A Solar Fairy Tale


Over at, Paul Chesser exposes the story behind the story of a solar project in Denver.  This is just too good:

Remember last month when the president and vice president photo-opped the signing of the $787 billion stimulus bill in Denver? Part of the trip was devoted to President Obama’s promotion of “green” energy initiatives, many of which will benefit from the mass subsidization in the new legislation. One project he toured was a solar panel project on top of the Denver Museum of Nature and Science, which the Denver Post says, “The sun generates enough energy on the museum rooftop to power about 30 homes.” Well, investigative reporter Todd Shepherd of Colorado’s Independence Institute tried to verify that and other claims about the project:

…That claim cannot be verified at this time, and in fact, seems to be belied by the scant information provided by the museum and other sources. Laura Holtman, public relations manager for the museum said in an email, “Because the array generates less than 5 percent of the museum’s power, [the purchased energy] is not a particularly large bill.”

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:

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.

As Shepherd explains, it turns out the solar panels were so expensive ($720,000) that the museum declined to undertake the project for itself. Instead, a private company was able to make it worthwhile to own the project via taxpayer-subsidized “rebates” through Xcel Energy, and via state and federal tax “incentives.”

More proof that these things are only attractive with a massive influx of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money.

So, in review: high hopes, lofty promises, lack of transparency, prohibitive costs, and government subsidies & tax incentives. Pretty much par for the green course.    


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