Solar benefits — on the raincoast?

Mega projects benefit from low financing costs, economies of scale


Solar benefits — on the raincoast?

Your editorial of Nov. 12 ignores the economics of solar power on our raincoast, except for brief mention of the cancelled Meade Creek solar project.

Yes, BC Hydro rescinded the sweet purchase terms it had offered some time ago, making the project a money loser. Like Ontario, BC Hydro discovered that paying above market prices for solar power results in exorbitant rates charged to its customers. High electricity rates, needed to pay for the rush to green power, were one of the main reasons for the defeat of the Ontario Liberal government.

You mention that small local projects are better than mega (green) projects which lead to giant price tags. However, mega projects benefit from low financing costs, economies of scale in purchasing equipment, efficiencies of larger generating facilities and top professional design and construction supervision. While small local projects can be appropriate under certain circumstances, especially in areas with more sunshine, these larger scale advantages are not available to smaller projects. Price per kilowatt hour generated are therefore generally higher for a small local generation than for larger projects.

Yes, the cost of solar installation is an impediment to individuals attracted to solar. Yes, local politicians have access to more financial resources to go solar. They can just pass the capital and operating costs, which are often in access of budget, along to the taxpayers, as did the Ontario Liberals. As a result elected officials risk being defeated the next election.

Don Graham,