Solar projects in this area do not make financial sense



The May 12 auction guide had an article about Ashland county-West Holmes Career Center solar project. The project is funded by a $115,329 grant from USDA.

Because this area has more than one third of the days each year with cloud cover, producing electricity with solar panels is very expensive when all costs of this project are tallied. What will the cost per kilowatt-hour be? (installation, life expectancy, maintenance, interest on investment, etc.)

Various science reports I have read have estimated the cost of electricity produced by solar panels in an area like ours is to be five to 20 times our present rates.

There is supposed to be one of the largest solar projects in the state in Noble County. The panels are old technology, low efficiency ones. To add insult to injury, the project is going to be done by a company from Spain.

Only the federal government is interested in borrowing money to fund projects that make no economic sense. This seems to be what happens when politicians and bureaucrats try to run a business.

Blaine G. Neilley

Cambridge, Ohio


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  1. Natural gas is the largest growing energy source right now in the USA. This is where the emphasis should be to have affordable energy to keep the cost of fertilizer reasonable for farmers.

    The government needs to stop investing in wind power. The large land requirement to generate power similar to a natural gas or coal power plant is not being taken into account. Many acres of productive crop land is being taken out of production. Land use and this form of urban sprawl need to be taken into account. In my opinion, the loss of productive farm land to wind energy should not be supported. Wind and solar projects should be limited to brownfield sites (EPA has list) until they can demonstrate affordable energy without huge government incentives. The capital investment of the wind turbine (not generally made in the USA) seems to be missing in the green engineering calculation as well as infrastucture impacts, etc. Debt reduction talks should eliminate government funding for wind energy. Better investments in grid improvements and biodigesters exist.

  2. You have got to be kidding me. Solar does make sense for this area. On average we obtain 5.3 sun hours per day in the state of Ohio ( dual axis trackers. This is equivalent to the sam amount of sun that is received in souther CA when using static arrays. The cost associated with this technology is VERY comparable to what we enjoy in the state of Ohio for our energy prices. As a matter of fact, Ohio has some of the lowest energy costs in the country due to our coal fired plants.

    As to the 50 MW solar project in Noble county, you have not done your research. The company that is to provide JUST the solar panels is moving to Ohio to set up manufacturing. Yes, they are from Spain, however they will be supplying over 300 jobs to the region. Moreover, they are also sourcing their supply-chain from Ohio. The remaining parts (aside from PV modules) will come from other OEM / mfg within the region. The project itself will bring jobs to local vets and other underemployed people throughout the region.

    As to “old or out dated” technology, it is due to new technology that makes solar cost effecient and a very viable source for electricity. To say that solar is older technology means you have not done your research. Before you speak, read and do not just make inferences.

    Love the idea of brownfields and support this as much as possible. There are downsides to biodigesters too. Nothing is perfect if so we would live in eutopia and last I looked, we are not.

  3. Givemeabreak must be taking advantage of huge government subsidies. Solar is not competitive with natural gas, coal or nuclear power. The rule of thumb is that the better your shadow the better solar. Ohio is not nearly as good as Arizona. Who removes the snow in the winter? Any defroster takes away from any net energy, etc. If solar is so great then why did the California firm file Chapter 11 with over $500 million of governement support?

  4. You are on a “Farm & Dairy” site and YOU want to talk about government subsidies? Really?

    Look up dual axis trackers. You will see that there are a lot of trackers that “park” at night in a vertical position. This helps to eliminate snow accumilation throughout the nigth when most snow falls. For example, a company in VT – AllEarth, has a dual axis tracker that has proven production in winter and in snow conditions to produce over 40% more power than traditional “static” solar in VT. This production, viewable by anyone on line, has been documented throughout VT’s winter months. In addition, if you run the numbers you will also notice that a 40% increase in production (as stated earlier by going to the website) will produce the same amount of energy compared to static in southern CA. Apparently you are not one for doing your research, just someone that wants to complain instead of solving the issues.

    As to solar prices, unless you have tested the numbers as I have, with and for several accounting firms, do not speak about how nuclear and coal are less expensive. Yes, I have considered the govt’ subsidies and ran the numbers with and without their use and the subsidies definitely help. However I have also looked at all the tax breaks and subsidies EVERY gas, oil, nuclear and fracking company use too. They are just as guilty at using these subsides….just like any capitalistic company would. BUT, I must also tell you that solar can be just as competative without the subsidies.

    Do you research before making blanket statements that is all I ask.

    • If you were accurate then solar subsidies could be eliminated today; business case could make a case to increase solar electricity generation without mandates, etc. Smoke and mirrors is all you have.


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