Solar Panels! That You Can Drive On! Paid for by . . . YOU!

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

The Green Jobs Czar may be gone—asshole—but the taxpayer-supported environmental boondoggles continue unabated. Here’s one for pistonheads patrons, via physorg.com. The website somehow forgets to mention a $100,000 federal grant to the smiling man above. Or the fact that 5 billion panels times $6,900 is . . . a lot of money. Even for Uncle Sam. Hang on; does that include installation?

The 12- x 12-foot panels, which each cost $6,900, are designed to be embedded into roads. When shined upon, each panel generates an estimated 7.6 kilowatt hours of power each day. If this electricity could be pumped into the grid, the company predicts that a four-lane, one-mile stretch of road with panels could generate enough power for 500 homes. Although it would be expensive, covering the entire US interstate highway system with the panels could theoretically fulfill the country’s total energy needs. The company estimates that this would take 5 billion panels, but could “produce three times more power than we’ve ever used as a nation – almost enough to power the entire world.”


Robert Farago
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  • ChuckR ChuckR on Sep 08, 2009

    PeteMoran No, I mean what was quoted. The claim was that because the utility was collecting the subsidy as required by legislation, it wasn't truly a tax. As an employer, I collect FICA, FUDA, TDI and income tax as a (not by choice) agent of the government. Does this mean that because the government doesn't collect the tax directly, it's not really a tax?

  • FreedMike FreedMike on Sep 08, 2009
    chuckR : September 8th, 2009 at 12:26 pm PeteMoran No, I mean what was quoted. The claim was that because the utility was collecting the subsidy as required by legislation, it wasn’t truly a tax. As an employer, I collect FICA, FUDA, TDI and income tax as a (not by choice) agent of the government. Does this mean that because the government doesn’t collect the tax directly, it’s not really a tax? From your company's standpoint, no, it isn't. You're just putting those funds in a trust for your employees.
  • ChuckR ChuckR on Sep 08, 2009

    FreedMike Of course it isn't a tax ON my company, but it is a tax and I do act as an agent of the IRS. As for the claim that the German subsidy structure isn't a tax, that's disingenuous. It is a short-circuiting of the typical collection/re-distribution approach, but it's still a tax.

  • Nonce Nonce on Oct 13, 2009

    Sorry to bump an old post, but 7.6 KWh could, if you are lucky, fetch $1.50 a day or $45 a month. Compared to a cost of $6900. At 5% interest, it will take 20 years to pay that off. You've just broken even, assuming that it needed no maintenance and is functioning just as well in the year 2029.

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