Solar Power Folly
A $3.1 million solar array at Naval Air Station Kingsville is expected to offset the base's consumption of conventional energy by 2.5 percent. This is part of the Navy's push to provide 50 percent of its energy from non-fossil fuel sources by 2020. This sound like responsible government green goodness until you take the time to look at the numbers. As pointed out by Energy Gap co-author, Allen Simmons, in a letter to the editor of the Corpus Christi Caller Times, the Navy installation of solar power is a bad deal.
In reference to the article "Base installs solar array" from Nov. 17: The article states that the 3.3 acre array will save taxpayers $55,400 per year. Pardon my math but think of this alternative: Invest $3.1 million at 2.5 percent interest which would yield $77,500 a year.
Actually my savings are low because $3.1 million invested in an ultrasafe bond instrument would yield $201,500 a year.
“Look, Captain. We can see how fast we are losing money.”
As an electrical engineer I suggest the following thoughts: Before a solar energy project is started, it is 50 percent in the hole because of a time period called “night.” No credible person would build something that is guaranteed to work less than 50 percent of the time. If one is confused about all the energy sources and their pros and cons, I suggest two books: “The Resilient Earth” and “The Energy Gap.”