Fox News Claims Solar Won't Work in America Because It's Not Sunny Like Germany
Just another sun-soaked afternoon in Pillnitz, eastern Germany. Photo by Matthias Hiekel/AFP/Getty Images
hanks to Fox News and its expert commentators, millions of Americans now understand the real, hidden reason why Germany's solar-energy industry is so much further along than ours. Turns out it has nothing to do with the fact that Germany's government has long supported the industry far more generously, with policies like feed-in tariffs that stimulate investment in green technologies. No, the real reason is much simpler, explained a trio of journalists on Fox & Friends: It's always sunny in Germany!
Joshi's jaw-dropping response: "They're a smaller country, and they've got lots of sun. Right? They've got a lot more sun than we do." In case that wasn't clear enough for some viewers, Joshi went on: "The problem is it's a cloudy day and it's raining, you're not gonna have it." Sure, California might get sun now and then, Joshi conceded, "but here on the East Coast, it's just not going to work."
Gosh, why hasn't anyone thought of that before? Wouldn't you think that some scientist, somewhere, would have noticed that the East Coast is far less sunny than Central Europe and therefore incapable of producing solar power on the same scale?
You would—if it were true. As Media Matters' Max Greenberg notes, it isn't. Not even remotely. According to maps put out by the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory, virtually the entirety of the continental United States gets more sun than even the sunniest part of Germany. In fact, NREL senior scientist Sarah Kurtz said via email, "Germany's solar resource is akin to Alaska's," the U.S. state with by far the lowest annual average of direct solar energy.
A map of the relative direct solar-energy availability in the United States, Spain, and Germany. Red = highest, purple = lowest.
Illustration courtesy of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory
I look forward to Fox News' correction. Meanwhile, enjoy toggling between the video above and the map below and shaking your head.