Cost effectiveness of solar: Yosemite

Engadget says Solar panels light up Yosemite National Park, don’t spoil your view. The numbers illustrate just how far solar energy is from becoming economically viable.

The installation cost $5.8M and provides about $50k electricity every year. Without considering the time value of money, that means it’d take 116 years for the energy savings to pay for the installation. That’s five times the expected life of the equipment. If the rebate from the power company is figured in, it would only take 102 years to pay off. If money was worth 5% per year, the $5.8M investment would cost nearly six times the value of the power produced. In other words, the payback, if it could be maintained for 100 years, would need to be six times what it actually provides.

This also serves as an example about why the government debt is such an issue. Projects such as this spend a lot of money under a false banner. It isn’t the ability to produce power that is the issue with this solar installation. Instead, the government money is buying “feel good” returns that produce no real benefit to society.

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