Politics

Trump Proposes Using Solar Panels To Fund Border Wall

| by Lauren Briggs

President Donald Trump might use solar panels to help pay for the construction of a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

During a June 6 meeting with some of the top Republican members of Congress, Trump reportedly pitched an idea to cover the wall with solar panels and use any electricity generated from it to offset construction costs, three sources closely connected to the meeting told Axios.

At that meeting, Trump also said that he envisioned 40- to 50-foot-high "beautiful structures" covered with the panels and that the lawmakers were welcome to discuss the ideas as long as they said that Trump came up with it, the sources recalled hearing.

Most walls people hear about are 14 or 15 feet tall, Trump reportedly added, but this one would be nothing like those.

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The U.S. government received a similar plan when it asked for proposals earlier in 2017.

"I like the wall to be able to pay for itself," said Gleason Partners LLC Managing Partner Thomas Gleason, whose company proposed the solar-paneled wall, according to The Hill.

Ever since Trump took office, political observers have wondered exactly how he intends to fund his plans to create a barrier which would stand along the entire U.S.-Mexico border, since a number of Mexican leaders have come out in strong opposition to the idea of their nation funding it.

"The president is committed to building the wall and securing the border and I commend him for it," Republican House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana told The Hill after the meeting. "He's continuing to fight and following through on that promise. One idea he is looking at is a wall that would ... ultimately pay for itself."

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The Hill estimates that the wall Trump wants would cost $20 billion to build.

"I'm glad he's being innovative and I'm fully supportive of helping him build the wall however we can can legislatively," Scalise added. "He is continuing to pursue every option to make sure it happens."

Gleason, who said he voted for Trump but opposed the president pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, told the New York Daily News that his proposal would cost no more than $7.5 million per mile and would create two megawatts of electricity per hour, paying for itself "in less than a 20-year period."

"The revenue from the electricity will pay for the maintenance of the wall and the construction of the wall," Gleason told the paper. "There's third-party investors that want to pay for the wall if they do the solar wall, because it's a revenue producer."

Sources: Axios, The HillNew York Daily News / Photo credit: Steve Hillebrand, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/Wikimedia Commons

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