I just finished reading a series of studies about solar power that has me wishing to lob a few heavy salvos on those K Street coal and electric, gas and nuclear energy lobbyists over Washington way. What has me so excited was a series of parallel studies that indicate we could install solar on every home in America for quite a reasonable costs. If I might:
Our government masters (specifically the Department of Housing and Urban Development) says there are 131 million homes in America. The individual cost to install a 4 kilowatt solar system in the average home is currently $17,000 per home. 4 Kilowatts will more than power the average 2,000 square foot home and, in most cases, provide a quarter of the home's production to the overall electric grid. So, the Solar Power Association ran the numbers and said Uncle Sam would have to fork out $2.2 trillion dollars to fit every home in America with solar! (By the way, that's less than what we've spent in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years of war).
Stay with me here folks. The Solar manufactures and installers say they can install that same system on a home for less than $10,000 if contracted to do so on a massive scale, such as one awarded to them by the U.S. government. Not only can they manage their work load more efficiently, large scale installations allow for massive cost reductions for bulk purchase of materials.
Still with me? I had to run back to the Department of Housing and Urban Development to see how many of those 131 million American homes are already equipped with solar, and how many of those homes might be owned by folks who make more than $200,000 a year.
"Lawdy!" If the U.S. government would not be required to install solar on the ones already equipped, and they didn't have to foot the bill for anyone making over $200,000 a year, we just got those housing numbers down to a more manageable 80 million housing units!
So, if you are able to reduce the solar costs from a present day $17,000 average, down to a $10,000 dollar average, you've just shaved 40% of the total costs of installing solar in every home. And, given that Uncle Sam won't be springing for the solar installations of those making over $200,000 per year, you, the taxpayer, has now shed another $500 billion of costs.
Factor in the reduced costs from a massive government contract, and say "you're on your own" to the folks making over $200,000 a year, and folks, you're talking about equipping every home in America with a solar system that produces all the power you need, and you're talking about a one time national investment of $800 billion dollars! (Let's not sweat that number....it would take ten years to accomplish a project of this scale, so let's bring the costs down to a more manageable $80 billion a year).
It gets better boys and girls! The solar companies and solar installers would have to hire and train hundreds of thousands of workers.....workers that are currently out of work and drawing welfare or unemployment benefits! And when those solar line workers and installers begin collecting a paycheck, guess what? Yep. They start paying federal taxes......taxes that will further offset the government's cost to build out that solar!
Now I'm not gonna get out my calculator one more time. You figure it out yourself. Let's just say 200,000 workers begin paying taxes on their spanking new solar jobs....At a 20 percent tax bracket you've got those 200,000 happy workers paying tens of millions in taxes, further offsetting the costs of the national solar build out! Folks, if we played our cards right we could probably equip every home in America at zero net costs!
Need I say more, people? The greenies are happy, the blue collar are happy, everyone's happy...except those Washington D.C. K street electric, gas, nuclear and coal lobbyists! (Yes, we might have to either subsidize or nationalize those traditional energy companies, cause it would be the absolute end of the greedy corporate owners of today's power grid).
A cleaner world! Millions of happy households no longer forking out $400 a month every summer for their AC! Homeowners selling their excess solar production back to the grid and getting a check back every month.
Anyone want to join me in firing a few salvos over toward K Street?