I was amused when I first saw the above photo of a pro-solar billboard ad in upstate New York cycle through my Facebook feed a few days ago. The slogan was evidently the brainchild of a group called Vote Solar, which was hoping to encourage New York state politicians to support clean energy legislation—back in 2010.
The premise reminded me of that gag that went viral during the height of the BP spill, when Reddit featured this photo with the tagline:
"BREAKING: Large Air Spill at Wind Farm. No threats reported. Some claim to enjoy the breeze."
When the Vote Solar billboard popped up for a second, third, and fourth time, I was pleased to conclude that the thing had gone at least semi-viral. Two years after it was put up.
Grist explains that the legislation had been defeated, and the ad taken down. Jess Zimmerman also collected some of the other ideas Vote Solar had considered using:
-Solar: It’s actually a $30 billion global industry. Please do not tell the hippies.
-Solar is 99.9% reliable in New York. You’re thinking of the moon-power panels. Those are useless.
-What about the huge, free nuclear power plant in the sky? What if we just used that?
Nice. So why is the billboard photo experiencing resurgent popularity? Your guess is as good as mine—you know the interwebs; always rehashing and recycling old memes and forgotten gags. Let's be glad it resurfaced, though: The U.S. solar industry is in the midst of a dark stretch, if only because the GOP and its cheerleading pundit class have gone to lengths to paint the whole sector as a socialistic failure. (Of course, it's anything but—clean energy was and still is still a major source of job growth in recessionary times)
Nonetheless, clean energy companies could probably use the laugh.