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LETTER: Solar grants mean little financial risk for Summerland

Proposed system would pay for itself quickly if federal funding is available

Dear Editor:

In response to Coun. Richard Barkwill’s letter in the Summerland Review against the solar project, it sounds like Barkwill is looking ahead to election time, appealing to the reactionary element in the Summerland voting population.

By reactionary I mean those who believe that any change in the status quo must be wasteful and misdirected, that any innovation, by definition, is to be opposed.

Barkwill indicates he has looked at “less redacted” financial analysis, but does not mention where I can read them. They don’t seem to be on He has mentioned a couple of numbers which may or may not be completely out of context, hard for me to say.

READ ALSO: LETTER: Majority of Summerland councillors supported solar project

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I remember looking at the original publication of the analysis and noting that the predicted cash flow would pay the system off in about 20 years with no grants from the feds, but would pay off in just a year or two after the grants, I interpret this to mean that the federal government, in agreement with most of the climate change sensitive governments in the world, want to support green energy and therefore subsidize our local efforts, allowing us to develop the technology with little financial risk and some quick financial reward.

To support Ottawa’s granting largess, I will paraphrase an article from Richard Dawkins. A group of explorers leave on a 100-year journey to a star far away in the galaxy. Fifty years later, they are passed by another group who have much better technology. So it seems the first group should never have bothered. However, if the first group never went, the research to develop the technology for the second group would never have been done, leading to a vicious cycle.

What about the claims made in the headline of this letter of Barkwill’s, that the solar project produces five times the greenhouse gases of our current and future electricity supply. I’d like to see the numbers, since I fear the comparison here is between apples and oranges, and thus meaningless.

All manufacturing uses energy, and the manufacture of solar panels takes a lot, and currently much of that energy may be provided by fossil fuels. Much of the electricity produced across Canada (though less so in B.C.) is also produced using fossil fuels.

Looking forward to the day when fossil fuels have been retired, the ratio will be completely overturned. If we don’t start somewhere, though, we’ll never get to the goal.

Allen Delaney


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