated by firms which thrive on government intervention. There aren't enough people interested (most balk at the initial investment needed and rightly so) to attract heavyweight players with large, well funded R&D departments like Hamamatsu. There's also the threat that subsidies may be drastically cut or withdrawn: budget cuts are looming at the horizon and the first to get the axe will be sectors like this.

Together we go unsung... together we go down with our people
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