A letter last week asked, “Do you have solar energy yourself?” Why yes, I do. When we installed solar panels on our farm workshop in 2009, the closest certified solar installer was in Marietta. There were only four in the state. Now there are forty. Georgia may yet catch up with North Carolina and even New Jersey!
Hannah Solar had all the paperwork ready when Okra Paradise Farms applied for a USDA REAP grant for more solar panels a few weeks ago. Much to our surprise,
we got the grant!If it sounds familiar, that’s because I condensed it from the longer version of ten days ago, which has a lot more links to further information. The picture is new, though. Hm, maybe I should wash those jeans.
That grant plus federal and state rebates will pay for around 90% of the cost. Sure, I’ll end up paying the difference out of pocket, but the whole thing will end up net positive in 3-7 years. What else can you say that about with any certainty: a car, a house, stocks, even a job? Financing solar is a business opportunity for some local bank or banks.
Before anybody gripes about subsidies, remember fossil fuels get 12 times the subsidies of renewable energy. Plus private venture capital is looking for large-scale solar projects right now.
National Solar Power just announced a mostly privately funded large-scale solar project in Gadsden County, Florida, only about a hundred miles west of here.
That Letter to the Editor also asked, “what it would cost to keep one freezer running.” How much coal would it take to run a single freezer? Except, wait, for solar no fuel is required!
Nobody really sells solar at the per-freezer level. For household or larger, the Georgia Solar Energy Association can help.
Which is cheaper, (1) Solar for your house, which costs less than a car out of pocket and starts paying back in 15 years or less, Or (2) an extra car you don’t need that depreciates anyway, Or (3) power from the nation’s dirtiest coal plant near Macon plus the extraordinary negative side of coal mining, Or (4) increasing fees to Georgia Power for building its two new nukes, including any cost overruns?
Let’s look at the big picture: How can we afford to continue subsidizing polluting fossil fuel companies while they make record profits for any companies in history? How can we afford to continue paying for wars for oil, owing our power generation to Saudi Arabia, where they flog women for driving? How can we afford not to get on with renewable and sustainable energy, especially solar?
Why not use the south Georgia sun to lead in the fastest growing industry in the world?
And what are you doing to help?
John S. Quarterman is a Lowndes County resident