Federal Subsidies to Solar Up 626%, Subsidies to Wind Up 946%

By | August 17, 2011 | 5:04 PM EDT

Solar panels. (AP Photo)

(CNSNews.com) – While President Barack Obama wants to end subsidies that go to oil and natural gas companies, a new Department of Energy report shows that federal subsidies to clean energy are way up, with solar seeing a subsidy increase of 626 percent between FY 2007 and 2010 and wind getting a 946 percent increase.

In April 2011, Obama repeated his call to end subsidies to oil and gas companies and said that “instead of subsidizing yesterday’s energy, we should invest in tomorrow’s,” adding that “clean energy can lead to new jobs and new businesses,” and “[a]n investment in clean energy today is an investment in a better tomorrow.”

The report by the Energy Department’s Energy Information Administration (EIA), released in late July, shows that direct federal financial interventions and subsidies in FY 2010 to clean energy equaled $14.67 billion – up from $5.1 billion in FY 2007.

Direct federal subsidies to the solar industry rose from $179 million (in 2007) to $1.13 billion (in 2010). That represents an increase of 626 percent.

For the wind industry, it received $476 million in direct subsidies in 2007 and got $4.98 billion in 2010. That translates into an increase of 946 percent.

In the EIA report, it defines direct federal financial interventions and subsidies as “subsidies that are provided by the federal government, provide a financial benefit with an identifiable federal budget impact, and are specifically targeted at energy markets.”

These include direct cash outlays to producers and consumers; “tax expenditures that reduce the tax liability of firms or individuals who take specified actions that affect energy production”; research and development expenditures to increase or improve the “efficiency of various energy consumption, production, transformation, and end-use technologies”; loans and loan guarantees for certain energy technologies; and expenditures for electricity programs for consumers in certain geographic regions of the country.