General Motors broke ground Wednesday on a six-acre field of solar panels in front of its Detroit-Hamtramck plant as part of an effort to green the production of its Chevrolet Volt…DTE will lower GM’s energy bill because of the solar panels, which were first reported by the Free Press, saving about $15,000 a year. (Bold mine–we’ll come back to that.)
It gets better.
Money Quote: “This isn’t only going green for green’s sake,” said Bob Ferguson, GM’s vice president of global public policy. “This is about reducing this plant’s environmental footprint and reducing our bottom line.”
And now the trap door springs.
Six acres = 261,360 sq. feet. A 190-watt solar panel covers about 4 sq. feet. 261,360/4 = 65,340 panels. But they’ll need room for wiring and pipes, support equipment, etc., so let’s say they can only put 64,000 in place. Now, the big panels can run $30,000 a pop. But let’s say they get a deal–$10,000.
Our cost, just for the panels is…yes, you can do it in your head: $640 million. Isn’t it amazing that guy from GM can’t do that in his head. VP, huh? (Yes–I should always have my glasses on when I do this–two more zeros required.)
-But, harrumph, it will save $15,000 a year.- Hmm, 640,000,000/15,000. Cool, the payback is only 42,700 F.... YEARS YOU .......G! But alas, it’s really not. The average life of a solar panel is about 20 years. So they’d have to replace them about 2,135 times. $640 million x 2,135 = $1.36 trillion. Hey, but amortized over 42,700 years…? (corrections made)
Now do you understand why reasonably intelligent people just snear when they hear about the wonders of solar power?? Wind power???
It just aint here yet!
Link, but be warned of very strong language.
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