District Court Solar Update

We just finished a year's worth of energy production with the District Court's solar panel installation. From October 2010 thru September 2011 the panels produced 11,001 kilowatt hours (kwh). During that same period my house, which is 1,800 sf and built in 1888, produced 10,352 kilowatt hours.

The project cost was $39,900 and the City receives a $1.50 per kwh rebate from the state for one year. It was financed using Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant funds. If we were a private residence we would also be eligible for a 30% tax credit. This would put the project at an 11.5 year payback.

From a pure economic standpoint that payback period would make sense, but in order to get there these subsidies must exist. This begs the question, why subsidize solar or any other renewable energy projects and what other benefits come with renewable energy?

The freedom of never paying an electricity bill is one. The idea of being able to put electricity back on the grid would be amazing. Having a home that produces zero carbon and perhaps charges your car (electric vehicles are here!) would solidify your personal independence and bring value to the community. Check out the previous post on the military's investment in alternative energy if you don't believe me.

Distributed generation is also a strategic plus for our country. With power plants you have concentrated sources of energy that can be disrupted by a storm, mechanical failures, rolling blackouts, or terrorist attacks. Having multiple energy producers makes the grid more resilient which will be of even greater importance going forward.




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Covering the game changing discussions that are taking place in the realm of sustainability. From the impact of the City of Fayetteville's decision to switch its fleet to biodiesel to Paul Stamet's research in the Pacific Northwest on how mycelia...

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