The letter by Jim Belote that appeared in the Nov. 1 edition referenced ANEC’s Cooperative Sunshare program, which he correctly states is more expensive than “standard electricity.” What he neglected to explain is that this is not the best, most economical way to adopt solar power, but it does allow those homeowners who don’t have the capital to install their own system to be able to participate in our growing green economy.
The strongest economic case for solar energy is direct rooftop solar. We purchased solar photovoltaic and hot water panels in 2009; after federal and state tax credits, the payback period was 10.5 years, or right about now. Since the panels typically last 20 to 25 years; that’s 15 years of free electricity. And we don’t pay any premium for our electricity (actually, we don’t pay anything at all for 10 months out of the year, since we generate more than we use) – it’s billed to us at the same rate as everyone else.
And the cost of panels is about one-third what it was 10 years ago, and is going down every year.
As for the subsidies, ask yourself about the mortgage interest deduction, or fossil fuel companies that pay no taxes at all.
We need to move away from fossil fuels on a massive scale. Rather than constantly finding the negatives about solar, we should be finding ways to level the playing field, so we can all take advantage of the economics of solar and other renewables.
Sue Mastyl, Harborton