Not Much of a Bargain

Solar Energy in Arizona
... costly

... and not much of it

... impossible to trace

... bum physics

... and the cost is even higher

One of the best places in the world to generate electricity by photovoltaics is in the US desert southwest, particularly Arizona.  "Because of overwhelming response, SRP built a second 100 kW solar plant," says http://www.srpnet/home/solarchoice/index.htm.  The two plants are at the Santan Generating Station in Gilbert AZ.Participants in SRP's Solar Choice program pay $3.00 per month (minimum 24 months) for all of 15 kilowatt-hours.  That's 20 cents per kWh, versus their normal 8 cents/kWh in the summer, 7 cents/kWh in the winter (for the first 400 kWh) and 4 cents/kWh for additional kWh over 400.

A standard large power plant produces 1,000,000 kW, some 5000 times as much as the two 100-kW plants combined, but the factor jumps to infinity when the sun goes down.  Overall, a single large power plant produces as much as 50,000 to 60,000 times as much energy during the year as one of the 100-kW plants.

Users of Solar Choice can be happy that "it is not possible to trace actual solar-generated electrons to participant's homes."  For one, the homes would mostly be without power.

For another, electrons are not generated by sunlight or anything else.  The electrons are present all the time; electrical generation merely energizes the electrons.

Oh, and did we mention that the 20 cents/kWh is the price users pay for subsidized solar electricity?  "The rest of the costs are covered by SRP and the U.S. Department of Energy through the Utility Photovoltaic Group (UPVG)," says the SRP web site.

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