In the Sept. 1, 2011 issue of The Davis Clipper, there was an interesting reporting by Tom Busselberg on how Weber State University (WSU) will be saving us money by installing solar panels. While the subject of the article was solar panels, the article highlighted what is wrong with our education system and our Congress.
According to the article, it is estimated that the panels will save the school $4,000 in electrical bills each year. However, I didn’t see a word on what it will require to maintain the system. As with all outdoor systems, one can expect damage to the panels from the elements such as wind, hail, snow and the sun.
Also don’t forget the normal electrical mortality factors. And they do need to be cleaned periodically to keep the efficiency up. Thus, I would estimate the yearly return on the system to be considerably less than the $4,000 quoted.
The life of the system was not mentioned, but I would expect it to last at least 10 years. Assuming we have a perfect system with no failures and that it lasts 10 years, the savings should reach $40,000. This sounds like a great accomplishment until one reads the whole article and realizes that the cost of the system was $136,000.
Of course the WSU officials will be quick to point out that the money to build the system didn’t come from Utah taxpayers. From whence did the money come? Oh yes, a dysfunctional Congress that spends money it doesn’t have and one that strongly encourages utility companies to finance loss programs like this. One would thing our clueless educators must have skipped Economics 101.
I would go so far as to hypothesize that the money for the system came from Utah taxpayers via Federal income taxes and local utility payments. It gives one a warm angry feeling to know that there are those who take our money and think nothing about blowing it.
Willey Sutton would be proud of WSU. Remember the quote, “You can fool some of the people all of the time and all the people some of the time but you can’t fool all the people all the time”.
Maynard B. Morris Kaysville