Solar wall: Could Trump’s bright idea actually work?

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Solar panels covering a wall on the border with Mexico… Forget the actual reason why US President Donald Trump wants to build the thing and just think economics and science for a second.

The crazy idea might actually work and it might actually create energy and pay for itself. When you consider that the wall will be in one of the sunniest places in the world and the fact that solar panels cover many buildings these days, the US President might actually be on to a winner. Trump’s solar wall at the border would be at least 3,200 kilometres long, so if the idea does actually come to fruition, it could become one of the biggest sources of renewable energy in the United States.

US Congress has so far rejected the solar wall plan, and it’s certainly without its critics, but the noise that Trump is making has caused the value of shares in solar panel production companies in the United States to shoot up.

Trump defends decision to withdraw from Paris Accord

a solar wall

Trump’s ego, of course, came into play. Speaking at a political rally in Iowa, which is in the United States’ rust belt, he said: “We’re thinking of something that’s unique. We’re talking about the southern border, lots of sun, lots of heat.”

“We’re thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy, and pays for itself. Mexico will have to pay much less money to build it. A solar wall makes sense … solar wall, panels, beautiful,” Mr Trump said.

“I mean, actually think of it — the higher it goes the more valuable it is. It’s like … pretty good imagination. Right? Good? My idea!”

Panels along the wall are among proposals that have been submitted by companies to the Department of Homeland Security, according to media reports.

Trump also defended his decision to withdraw the US from the Paris climate accord aimed at curbing global warming, saying it would have cost the country “millions of lost jobs and billions of lost dollars”. ”I could tell you stories, I could give you stats, I could go on all day,” he said.

“It’s a catastrophe if we would have agreed. They all say it’s non-binding — like hell it’s non-binding. “When we get sued by everybody because we thought it was non-binding, then you can tell me it was non-binding.”

Trump says that solar power could be exported to grids in the US and/or Mexico and the revenue from selling the produced electricity back to the grid would be used to pay for the project.

Solar share value jumps in the US

As crazy as it all sounds, shares of manufacturers rose sharply, with SunPower jumping 13 per cent, Canadian Solar up 7.7 per cent, JinkoSolar up 4.4 per cent and First Solar up 3.2 per cent.

However, some analysts are sceptical, saying it could take more than a century for solar panels to generate enough power to cover the cost of President Trump’s planned border wall.

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