Donald Trump has blustered and blared that he is going to build a wall between the US and Mexico and make Mexico pay for it. Two people, Homero Aridjis and James Ramey, have a better idea.Writing for the Huffington Post, they propose that Mexico should build a wall of solar panels just south of the US border and use the electricity generated to power industrial development within the country.
The pair argue that production and construction costs are lower in Mexico than in the US, meaning that Mexico could get more electricity per dollar spent than would be possible north of the border. The power produced could be distributed by a high voltage direct current (HVDC) grid to such US cities as San Diego, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Tucson, Phoenix, El Paso, San Antonio. Albuquerque, Dallas, and Houston, earning Mexico significant income. The solar panel wall would also help to secure the border between the two countries, as the installation would require full time protection.
The authors point out that such protection would provide much needed jobs for Mexican citizens while the production and installation of the solar wall would likewise provide employment to Mexican workers. Taken as a whole, such a project would take a mindlessly arrogant and stupid suggestion by Trump and turn it into an economic boon for Mexico.
In addition, such an extensive solar installation would go a long way toward helping Mexico meet its commitments to the world community it agreed to at the COP 21 climate summit in Paris last year. That commitment includes generating 35% of the nation’s electricity from renewable sources by 2025. The effect of lower carbon emissions on global climate change would be substantial.
Some of the power produced could be devoted to desalinization plants along the Pacific Ocean to help battle chronic water shortages in the northern sections of Mexico. Water could also be sold to parched areas of the US, generating more cash flow across the border to benefit the Mexican economy. Mexico has recently amended its constitution to encourage foreign and domestic investment in the electric power sector, making international long term loan guarantees for solar plants relatively easy to obtain.
The two authors conclude their proposal with these words. “If the initiative were framed as a big charismatic project that has the full backing of the Mexican government, garnering the admiration of the rest of the world, it would position Mexico as an exemplary world leader in combating climate change. Mexico and the U.S. would be connected by a truly beautiful wall ― a symbol of unity, visible even from space.” It would also serve as a colossal poke in the eye to Donald Trump and his towering ignorance.