Top Eight Manufacturers HUD Third Cycle Solar Demonstration Awards Total contract $1,005,911 1,056,783 Solaron 1,026,733 Miromit 408,536 231,327 Grumman Sunstream 223,183 Lennox Industries 219,534 Rom-Aire 107,663 Source: Solar Engineering, July 1977. Top Eleven Contractors ERDA Solar R&D Program, 1977 No. of Contractor contracts Total amount Martin-Marietta 3 $8,663,140 Honeywell 7 7,969,664 McDonnell-Douglas 2 6,216,064 Waste Management, Inc. 1 3,141,000 Aerospace Corporation 3 2,602,851 Lockheed 8 2,108,696 Boeing 3 1,969,687 General Electric 6 1,441,370 Westinghouse 4 1,276,513 Rockwell International 5 1,172,489 TRW, Inc. 2 1,141,427 Total $37,702,901 Source: “Active Prime Contracts, Federal Solar Program,” ERDA, July 31, 1977. .the top eight contractors were solar subsidiaries of familiar American corporations, including Exxon’s Daystar, which received more than $1 million of HUD’s $6 million in third cycle funds. The top four . manufacturersExxon/Daystar, Asarco/ Sunworks, Solaron, and Miromitabsorbed $3.5 million, or 58 percent, of HUD’s 1977 appropriation. The solar hardware purveyed in these contracts was anything but a bargain for the taxpayer. Solaron’s heating and hot water systems averaged $11,000 per unit, with some costing up to $15,000. Exxon/Daystar systemsmanufactured in Burlington, Massachusetts, and shipped as far west as Santa Monica, Californiaaveraged $9,500 per unit, with an upper bracket of $12,500. The prices specified in most of the other large contracts fell roughly in line with these, while Sunearth Solar Products, Inc., of Philadelphia, one of the few small companies not excluded from the HUD awards, managed to install its heating and hot water systems for an average price of $926 per unit. \(Similarly, Jim Piper charged $1,102 per unit in 1977 to install solar equipment in a 254-unit apartment complex in Ventura, The corporate -bureaucratic shuffle To the dismay of Piper and other entrepreneurs, costs like those which HUD is willing to bear are the rule rather than the exception in the federal solar program. And federal agencies are paying these exorbitant prices for the simple reason that corporate America has since 1972 been shaping and directing the national solar development effort. In fact, the corporations have joined major utilities, allied universities, and friendly government agencies \(staffed in many cases by former executives from corporate investments in conventional energy technologies by prolonging solar research and slowing the pace of solar develby emphasizing solar technologies which themselves can be hegemony over the mass consumer market for solar products when finally it is permitted to emerge. The implementation of this strategy has included any number of standard corporate maneuvers. The major “energy” companies, even though they have been buying up small but promising solar enterprises, have published advertisements aimed at blunting public expectations with regard to solarat least in this century. Houston Lighting & Power, for example, tells us that solar energy is “attractive as a solution to some of our energy problems,” but laments that “we are years away from the time solar power can really help.” An ad from Middle South Utilities cautions its ratepayers: “Solar energy has the potential to be one of the answers to our energy problems. But it will be many years before it can become an economically feasible source of electric energy.” Mobil Oil, perhaps the best at this game, invokes the talisman of science, with a capital “S,” to convince us that the obstacles to solar energy development are natural rather than man-made. “The nice warm feelings generated by Sun Day . . . won’t substitute for Science,” warned a recent Mobil ad, which continued: “An economy based on Solar Energy is going to be difficult and costly to create.” Evidently exasperated by a citizenry that has caught on to the promise of rapid progress in solar technology, Mobil countered with yet another authoritative pronouncement: “The scientists who really know solar energy need to constantly remind the publicand the press that a solar-powered economy is a lovely idea and a worthy goal, but still a long, long way off.” Meanwhile, these same industries that are poor-mouthing the prospects for solar development have been hustling the government for full partnership rights in the federal solar program. The Electric Power Research Institute, a national R&D consortium of electric utilities, has signed a “memorandum of understanding” with DOE which gives it a privileged role in the fashioning of U.S. energy development policy. It is so privileged, in fact, that it is legally questionable: such memos are intended for use between government agencies, not between government and industry. Through similar arrangements and alliances, such corporations as Exxon, Honeywell, Grumman and Lennox have established and strengthened solar subsidiaries with millions of dollars from the federal solar program. This has been lucrative for the corporations. A startlingly candid June 27, 1977, article in Business Week magazine in THE TEXAS OBSERVER ;%k 7
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