President Trump met with top Republican lawmakers on Tuesday, and suggested adding solar panels to the wall with Mexico. The idea is that the electricity generated could be sold to pay for construction and maintenance of the wall, which has yet to receive funding.
Experts differ if the project would make economic sense, with one projecting the solar panels could generate enough electricity to pay off the wall in 20 years, while most experts have predicted that the added costs would never be paid off. The demand for electricity on the US side of the border is fairly low, so sales to Mexico where there is greater demand makes the most sense. Is this the way that Mexico could actually pay for the wall?
Another issue is that the solar panels would almost certainly be made outside of the United States in either China or Taiwan. With Trump withdrawing from the Paris Accord, China reaffirmed its place as the global leader when it comes to renewable energy, and especially solar. Having already built massive solar farms in the Gobi desert, China is the natural choice when it comes to expertise in solar power generation in projects of this size.
The fact that Trump may try to incorporate renewable energy in his plan to build a border wall is an ironic twist to his commitment to coal, and his past bashing of solar and wind projects.
How many more billions of dollars will @BarackObama continue to waste in these solar companies?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 30, 2011
In three years people won’t be building wind turbines anymore – they are obsolete & totally destroy the environment in which they sit.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 23, 2013