AAA Drafting Blog

A SolidWorks designer talks about stuff related to CAD and mechanical design

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Farmers feed cities, but not with solar power

The McroFIT program scares me to death. This is the Ontario government program which promises to pay the owners of small scale solar panel installations 0.80 per kw/hr for power generated from their solar panel energy farm installations.

Just recently the Ontario Power Authority (OPA) adjusted the rate payable so that solar panel installations in farmers fields receive to only 0.58 per kw/hr. This after 11,000 farmers applied to the program in good faith, expecting to reap the benefits of electricity as a new cash crop.

To add insult to injury, the OPA retained the 0.80 per kw/hr rate only for city dwellers and maintained that they never expected the16,000 applications to come from farmers. Not suprisingly farmers had figured out you could get make good money generating power from an open field than any south facing city rooftop.

Theres a lot of things to be concerned about here, beyond the OPA slight to hard working farmers. As consumers, how can we afford to pay anyone 5 to 10 times more to produce electricity than we actually pay for it.

This scares me most because perhaps it gives consumers an indication of where the cost of electricity is ultimately going. Are we all going to be paying updwards of 0.80 to 1.00 a kw/hr for power in the not too distant future to accomplish a “sustainable” electricity supply ?

If the OPA could not figure out that small solar power producers were going to jump all over the free money they were offering, what were they thinking ? Was it just possible that this program was supposed to be purely for optics to show the world that Ontario was at the forefront of grass roots energy sustainability for cities ?

Worse still, the OPA is sticking it to the Ontario farmer, who honestly expended their time, effort and money spent planning and building solar panel installations. Not expecting their government would renege on an agreement to pay them 0.80 kw/hr.

Personally I would rather see farmers paid to develop the answer to power generation problems than to see tax dollars soaked up by nuclear power development projects. At least you know the average farmer is far less likely to reward himself with outrageous salaries and perks and spend money with wild abandon building nuclear facilities that end up getting mothballed.


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