Made-in-China? Pentagon, 30 federal agencies set to install solar panels

Analysis by WorldTribune Staff, June 13, 2024 Contract With Our Readers

The Pentagon and 30 other federal agencies are set to install solar panels on their buildings.

Perhaps they should attach large Made-in-China labels on them as well as 80 percent of all solar panels installed in the USA were produced in the bastion of communism.

The Pentagon / Wikimedia Commons

The Biden Energy Department said the 31 sites are receiving $104 million in grants that are expected to double the amount of carbon-free electricity at federal facilities and create 27 megawatts of clean-energy capacity while leveraging more than $361 million in private investment.

A group of Virginia Republicans in the House fired off a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in protest of the project:

“We write today to express strong concerns regarding implementation of the Biden administration’s executive order to make the federal government carbon neutral by 2050. As part of its green agenda, at the start of this year the Department of Defense announced that it would install solar panels on the Pentagon. We are deeply concerned that the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy are not demonstrating appropriate attention to the economic and national security risks posed by pursuing this initiative when Chinese solar manufacturers continue to dominate the marketplace, historically violate U.S. trade laws, and advance the surveillance activities of Chinese military and intelligence agencies.”

The letter continues: “Today, eight of ten solar panels installed in the United States come from China. Even if the Department of Defense and Department of Energy buys panels made in the United States, the metallurgical grade silicon and polysilicon needed for solar panels primarily comes from China. Further, if the Pentagon relies on solar energy for operation, it will necessitate increased dependence on battery storage capacity. China remains the world’s third largest producer for the lithium that batteries depend on,” they continued. “While Buy America Act requirements will also apply to any solar panels purchased for the Pentagon’s use, many requirements under the Act can be waived if it is in the public interest to do so.”

Brendan Owens, assistant secretary of Defense for energy, installations and environment, said the projects will improve energy resilience and reliability at the Pentagon and other military sites in the U.S. and Germany. He called energy use “central to everything we do.”

Solar panels will provide “an uninterrupted power source” at the Pentagon in case of a cyberattack or other outage to the bulk grid, as well as reduce strain on the building’s power load, PBS cited Owens as saying. pointed out that “solar panels are not carbon neutral. They are heavily carbon intensive to produce, transport and dispose of. The data used to claim carbon neutrality is also unreliable.”

From a report conducted by Environmental Progress:

“Information unearthed by Environmental Progress points to a gaping oversight in how the figures influencing government net zero policy and investments in solar worldwide are compiled and collated due to the difficulty of collecting accurate information out of China, especially for the purification processes used to create silicon wafers.

“Key to this blind spot is that the source material for most of the assessments is provided by a small number of data compilers, many if not all of them working in collaboration with the International Energy Agency (IEA). The data is voluntarily submitted by the industry in response to academic surveys. The nature and profile of the respondents is never publicly revealed, so that there is the potential for conflicts of interest to develop.

“A further puzzle is how that data feeds into an organization called Ecoinvent, a Swiss-based non-profit founded in 1998 that dubs itself “the world’s most consistent and transparent life cycle inventory database”. This data is relied on by institutions worldwide, including the IPCC and IEA itself, to calculate their carbon footprint projections, including the sixth assessment report published as recently as March 2023.

“Based on such data, the IPCC claims solar PV is 48 gCO2/kWh. But, as we’ll see below, a new investigation started by Italian researcher, Enrico Mariutti, suggests that the number is closer to between 170 and 250 gCO2/kWh, depending on the energy mix used to power PV production. If this estimate is accurate, solar would not compare favorably with natural gas, which is around 50 gCO2/kWh with carbon capture, and 400 to 500 without.”

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