Re: "A local example of solar investment numbers" (Letters, June 9).
I applaud the writer’s interest in providing us with some details regarding the economics of his residential solar power system. However, he left a few things out.
First, it appears the writer forgot his system will depreciate just like his car. Even if it lasts 25 years, the depreciation averages $720 per year. That leaves him $85 a year for maintenance and on the surface dim prospects for any profit. However, there is more to this story and Santa’s sack is full of goodies:
1) A federal tax credit of 30 percent of the cost of the system.
2) Washington State Renewable Energy System Incentive Program provides 16 cents per kwh produced up to $5,000 per year for eight years, or until the system owner receives 50 percent of the system cost.
3) No sales tax on the system purchase.
Wow, such a deal. Unfortunately, the rest of us get stuck filling Santa’s sack through taxes and higher utility bills. Obviously the real economic story isn’t so great, which is why it is highly subsidized. The economic story for government-mandated renewable energy for the utility companies is no better, but just like corporate taxes, they can pass the burden on to their customers.
The only way the writer’s solar system works for him is if it is backed up by the electric grid of the nation; otherwise he would have a cold, dark, unpredictable winter in Anacortes. To totally get off the grid he would need to scale his system up by 2/3 and invest thousands of dollars in storage batteries every few years; but Santa has goodies for those as well.
Maybe it is time for all of us to start paying attention.