LETTER: Is solar garden info deceptive?

Reader Norm Yanke questions the numbers.

Re: “Solar garden over halfway to sales goal,” Nov. 27

This $300,000 or more project won’t make enough power for four average homes.

A Star article from 2012 says Nelson Hydro made a windfall profit of $500,000, all earned from April through August, when lake levels were high. This is the same time almost all annual solar power is also made. During this time the solar garden power, if sold to BC Hydro, would bring $250.

That same article said BC Hydro, who buys our power, didn’t need it. I asked Alex Love, manager of Nelson Hydro to clarify:did they or didn’t they earn $500,000? This makes solar power absolutely worthless worse, it’s a waste of $300,000.

He replied that was a long time ago. It’s 2015; 2012 isn’t a long time ago. He also said he could only remember once whenBC Hydro didn’t buy Nelson Hydro’s excess power.

A BC Utilities Commission submission from Nelson Hydro stated Nelson Hydro makes 28 GWh of extra power annually. To help you understand that number it would be 700 solar gardens worth of annual power. BC Hydro pays less than a penny,actually 0.7 cents/kWh, for Nelson’s excess power. The entire year of solar garden power if sold to BC Hydro wouldn’t bring$400.

It’s clear Nelson Hydro makes a lot of excess power, not always able to be sold, that would result in the cleanest and greenest power we know, waterpower, just spilling over the dam. This makes solar power worthless.

This is supposed to reduce greenhouse gas. How? We are sending the cleanest and greenest power over the dam. Solar actually increases greenhouse gas. They say the solar garden will mitigate winter excess power purchase costs from Fortis, last year $6.4 million. During that time the solar garden power made could be bought from Fortis for less than $500. We pay a lot more for excess power from Fortis than BC Hydro pays for our excess power almost six times more.

They call this an investment and say everyone opting in will get a credit. From what?

The project was to be only $25,000 from Nelson Hydro to get it started and all future costs paid for by those opting in. I asked Mr. Love under whose authority and when this changed. He didn’t answer. Now every Nelson Hydro customer is in for at least half of this project cost. Mr. Love blocked my emails to his staff saying I was wasting their time. I was trying to educate and help.

Do those who bought in know this? Will they proudly display the stickers in their window for every solar panel they bought?Help this city: go ask for your money back.

The solar garden is a political greenwashing feel good waste.

Norm Yanke

Nelson