Solar Spill

A      D        A         D
We never saw it coming.
A             D         E —
It caught us unprepared,
A              D      A
The day that solar power
D         A         E       A —
Started spilling everywhere.
At first it was a trickle,
But then it was a roar.
And nobody did ever see
The likes of this before.

ADA       E         A
Ooh, a solar spill,
A                       D            A               E        A
Who’s gonna pay the bill for a solar spill?

It covered all the creatures
On land and in the air.
It stuck to all their feathers,
Got tangled in our hair!
There was sunshine in the backyard,
And sunshine in the street.
Tracking it all over the place,
Be sure to wipe your feet!

Politicians all denied it,
There was nothing in the news,
And corporations terrified
That people got to choose.
Demanding cleaner energy,
Demanding cleaner air,
Demanding that we treat this earth
As if we really care!

You know, Exxon tried to stop it.
The Koch brothers were on the run.
‘Cause you can’t get any subsidies
From digging up the sun.
So people, take a lesson;
Good citizens beware:
A solar spill means giving up
Some corporate welfare!

Just think of all that energy
Coming from the sky.
Just think of all the power bills
That you can kiss goodbye!
And think of the economy,
Making energy at home.
You get more jobs than you can count
When the people make their own.

©2015 Doug Hendren & Nancy Beall

What’s it about? We’ve gotten so accustomed to the “hidden” costs of fossil fuels that we tend to ignore them when comparing the costs of alternative energy.

Crude oil and gas pipeline leaks and ruptures are occurring every day in the United States. Over 3,300 such leaks have occurred since 2010. See this map.

Did you know that the cheapest electricity in the United States now comes from wind and solar sources? Remarkably, this is true despite several unfair advantages enjoyed by the fossil fuel industry.

For example, burning coal burdens Americans with an extra $500 billion per year in health care costs, according to a Harvard study;  “negative externalities” associated with oil include military costs in lives and money, air pollution, ecological and economic losses from events like the 2010 BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. Natural gas pipeline explosions are all too common, and medical studies are only beginning to identify the hazards of contaminating groundwater and aquifers with fracking chemicals. And we’re not counting any costs relating to extreme weather events or climate change mitigation… yet.

Fortunately, renewable energy technology is now able to make electricity more cheaply than gas, coal or oil, and much more cheaply than nuclear sources. And solar power in particular is getting cheaper all the time. We officially passed the parity point in 2013.

Political opposition from fossil fuel interests have obscured this economic reality, but the writing is on the wall. Renewable energy investments (solar, wind, efficiency, building retrofitting, biomass, hydro) create three times more jobs per dollar invested than all fossil energy industries combined.

We are witnessing a “solar spill”, something difficult for fossil-backed politicians to recognize. One of our Virginia senators recently told a local newspaper solar was “still 20 or 30 years away”. Humorist Will Rogers once said “It’s amazing what a fella can’t see if he is paid not to see it!”


The Guardian: Fossil fuels subsidized by $10 million a minute, says IMF

Full cost of coal $500 billion / year in U.S., Harvard study finds.

The cheapest electricity in the US is…solar.


  1. Heather Banks says:

    At last, as SPILL we don’t have to contain, clean up, or pay for in contamination of the environment. In 1986 (!), I edited a report on LUST, leaking underground storage tanks. The worst offender is the Armed Services, and they don’t even leave records of underground fuel tanks on abandoned bases, etc. Next, farmers who abandon leaking tanks and just install new ones. Service stations are way down the list. The leaks take decades, perhaps centuries, to ooze completely into the ground and then ground water. And people will probably never be able clean them up, as locations are unknown.
    And fracking is worse!
    Thanks again, Doug!!! ;

  2. Great song, Doug. Good for you!
    I’m going to go wade in a solar spill…

  3. Bonnie MacEvoy says:

    Great, upbeat, and encouraging. Thanks for the wonderful dreams!

  4. Hurrah for the Connecticut Songwriters’ Association and their environmental songwriting contest, and congratulations to Doug for penning “Solar Spill.” It’s a real winner!

  5. Hi Doug
    Congratulations my friend. Keep in touch. We’ll be over your way week after next oct 12-13 with Kid Pan Alley at Lacey Springs Elementary. Let’s get together.
    Paul reisler

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