Fox News: Solar only works in Germany because it gets more sunlight than US (false)

From the network that brought you WMD in Iraq, we learn that sure, solar power works in wacky places like Germany, but it would never work in the US because the Germans, bronze gods that they are, get far more sunlight than gloomy, cold, rainy America.  (Spoiler alert: It’s a lie.)

Anyone who has either lived in Europe, or spent time outside of the Mediterranean parts of Europe, knows that sunshine over here happens, but it’s hardly a daily occurrence.  Especially in northern Europe.  There’s a reason the Germans go to Greece for summer vacation, and not the other way around.

My weekend music posts often include me grumbling about the lousy weather over here. It’s even less sunny here than it was during my years in cloudy and gray Columbus, Ohio. To suggest that Germany has more sunshine than the US is laughable, but Fox always counts on the idiot factor from their viewers. Even then, their viewing numbers are in decline.

How could anyone think that Germany has more sun than the US, where we have sunny states such as Florida, Arizona? (And don’t rely on my anecdotes, check out the map below.) The Fox News guest really misses the mark in a way that only can be experienced on Fox News:

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.”

And for those wondering about the real world differences for sun in the US compared to Germany, Media Matters has a helpful map to clear up any confusion (below).

US sunlight vs. Germany, map by NRE.

US sunlight vs. Germany, map by NRE.

This is a map of solar power potential — i.e., it’s a map of how much sunlight the US gets and how much Germany gets — you’ll note that Germany is worse than the entire US, other than Alaska and Seattle.  Media Matters does note that while Germany has far less potential than the US for solar energy, Germany leads the world in solar power production.  In other words, it’s not because they get more sunlight.  Heck, even Alaska gets more sunlight than Germany!

So yes, Germany has much more sun, if you’re Marco Rubio and your pretty little balding head gets all befuddled by science:

And since Fox wants to badmouth subsidies to the solar industry, what about the billions every year to Big Oil?

The oil industry has been around for over a century, so it strikes me as odd that Fox is okay with propping up Big Oil, but howls after a few failures with the US solar industry investments. Oil is a path to nowhere since it’s becoming more expensive to drill and has a limited supply.

Call me after 100 years of solar subsidies and then start complaining. but until then, give it a rest, Fox.  (Then again, Fox is simply looking after the GOP corporate masters, as it always does.)

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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