LETTER: The economics of the solar garden

Those who paid their $500 down on the Nelson community solar garden should think twice about paying the invoice for the remainder.

Those who paid their $500 down on the Nelson community solar garden should think twice about paying the invoice for the remainder to be sent out any time now.

At the recent public city budget meeting I asked the manager of Nelson Hydro, Alex Love, what makes the solar garden green. His response: “nobody said it was green.”

He states it aligns with the city’s Path to 2040 that’s all about carbon reduction and GHGs, yet the solar garden increases our carbon footprint. I haven’t had a response from Mr. Love yet regarding my question how this aligns with the Path to 2040.

Our dam makes power for two cents per kilowatt hour and sells for 10 cents, reducing our city taxes and paying for city services. One of the solar garden 245 watt solar panels will make the same power in a year our dam makes for less than $5.

Historical data, years of it, shows in Nelson one kilowatt of solar panels can make from 800 to 1,100 kWh annual power. The LVR public solar demonstration system with years of data shows it’s less than 900 kWh annually.

For those who bought one panel, the calculation is as follows: 0.245 kilowatt per panel times 800 to 1,100 kWh per panel per year times two cents per kilowatt hour equals $3.92 to $5.39. SD8 bought 10 solar panels. Larry Brown, SD8 operations manager told the Star this is the first solar project that makes economic sense. Why is SD8 funding anything about this project? LVR already has a solar demonstration system from a $25,000 grant with years of data.

Haida Gwaii just received $89,000 for solar panels, likely tied to Prince Rupert as the least sunny place in the world. If everyone who bought a solar panel refuses to pay the invoice balance and believes they were misled, I am sure the $500 would be refunded. This isn’t news to the manager of Nelson Hydro or city council. I have been telling them for two years now this is a boondoggle. They are going ahead? Why?

Norm Yanke, Nelson

 

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