A Las Vegas business hoping to get a piece of the contract to build President Donald Trump’s border wall is pitching a unique design that it says would make the wall pay for itself — in case Mexico won’t pay. And it could appeal to progressives who otherwise are dead-set against the very idea of a barrier along the border with Mexico.
The solution? Solar panels.
Gleason Partners LLC, one of dozens of companies to submit bids, has proposed including solar panels on top of the wall. The panels would generate enough electricity to serve the power needs of the Department of Homeland Security operations along the border with enough electricity left over to sell on the open market.
“I envision it as a way they can have a revenue source and help pay for the maintenance of the wall and all the surveillance equipment and protect it,” managing partner Tom Gleason told LifeZette. “You have to have security for the security, so to speak … It’s going to be a boost to the economy and pay for itself if it’s done right.”
At least 200 companies expressed interest in the controversial border wall. April 4 was the deadline for submitting bids. According to the Associated Press, quoting government sources, the Trump administration expects four to 10 companies to be chosen to build the prototypes, costing $200,000 to $500,000 each.
It remains unclear whether the barrier ever will be built. After campaigning to make Mexico pay for the wall, the administration has requested a $1.4 billion down payment from U.S. taxpayers. But most Democrats fiercely oppose the project, and even some Republicans have expressed reservations.
“The big chunk of money for the wall, really, is … next fiscal year’s appropriations, because they literally can’t start construction even this quickly,” Hose Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told “CBS This Morning” last week.
That brought a rebuke from National Border Patrol Council President Brandon Judge on “Varney & Co.” on Wednesday: “President Trump promised he was going to secure the border, and part of securing the border is putting in place the proper technology and resources that allows us to be successful. And a border wall in strategic locations is one of those things that must get done.”
Gleason, who has an automotive background, said he got into the solar business about eight or nine years ago. He said his company is the first to sell solar windows for commercial and residential uses. He said it could be a boon to ranchers on both sides of the border, who would have easy access to electricity that would allow them to irrigate new land in remote areas.
Gleason’s border wall would face south to take advantage of the sun.
“In a way, Mexico’s going to pay for the wall, because the sun’s coming from south of the border,” he said.