You have to read the article closely. When I skimmed it at first, I thought that Cal State University in Fresno was building a 700 space garage for about $12 million and putting solar cells on the roof to generate electricity. Sounded great to me.
I got suspicious when I found that they were going to generate a megawatt. Now that;s quite a bit of power for the roof of a garage. Yep ==They are going to cover 700 surface spaces and put the solar system on top.
Lets look at the cost — First – on 20 years at 6.5% the $12 mil will cost about 87,000 a month. According to the article, a megawatt would generate power for 1000 homes. At $100 a month (I know its low) the cost would be $100,000 a month for that power. But the university gets power at a much lower rate so lets say they get it at $50,000 a month. So in the end, the university will be paying $37,000 more a month for the power. Or roughly $9,000,000 over the 20 years. That doesn’t include any upkeep or maintenance on the solar system. Of course they will have parking spaces that are covered, and a bit cooler in that Fresno hot summer sun.
If you read further, the University is going to need more parking spaces but is committed to not add any more acreage in parking. That means only one thing — structures. I wonder how much power they could generate with solar panels on the roof of a parking structure? How much more would that add to the cost? How much money would it generate?
This is a problem we face today. That damn coal and oil is just so much cheaper than any other type of energy. Universities may have the money and the desire to do such things, but does the average Joe struggling paycheck to paycheck?
Its easy to be green, til you have to pay the bill. From everything I read, the only real answer is nuclear…