The Morning Call is reporting about Air Product Corporation’s new green solar farm, that was apparently subsidized with taxpayer money to make the economics work. I agree with Paul Carpenter of the Morning Call that this is lamentable, and shame on the Corbett Administration for wasting money like this, and bragging about it:
That is similar to what I once said about wind turbine and solar panel projects and the hucksters who peddle them. I said such schemes would never work on their own merit without the huge subsidies provided by politicians, who often receive “campaign contributions” from the hucksters.
I am most hostile to the windmills, which would denude hundreds of square miles of scenic and ecologically precious mountaintops to produce the same amount of energy generated by a single nuclear power plant on land the size of a small farm.
For solar panels, my math revealed in 2008 that investing in them would gain a family thousands of dollars less than putting that money in certificates of deposit, although CD rates have since fallen.
The big problem with solar energy is that it takes a lot of energy to manufacture the cells. This energy is generally coming from the electric grid, which is largely powered by coal. A solar cell will spend the first 4 years of its life recovering the energy that went into making it, and that’s assuming pretty generous sun amounts. Pennsylvania is not a good place for deploying solar power, so I’m not surprised it doesn’t work without taxpayer funded subsidies.