The Farce Behind First Solar’s 60% Gains
Andy Snyder|August 31, 2022
How dumb does Congress think Americans are?
Our vote-addicted representatives either think we’re complete idiots… or are convinced we’re too lazy to stop the grift they use to make a living.
Much ink has already been spilled over the “Inflation Reduction Act.” It is a bogus and deceptive name. If a private company mislabeled something this boldly, criminal charges would be filed.
Fines, penalties and interest would ensure such fraud never happened again.
But that’s not our beat… at least not today.
This heinous piece of legislation is already making ripples in the economy – ripples that will do the opposite of what the bill’s name implies.
Today, we continue our look at the wild and speculative world of energy…
A “Temporary” Century
Milton Friedman once correctly said that there is “nothing so permanent as a temporary government program.”
The phrase defines the American energy sector.
Friedman uttered those words with the nation’s agriculture sector in mind. And he’s been proven right. It was, after all, nearly a century ago that the government passed the Agricultural Adjustment Act. It was to be a short-term move to help balance supply and demand during the Great Depression.
Today, the sector relies on more subsidies than ever… and much of the free money is aimed at turning our food into energy.
Our beloved contributor and the world’s most famous farmer, Joel Salatin, has made a career (and movies) out of fighting such horrendous ideas.
By almost all measures, America’s food would be cheaper and her citizens’ tax burdens lighter without this market-disrupting welfare. But as Friedman and so many others have proven, once a subsidy starts, it never stops.
That’s why we’re warning folks about cheering the headlines in the green energy space this week.
First Solar (FSLR) hit the news with word that it is spending $1.2 billion to boost its U.S. solar panel manufacturing capacity. Within 36 months, it says, it will be able to build a new solar array every 1.6 seconds.
“This expansion is an important step towards achieving self-sufficiency and solar technology which in turn supports America’s clean energy security ambitions, its deployment of solar at scale, and its ability to lead with innovation,” CEO Mark Widmar told the press.
It’s a farce.
Never mind the obvious inflationary implications of subsidizing this spending (at the exact time the Fed is working overtime to slow precisely this sort of growth). It’s the fact that this free-money manipulation will be permanent that should have us concerned.
Few folks realize that oil – as hated and picked-apart by Washington’s vote-addicted mongrels as any sector – is one of the most heavily subsidized industries on the planet.
A recent study by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute found that fossil fuels (despite efforts to eradicate the sector) still get $20 billion worth of subsidies each year. Worse… it found the number continues to grow.
Around the globe, some half a trillion dollars is spent propping up oh-so-evil fossil fuels each year.
And yet, folks scratch their heads in disbelief when the system melts down every few years and huge regions of the world go cold or can’t afford to fuel up.
One study we found this morning shows that Americans would be paying more than $12.50 for a gallon of gas if it weren’t for Uncle Sam’s deep pockets.
To be paying a fraction of that is not healthy. And surely the government would love to stop promoting the use of artificially cheap fuel. But it can’t. The nation would fall flat on its face without it.
And yet… we’re doing the same dumb thing with our latest “fuel” of choice.
Think about this…
The End Is Near!
How often have you heard talks about ending solar panel incentives? Going all the way back to the George W. Bush administration, we can remember the energy industry trying to rush us into panels. “Buy now,” it said, “before the tax credits go away.”
Guess what… they haven’t gone away yet.
In fact, they’re bigger and fiercer than ever.
The “Inflation Reduction Act” (we can’t type it with a straight face) sets aside $40 billion for the sector.
In all… it’s set to add a whopping $3 billion in cash to First Solar’s balance sheet over the next 36 months.
That’s $3 billion of taxpayer money going straight to propping up an industry that could just as easily stand on its own… if the government let it.
It’s no wonder shares of the company have gone up an inflation-stirring 60% in the last month.
Savvy investors who know how the game is played are about to have some very good times with all of this.
Washington is handing out a lot of free money.
And as history shows… it won’t be going away anytime soon.
Andy Snyder is an American author, investor and serial entrepreneur. He cut his teeth at an esteemed financial firm with nearly $100 billion in assets under management. Andy and his ideas have been featured on Fox News, on countless radio stations, and in numerous print and online outlets. He’s been a keynote speaker and panelist at events all over the world, from four-star ballrooms to Capitol hearing rooms.