Amazing Infographic Shows the Anti-Climactic History of Solar Power

By Published on February 19, 2016

Solar power is the industry of the future … and has been for more than 40 years.

Solar power has existed since the 1839 and the world’s first rooftop solar array was built in New York in 1883. Solar power has received  financial support from the American government since 1954 and has been heavily favored by the government since the 1970s.

The chart created by the Institute for Energy Research shows the history of government involvement in the solar industry.

Energy graph

Today, solar power gets 326 times more in subsidies than coal, oil or natural gas per amount of energy generated.

Congress been increasing taxpayer support for solar and other green energy as well. Energy Information Administration (EIA) data from 2007 shows that solar energy was subsidized at $24.34 per megawatt hour and wind at $23.37 per megawatt hour.

By contrast, coal received $0.44, natural gas and petroleum received $0.25, hydroelectric $0.67 , and nuclear power $1.59 per megawatt hour. In 2010, subsidies were even higher, reaching $775.64 per megawatt hour for solar power.

In 1999, green subsides were a mere 17 percent of total subsidies, by 2007 that had risen to 29 percent. Over the same time period, natural gas and petroleum-related subsidies declined from 25 percent to 13 percent of total subsidies according to the Institute for Energy Research.

Despite these enormous subsidies, solar power was responsible for only 0.4 percent of all electricity generated in the United States during 2014 according to the EIA.  Meanwhile, coal power produced 39 percent, natural gas produced 27 percent, and nuclear power produced 19 percent of all American electricity during 2014.


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