8 months ago
President Donald Trump really wants to deliver on one of his most well-known campaign promises—building a wall on the Mexican border.
And not just any wall.
Recently, the president pitched Republican leaders on a proposal to cover the controversial wall with solar panels. Under the plan, the electricity generated would cover the costs of construction and maintenance.
Thomas Gleason, the managing partner of Gleason Partners LLC, a Las Vegas-based architecture firm, the brainchild behind the proposal to the Department of Homeland Security. Gleason told Business Insider on Wednesday that he’d been thinking about building a solar-paneled wall along the US-Mexico border “for months.”
The wall would generate enough power to pay for its construction in under 20 years, Gleason claims, but there are a few complications. The Mexican border is not a straight line and light intensity changes from month-to-month. His firm has not received the green light from the federal government to conduct a full evaluation.
Gleason said his estimate is predicted on the “cost of manufacturing solar panels decreasing over time.” According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, the price of installing solar panels has dropped from around $8 per watt in 2009 to $1.50 per watt in 2016.
According to Gleason, the panels on the proposed wall would be offset to avoid casting shadows. The panels would move to track the sun and would generate 2.0MWp per hour of electricity. They would be set on a concrete foundation, with fencing above and below the panels.
Importantly for Trump supporters, the panels would be manufactured in the U.S.
Business leaders within the renewable-energy sector recommend Trump’s decision to consider going solar, though say they might prefer a different location and purpose for a large solar installation.