Useless information

Cos Cobber sends along this link to a Greenwich Time article on “solar energy”

Young skaters maneuvering the puck past a defender may not care about how the electricity is generated at the Stamford Twin Rinks on Hope Street in Stamford, but they should know that it’s helping freeze the ice beneath their feet.

Management of the rinks recently celebrated completion of the $2.4 million project, which involved the installation of a 305.76-kilowatt solar-panel system that will supply about 15 percent of the annual electricity needs of the two rinks, a fitness center, kitchens and offices.

That translates into significant savings, considering that the rinks’ electricity bill averages $25,000 to $30,000 a month, said Mark Zito, general manager of the facility, whose owner is a group of investors headed by Richard Shriner Jr.

The installation of the panels on the 14-year-old structure was done with the assistance of a $1.5 million grant from the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund and its On-Site Renewable Distributed Generation Program, and a 30 percent tax incentive from the federal government.

“”This is one of the largest projects in Fairfield County,” Isban said, noting that installation of the panels took more than 90 days. “Should they produce more energy than they use, the excess will be sold back to CL&P (Connecticut Light & Power) through a process called net metering. They were very smart to do it when they did. It’s sort of like being a pioneer.”

State assistance for future commercial projects is on hold after Gov. M. Jodi Rell recently vetoed a bill that would have continued full-scale funding for the Connecticut Clean Energy Fund, he said.

“It would have been a tremendous shot in the arm for the state,” Isban said, adding that the organization continues to receive funding for projects through contributions from Northeast Utilities’ ratepayers.

By my math, $30,000 per month adds up to an annual bill of $360,000 per year. Fifteen per cent of that amounts to $54,000.  That could be a significant saving, but it depends on what we taxpayers are contributing in the way of increased rates. Unfortunately, the Greenwich Time reporter didn’t ask what that contribution is, so we readers have no way of knowing whether this is a boondoggle or a saving. My vote is for boondoggle.


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6 responses to “Useless information

  1. cos cobber

    the installation cost is 2.4MM of which the state is funding 1.2MM. 2.4mm/54,000 = 44.4 years for payback (assuming utility rates do not increase..which they will).

  2. Anonymous

    Basic economics and statistics (and common sense) are missing concepts or skills amongst most college-educated journalists and voters, let alone amongst community organizers such voters choose

  3. The Duke of Deception

    Two votes for boondoggle.

    And one for sham.

  4. HG

    As you point out, the lack of complete information in the article stands as more of a comment on the quality of journalism. But I think there is enough information to suggest this is a boondoggle. Setting aside the questions of who pays, the $54,000 savings seems at best to represent a 3-4% cash return vs the cost of the equipment (“it was done with the help of a $1.5 million grant”). The same calculation flipped upside down = payback period of over 20 years. Most private businesses would not invest at these rates of return–they would be much better off purchasing Greenwich houses and renting them out, even at inflated asking prices–which of course is why the subsidy from taxpayers / ratepayers is necessary.

  5. anonymous2

    The state and feds shakedown taxpayers to appease the enviro extremists and hand the benefits to the people operating the rink. No wonder the state and the feds are up to their eyeballs in debt.

    Gee, how to define that….? And the pols wonder why we despise them.

  6. West

    As Cos Cobber pointed out, the payback at current energy rates is 44 years – and the solar panels won’t last that long.

    This green energy thing is really working out great.