In order to make our country safer, President Donald Trump has promised to build a wall along our country’s southern border. Opponents of the wall, however, argue that it’s not worth the cost and that people will still be able to sneak into our country regardless of whether or not there’s a wall. They claim that they’d rather spend the money on green energy. To compromise, the Trump administration has come up with a brilliant idea to make both parties happy.
Earlier this week, President Trump announced that the planned border wall may include solar panels. Doing so would give us the benefit of solar energy while keeping our country safe at the same time. Unsurprisingly, this ingenious proposal has left opponents of the wall speechless.
According to reports, while speaking at a rally in Iowa, President Trump revealed that his administration has been thinking about building a southern border wall with solar panels attached. 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. And this way, Mexico will have to pay much less money, and that’s good, right?” He added, “a solar wall – it makes sense, let’s see, we’re working it out, we’ll see. Solar wall, panels, beautiful. I mean actually, think of it, the higher it goes, the more valuable it is.”
The idea to put solar panels on the wall has been discussed in the past. For example, in an article written last year, Homero Aridjis and James Ramey explored what the potential benefits might be. “A solar border would alleviate a range of binational problems,” they concluded. “Most importantly, it would make a significant contribution to the global battle against carbon emissions, since the electricity generated would be carbon neutral, and the purchase of so much solar technology would bring its price down further,” they explained, noting “the plants would be built using environmentally sensitive techniques for avoiding habitat loss for desert species.”
Additionally, they claimed that “if one were to construct the equivalent of a strip of arrays one-third the width of a football field south of the entire U.S.-Mexico border…sufficient energy might be produced to also supply Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Dallas, and Houston.”
On top of that, they argued that a solar wall would “have a civilizing effect in a dangerous area” and do a better job securing our border than a traditional wall. Specifically, they stated, “since solar plants use security measures to keep intruders out, the solar border would serve as a de facto virtual fence, reducing porousness of the border while producing major economic, environmental and security benefits on both sides. It would make trafficking drugs, arms and people all the more difficult for criminal cartels.”
Vasilis Fthenakis, director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, former director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University, also explored the idea in depth. They found that it was “not only technically and economically feasible, it might even be more practical than a traditional wall.” According to them, a 2,000-mile solar wall paid for by Mexico could cost less than $1 billion, which is much less than the tens of billions it would cost for a traditional border wall, and possibly become “wildly profitable.”
The idea to build a solar wall was also proposed by Gleason Partners LLC, a construction company based in Las Vegas. They claimed that by covering parts of the wall with solar panels and selling the electricity produced, the cost of construction could be covered in 20 years or less.
Hopefully, President Trump follows through with this excellent idea. Doing so would help reduce carbon emissions, power numerous U.S. cities, secure our border, and basically pay for itself.