As an addendum to Mike’s post Monday about Evergreen Solar and Ed Glaeser’s comments, note that WW at The Economist’s Democracy in America blog has also posted some remarks on the subject. In particular, he focuses on the use (or uselessness) of solar technology subsidies as social policy:
If subsidies for solar-panel manufactures is good policy, that’s because it forestalls future costs to the economy and the environment by hastening the day alternative-energy sources become cheaper than coal and oil. But these supports make sense neither as a way of creating jobs nor as a way of reducing income inequality. Indeed, because state subsidies to industry so rarely produce a stable source of jobs or growth, in the end they tend to amount to little more than transfers of taxpayer money to rich people.