Can A Town Be Too Green?

solarpanelroofAccording to the International Herald Tribune citizens in the German town of Marburg are beginning to wonder “can a town be too green” as legislation was passed forcing them to install solar panels on any new home or existing home that is receiving renovations. Many citizens believe this to be an infringement on personal property rights saying that the government has no right to force them to purchase solar panels.

This response raises the question of how truly efficient are these panels if the public is being forced to adopt them into their daily lives. Basic economics states that anytime the benefits out weigh the cost of a particular good then that good will be willingly attained by the general public.  Now going back to the solar panels, if the panels are so great at saving people money on their utility bills then why have they not already been brought into wide spread use? This could be for a number of reasons. One reason could be that consumers believe that the current solar panel is not worth is price and that it must become more efficient to meet public standards.  But if governments are forcing their citizens to adopt the current technology the solar panel companies will have no incentive to innovate and develop newer technologies because they are not at the hands of the free market which forces companies to be innovative.

Along with putting solar panels on every new house the Marburg government also decided that any old house receiving renovations would also have to install these new panels. This in turn has caused many citizens to halt their plans of renovation because of the extra cost of installing a solar panel system. So instead of receiving the must need renovations many old houses sit wasting  heat and energy through their uninsulated roofs and walls making this law entirely counter productive. Instead of cutting the amount of energy needed to heat older homes the amount has now increased because home owners can no longer afford to fix these problems.

This helps show that even on the topic of saving the environment and going green the government is able to turn the project entirely counter productive and make its citizens worse off then before. For a society to become productive the government must allow the free market to act as a quality control and direct goods to where they are most valued instead of creating laws trying to do just that.


Published in: on January 14, 2009 at 1:48 pm  Leave a Comment  
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