The next time that someone complains that solar energy is too expensive and will never be competitive with coal, oil or natural gas, throw a few of these numbers their way: $72 billion – that’s how much money the US government spent between 2002 and 2008 on subsidies for fossil fuels according to a report by the Environmental Law Institute. That’s over $10 billion a year. And how much of that — you wonder — was spent to subsidize renewable energy over the same period? $29 billion – and half of that, was spent on ethanol subsidies alone. Uncle Sam spent twice as much to subsidize fossil fuel production and consumption and only 15% was spent to subsidize the renewable energies that really can change the way the world generates electricity (solar, wind, biomass, etc.).