President Donald Trump’s latest proposal to install solar panels to erect an anti-immigrant wall on its border with Mexico seems a bright idea, but according to experts consulted, it faces numerous obstacles.
The central argument of the Republican’s campaign to build a border wall continued to be promoted by the new president at the beginning of his term, but he has failed to get much support from Congress, which has refused to fund it. So he is now trying to resurrect the project by adding an ecological touch.
“I will give you an idea that nobody has heard yet: the southern border, very hot, lots of sun … we reflect on the construction of a wall as a solar wall,” he said during a rally in front of his sympathizers gathered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, according to the agency. “This would generate energy and this would finance it,” he added.
The expert association Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) has given a cautious welcome to this recognition of renewable energy. But others are sceptical about the implementation of such a project.
For solar energy to be cost-effective, buyers and users need not be installed too far from the source of production, noted Anya Schoolman, head of Community Power Network, an association that supports local and regional solar projects.
“These boards are going to be in the middle of nowhere. It is difficult to see who will buy this energy,” he added, adding that the wall, which is estimated to cover 3,200 kilometres in length, is going to cross several states.
This involves not only different regulations but also different partners at the level of energy producing companies or distributors.
For Edward Alden of the Council on Foreign Relations, “a wall of solar panels would be better than just a barricade, but the long distances between this border and the places where energy will be consumed make this project run the risk of being unprofitable.”