Saturday, July 3, 2010

2 billion for a solar power plant...really?

Due to some recent events I have not had much time to write but I ran across something that I had to comment on which applies to all three of my blogs. I haven't had much time to research all of the information so forgive me if some of it may not be 100% accurate.

I read today that Obama has awarded nearly $2 billion in conditional grants to a pair of solar energy companies that have pledged to build plants in the United States. You can read the entire story on your favorite news site so I will leave most of it out.

Why are we giving 2 billion dollars to a foreign company to build a solar plant that will take up countless acres of land when the same principle can be applied to each home. You can add a grid-tied PV solar array to your house for around $10,000 that can at least decrease your dependancy on grid provided power. Or in some cases provide enough power that you feed power back into the grid causing your meter to run backwards and generating "credits" that can be sold back to your power company.

Take that same two billion dollars and apply it to homeowners so that they can add these systems to their houses. According to the press release the plant which will create 1,600 temporary jobs and be able to power 70,000 homes, which on the surface sounds great. What happens when those 1,600 jobs are over, and of those how many of them are actually going to pull people out of the unemployment lines. And this brings me to my biggest problem with this plan. This plant is going to provide power for 70,000 homes that means it will cost $28,571 per home and still require the home owners to pay a monthly power bill. If that same money was applied at the homeowner's level then nearly three houses could be powered for the same price as one, no land would be used up, we would see a reduction in our power bills (which is a true economic stimulus) and we would be feeding renewable energy back into the power grid for others to use.

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