I have always been a skeptic. Noah’s Ark (good story) no way. Flat earth in 1492 no! The Republicans do not want to spend? Ronald Regan proved that wrong. Global cooling? Oh I mean warming? Not sure anymore. But how about Solar Power? And why should we toy with the idea when power is so cheap here in Utah? The answer is in my title. We plant tulip trees, that take 26 years to bloom, and we die and leave our children money. I recently sat down with a very informative gentleman by the name of Brad Stevens. Jeff mentioned Brad a couple weeks ago in his blog. Brad owns a company that deals in Solar and Wind systems. Now you say if he owns the company why would you believe him? Well I didn’t. I went to work trying to figure this out for myself. I wasted some time, some time was spent on the productive side and some was just re-inventing others work. First Solar Panels are expensive. They are very easy to install. They work great when the sun is shining and not at all if they have a shadow on them. They do not require battery systems. And yes they are bad for the environment when we dispose of them. The new Panels have an approximate life of 50 years.
But wait here is the coolest part, THEY HAVE SUBSIDIES. This is money given by the government (you and I ) and power companies to buyers of Panels as an incentive to purchase these kinds of products. I asked Jeff what the hell is up with that. He went away and did some research, came back with why not Dave, they still subsidize the Oil industry. He convinced me that in order to get all of the future benefits from a technology we need to simulate “thought”. And that is what we are doing by the subsidy. The Panels have vastly improved over the last few years, as well as installation techniques. The number of users has increased and brought the price down and improved the product. Ok cool. So let’s get in this soon. Here are some of the subsidies that are being offered now. The state of Utah is somewhat behind others with the money they credit you with, (tax credits) at 25% or $2000 which ever is less. The Federal government is good to us giving 30%of the cost of the system. Lastly the power companies have different kinds of subsidies and less often (not always) , like $1.50-$2.00 per watt that your system generates. Keep in mind that none of these come to in cash; they come as Tax Credits by the Government and Bill Credits by the power companies.
What should I do about this? I started with the New Star Office/Mill a building , where we use on average of $500 worth of power per month at an average cost of 6.5 cents (lower than residential power by a penny)per Kilo Watt Hour= kwh,(10-100 watt bulbs burning for one hour)and we use about 7700 kwh each mouth. My bet is that you never would have thought that you could light 10-100 watt bulbs for an hour for only 7.5 cents? So we use about $6000 worth of power per year. And about 92000 kwhs. So here is the basic math. The Solar system for my office (full 92000 kwhs) will cost around $175,000. If I time it right the subsidy from the power company is about $53,000, the State $2,000 (cheap) and the Feds about $36,000. Bringing the cost down to a mere $84,000.
S%&@ that is a lot of Money to shell out for Solar power when we could buy stock in Wasatch or Squatters Beer (the price of which I control by ????) and earn maybe a 5% return until we die and leave it to our kids? No! No! No! Back to Solar power. So the 84k pays all our power bills for 50 years. So for the sake of my hope for 5% on my Beer stock let’s apply 4% inflation to our cost of living over the next 50 years, and run the math. By not having a power bill we can save 84k in about 11.5 years paying us back for my investment in Solar. It would take 29 years to catch up with the beer stock ,and in year 50 the Solar Panels would be ahead of the Beer by about $430,000. Without any Subsidies the Panels pay for themselves in 20 years and they finally catch the beer stock in year 69. Yes 19 years after my Granddaughter pays to have them taken down and replaced by the Flux Capacitor that replaced the Panel technology back in 2045.
The key here is that we should do one of two things. 1-get our Panels now while the subsidies (you helping me buy my Panels) are here or 2-buy half beer stock and half Solar Panels. So if Teresa and I leave our building to our kids, they will in the end, be happy with both Beer Stock and Panels. 50 years is a long time and we all know that we will be long gone, but I still want to make the best choice, so I go back to the title of today’s banter. I am very happy that the previous owner of our 1890s Victorian house Planted a Tulip Tree for Teresa and I, It blooms for us every year! Thanks. And as I touched on, we leave our kids money and Beer stock. On top of all this, think of all the coal we would save by generating our own power. So if people do their research and the subsidies hold up Panels will continue to go up all across this country, and the number of home brewers will increase as well. Maybe Greg Shirf and Peter Cole will give me the recipes for Devastator and Hop Rising.