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Shining Pigs

The allusions to pork in every bill congress votes on often makes me want to swear off bacon for good. I’m sure that Friday’s bailout was no different. 451 pages? That right or was I reading an article that tried to make reference to Farenheight 451? One bit of tastey pork that someone slipped into the $700 Billion Bailout package was an extension of the solar energy credit. Back in June in my post Bad Energy Mojo, I complained that congress let the credits for wind and solar expire. Now it’s back and better than ever, a 30% credit with no limit. More details available from the SanFrancisco Business Times article Massive Solar credit Ok’d with Bailout.
I talked some numbers in April’s Waiting for the Sun, where I offered that a 1KW system would cost about $9500 installed, and give the user $360 worth of power each year. Now, with a 30% credit, the cost is down to $6650, and that $360 of electricity is a 5.4% return, an attractive rate given the alternatives. I remain optimistic that this snowballs into a competitive alternate energy source, ultimately offering the US energy independence.


  • Augustine October 6, 2008, 11:22 am


    In spite of your enthusiasm for solar energy, a return on investment of almost 20 years WITH subsidies demonstrates why it’s just another pork. If solar energy were that good, it wouldn’t require subsidies and these figures indicate why it’s not.

  • JOE October 6, 2008, 3:30 pm

    I respect your opinions and will always approve your posts. You get me thinking about my position and my writing style. The progress in solar power efforts are not comparable to processor technology, you’ve taught me that. I do think there’s a tipping point where solar is a better deal than purchasing from the power company. I also know that electricity costs continue to rise while solar generation does drop, albeit more slowly than I’d like. I also need to research more about variable pricing, i.e. when power companies charge more at times of peak demand for comercial customers. My local supermarket will have a breakeven cost much higher than mine as they pay that premium. So if they can use solar to just kill that peak demand, they may find the current systems are worth buying. And cost does drop with increased volume production (within reason, of course.)
    As always, your input is welcome and appreciated.

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