"I think it's very exciting that the president emphasized green energy so much," said U.S. Rep. Jared Polis, a Boulder Democrat, one of seven of Colorado's congressional delegates who came to the bill-signing. "Colorado is going to be ground zero for ending our reliance on foreign oil."Now:
The president used the state as a stage to talk about job creation and civic investment. He said the stimulus bill could create 60,000 jobs here and 400,000 jobs nationwide.
Before the 30-minute ceremony, Obama and Vice President Joe Biden strolled the wind-whipped rooftop of the Denver museum with Blake Jones, chief executive of Namaste Solar, whose company installed 18 rows of panels. [NOfP note: photo here.] The sun generates enough energy on the museum rooftop to power about 30 homes.
The Independence Institute asked the Denver Museum of Science and Nature to provide certain statistical information regarding the now-famous solar array. Specifically, the Institute asked for:Analysis by Paul Chesser at GlobalWarming.org:
1 ) Two years worth of electric bills prior to the installation of the solar array,
2 ) All electric bills following the completion of the installation.
The Museum denied those requests.
The solar array is not owned by the Museum, however. It is owned by Hybrid Energy Group, LLC. HEG owns the solar array, sells the electricity to the Museum, and receives tax incentives from the state and federal governments, while also receiving "rebates" from Xcel Energy. The rebates are funded by a surcharge collected on the monthly bill of every Colorado Xcel customer.
A 2008 article in the Denver Business Journal sheds further light on the subject. The article notes the total price of the solar array was $720,000. And Dave Noel, VP of operations and chief technology officer for the Museum, was quoted as saying, "We looked at first installing [the solar array] ourselves, and without any of the incentive programs, it was a 110-year payout." Noel went on to say that the Museum did not purchase the solar array because it did not "make sense financially."
Given the circumstances it is absurd to believe the claims made about the amount of power generated by the panels. But note the statement: "The sun generates enough energy on the museum rooftop to power about 30 homes." Any detail beyond that hopeful generality is lost on the uncurious, lazy reporter. Note that the statement isn’t talking about the energy generated from the panels; just how much solar energy is hitting the top of the roof. And enough energy on the rooftop to power 30 homes for how long? Or how long does the sun have to hit the roof to power the homes (and for how long)? How big are the homes? Etc., etc.Conclusion: Remain skeptical that solar power is the answer (or even a major part of an answer). The performance claims tend toward the vague (see note 1 here). Like wind energy, it's most efficiently collected where least needed and output varies over the course of a day (setting a ceiling on the percentage of electricity generation that can derive from solar). And even multi-acre solar collectors remain less cost effective than coal or nuclear.
(via Planet Gore)