Trump's new idea - a 'solar wall' on Mexican border

President Donald Trump revealed Wednesday that he has proposed a "solar wall" along the southern border, suggesting for the first time that the sun, and not Mexico, might pay for his signature campaign pledge. "We're thinking about building the wall as a solar wall so it creates energy and pays for itself", Trump said to the cheering audience. "I will give you an idea that nobody has heard about yet", he said. "And that's good, right?" At least one of the border wall designs submitted to the Trump administration includes solar panels, according to proposals obtained by the Associated Press.

Mr Trump claimed as a candidate that Mexico would fully fund his impenetrable border wall but the Mexican government has rejected that possibility. "Good? My idea", he said.

So far the US Congress has not committed funding to the project, agreeing only to finance maintenance on existing parts of the border fence.

Trump has been criticized by some of his supports for what they see as a lack of attention to one of his key campaign promises. Trump was quick to point out that he came up with the idea.

Mexico's foreign ministry and the office of President Enrique Peña Nieto declined to comment when asked about Trump's vow that the country would pay less for the wall under his plan. "I mean actually think of it, the higher it goes the more valuable it is", he added. Axios reported earlier this month that Trump pitched the solar panel idea to congressional leaders in a closed-door meeting, though it's not clear how serious he was. "The truth is, the people love us", Trump crowed to the Iowa gathering. Vasilis Fthenakis, director of the Center for Life Cycle Analysis at Columbia University, and Ken Zweibel, former director of the Solar Institute at George Washington University, concluded it was "not only technically and economically feasible, it might even be more practical than a traditional wall". "We will BUILD THE WALL!"

WaPo's Dino Grandoni wrote that "experts who have taken the solar-paneled border wall proposal seriously say such a structure would have significant issues". US lawmakers haven't been enthusiastic about paying for it either.

  • Julie Sanders