What a way to spend $179,00. Not only is funding this project completely unconstitutional, it’s a flat out bad investment even if it was paid for local government dollars or private funding. Roger Meiners takes a look at the return on investment for a solar installation at a fish hatchery in Montana.
This is what is referred to by Obama and company as stimulus dollars. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for advances in technology that will provide better, cheaper energy alternatives, but this is not the way to go about the process. I’ll even argue that it’s setting back progress specifically because companies selling alternatives like these solar panels know there will be federal stimulus funding, outright grants, and tax rebate schemes available that will subsidize the sale of their products and allow them to sell technology that is five or ten years old … at a profit.
All because it’s good public relations and makes people feel good about themselves.
So what’s the deal at the fish hatchery? From Meiners opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, with my emphasis in bold.
The fish hatchery uses about 34,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity annually. At 10 cents per kwh, that means a bill of $3,400. The solar panels, we are assured, will generate 75% of the hatchery’s electricity, at zero cents per kwh. Assuming so, the annual electric bill will fall by $2,550. Applying that sum to the cost, the recovery period for the solar panels (ignoring interest rates) is 70 years.
Solar panel experts say that panels have about a 25-year life, but the latest models, which no doubt are used in Ennis, may have a 40-year life. Taking that estimate, the panels leave us in the financial dark by 30 years.
An analogy … buy a new energy efficient car and pay for it over a five year time period. Normally, it would be a happy day for the consumer when you make payment number 60 and the owner continues to drive into the sunset. But in this example, the car is dead and needs to go to the junkyard after only 34 months.
You’ve got no car to drive, but you’re still paying for it for the next two years and two months.
How does that, in any way, shape or form, stimulate the economy? We’re spending money that we don’t have in the first place (generational theft) and getting nothing in return except someone, somewhere, feeling good about themselves.