Solar Panels are a Waste of Taxpayer and Ratepayer Money for the Environmental Benefits Achieved.

Solar proponents (https://solarpowerrocks.com/vermont/) advertise a 9.9% annual rate of return over the life of a 5 kw solar project, which costs about $20,000. Investors can claim a first year tax credit of 30%, or $6000. The electric utility is required to credit 5.4 cents per kw in addition to 100% of the cost of any excess electricity produced by the panels not consumed by the owner. The utility also must credit 100% of the cost of providing poles, lines, transformers and maintenance for the transmission system, which is then passed on to other ratepayers. Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) provide about 4 cents per kw. Towns are not allowed to charge property taxes for the panels even though they add $20,000 to the value of the property. The state charges no sales tax for the roughly $15,000 worth of equipment.

These subsidies add up to profits which are tens of thousands of dollars more than the value of the electricity produced by the solar panels. Its free money for the investors, so who can blame them for taking advantage of such a windfall? However, as the above mentioned website inadvertently points out, there is a much cheaper and simpler way of accomplishing the same environmental benefit.

According to the above mentioned website a 5 kw solar installation will have the same environmental benefit as planting 106 trees each year. The Nature Conservancy's Plant a Billion Tree program plants trees for $1 each on average.

Let's stop littering Vermont's high value landscape with solar panels. Let taxpayers and ratepayers keep their money instead of subsidizing solar panels and instead encourage the legislature to allow people to take a tax deduction for $106 through the Nature Conservancy's Plant-a-Billion Trees program? (http://www.plantabillion.org/frequently-asked-questions/)

Of course, if you want to buy solar panels to reduce your own dependence on the grid, that's your choice. But the rest of us should not pay for it.

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Comment by Sherwin A. Start on March 27, 2016 at 4:21pm

I Personally Have seen FIRST-HAND what these  "SOLAR PANEL FARMS " Have done in Washington State ,Oregon and Idaho ! They LITERALLY DESTROY the Land Surfaces  in  dozens of locations over thousands of acres !! When they Leave there NOTHING but a Literally DESSERT/DUST-BOWL  left behind ! And Because ALL The Top Soil is Removed  NOTHING WILL EVER GROW on the LAND -EVER AGAIN !! IF THE PEOPLE of The State Maine Do NOT want their State Turned into a DESSERT?DUST-BOWL they had better Act Now  and with RESOLVE !! 

Comment by Penny Gray on March 26, 2016 at 7:04pm

Given that coal and oil are both plant based, I suppose we could extrapolate solar energy into those as well. All of life comes from the sun. I have all of Bernd Heinrich's books, and shared his ravens for 28 years when living in the western mountains of Maine.  He spoke eloquently at the Dixfield public meeting; "You don't build a whore house in a church."  That about sums up the desecration of our mountains by the wind industry.

Comment by Long Islander on March 26, 2016 at 2:25pm

"Biofuels are the indirect use of solar energy packaged into plants by the best solar-panel technology that has ever been invented, and it is far easier to grow green power than to build nuclear plants, dam our waterways and put windmills on our scenic mountaintops. Yet our current plans to shift to green energy — centered on so-called carbon offsets and cap-and-trade systems — are in some applications sorely misguided".......

 - BERND HEINRICH, preeminent nature writer and scientist (professor emeritus in the biology department at the University of Vermont; author of a number of books about nature, behavior, biology, ecology, and evolution). 

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/12/20/opinion/20heinrich.html?pagewante...

Comment by Frank J. Heller, MPA on March 26, 2016 at 11:36am

Been saying this for years.....'bout time I got an echo.  Time to get the Governor to plant trees this arbor day.  

Comment by Penny Gray on March 26, 2016 at 11:25am

Keep our shrinking open spaces open.  Protect the environment. Plant trees, not wind or solar "farms".  Harvesting taxpayer funded subsidies should not be regarded as an "agricultural" industry.

Comment by Thinklike A. Mountain on March 26, 2016 at 11:08am

The problem with planting seedlings is that the nurseries growing the seedlings don't have gigantic amounts of taxpayer money and other artificial government interventions to buy off legislators, environmental groups and the media.

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Maine as Third World Country:

CMP Transmission Rate Skyrockets 19.6% Due to Wind Power

 

Click here to read how the Maine ratepayer has been sold down the river by the Angus King cabal.

Maine Center For Public Interest Reporting – Three Part Series: A CRITICAL LOOK AT MAINE’S WIND ACT (excerpts) From Part 1 – On Maine’s Wind Law “Once the committee passed the wind energy bill on to the full House and Senate, lawmakers there didn’t even debate it. They passed it unanimously and with no discussion. House Majority Leader Hannah Pingree, a Democrat from North Haven, says legislators probably didn’t know how many turbines would be constructed in Maine if the law’s goals were met." . – Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting, August 2010  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-power-bandwagon-hits-bumps-in-the-road-3/From Part 2 – On Wind and Oil Yet using wind energy doesn’t lower dependence on imported foreign oil. That’s because the majority of imported oil in Maine is used for heating and transportation. And switching our dependence from foreign oil to Maine-produced electricity isn’t likely to happen very soon, says Bartlett. “Right now, people can’t switch to electric cars and heating – if they did, we’d be in trouble.” So was one of the fundamental premises of the task force false, or at least misleading?"  http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/wind-swept-task-force-set-the-rules/From Part 3 – On Wind-Required New Transmission Lines Finally, the building of enormous, high-voltage transmission lines that the regional electricity system operator says are required to move substantial amounts of wind power to markets south of Maine was never even discussed by the task force – an omission that Mills said will come to haunt the state.“If you try to put 2,500 or 3,000 megawatts in northern or eastern Maine – oh, my god, try to build the transmission!” said Mills. “It’s not just the towers, it’s the lines – that’s when I begin to think that the goal is a little farfetched.” http://www.pinetreewatchdog.org/flaws-in-bill-like-skating-with-dull-skates/

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