One of the projects that are still listed on President Donald Trump’s agenda is the construction of the wall across the southern border, the better to control illegal immigration, Mention of the wall and the idea that Trump would make Mexico pay for it was a sure fire applauds line during the campaign. Months into the Trump presidency, progress on the wall has been stymied by the fact that neither Mexico nor congressional Democrats are willing to pay for it. Now, President Trump has hit upon, thanks to a contractor in Las Vegas, to make the sun pay for the wall.

The border wall as a giant solar energy collector

The idea, advanced by Gleason Partners LLC of Las Vegas, is to cover the wall with solar panels. The solar panels would power lights and sensors along the wall, with plenty left over to sell to utilities. The contractor claims that the solar collector wall would cost $6 million per mile and would pay for itself over 20 years.

Trump presents the idea to congressional leaders

The president had a meeting with congressional leaders during which a number agenda items were discussed, including the wall. He suggested that the solar panel covered wall would be 40 to 50 feet high instead of the standard 14 feet high. Trump also asked that if the idea is discussed in Congress that it be presented as coming from him.

Could the solar collector wall work?

The idea of a border wall that doubles as a giant solar power collector is a beguiling one. One wonders if some Democrats, opposing the wall as a means to control immigration, would find it more attractive as a way to combat climate change by generating electricity from solar energy. Hot Air cheekily mentions that if the electricity were sold to Mexican utilities, it might constitute making Mexico pay for the wall.

The cost seems to be attractive as well, coming to $11.724 billion or so if one imagines that the wall covers the entire southern border.

Thus far, the border wall is not only opposed by Democrats and the Mexican government but by landowners along the southern boundary whose property would have to be seized under eminent domain.

Environmentalists also oppose the wall along the Arizona-Mexico border, claiming that it would disrupt migratory patterns of a number of species, some of them endangered such as the American jaguar. The wall is also said to encroach upon sacred Native American land. These and other considerations will likely be the subject of litigation for some time to come.