Taxpayer-funded solar panels

Taxpayer-funded solar panels

September 4th, 2011 in Opinion Free Press

It's hard to blame individuals or businesses when they accept offers of government money for costly projects.

So we don't really fault a local pet hospital that accepted some government money to install a 40-kilowatt solar power system.

But we do question the wisdom of government providing such funding in the first place.

An article in the Times Free Press reported that the cost of the solar setup to the facility, Riverview Animal Hospital, was about $200,000.

But, the article noted, "With the help of local, state and federal grants, that cost was reduced to about $65,000 out of pocket for the business."

But of course, that didn't make the $135,000 difference between the real cost and the final cost to the business simply disappear. Any part of that $135,000 difference which was funded by government was simply shifted onto taxpayers.

Environmental activists often complain about subsidies to traditional energy sources such as oil, and that is a legitimate criticism.

But the solution to that problem isn't to add more subsidies for alternative energy projects such as solar panels and windmills. It's to halt subsidies altogether and let energy producers compete for customers on a level playing field.