If you build it will they come? Solar farm fails to attract buyers in St. George

Return To Article
Add a comment
  • Ajohn Taylorsville, SL, UT
    Nov. 11, 2013 8:47 a.m.

    The fundamental problem with wind and solar which seems to be ignored is storage. What happens in the winter, nights and cloudy days when demand is up and production is down? Beyond expensive untried proposals is the only current option, batteries. While coal and gas is considered dirty, battery production and recycle is also very dirty. Also we say we want to be free of foreign dependence for energy. Currently most of the NiCad for batteries comes from China and Chile; we become dependent on China instead of the Mideast; poor choice. Currently the best we can say is solar and wind is a very expensive augmentation of carbon energy production. I agree with several comments, Nuclear is a good option. France gets 70% of it's power from Nuclear, and that is with very old technology. We go nuts over our worst nuclear accident, three mile island, which happened 34 years ago with a small amount of radio activity release and not one documented case of cancer. Russia's problem was just poor technology with poor construction. Japan build on fault lines, next to an ocean. We can learn here and make good nuclear choices.

  • Bebyebe UUU, UT
    Aug. 17, 2012 8:51 a.m.

    Oil and coal will run out. That supply of energy will end. The sun never will (for us anyway).

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Aug. 13, 2012 2:31 p.m.

    Rename it SunSpend.

  • RedShirt USS Enterprise, UT
    Aug. 13, 2012 11:41 a.m.

    To "Reasonable Person" if the concern is clean power, then why not support nuclear? It produces more power per square foot than solar, has 0 emissions, and has recyclable fuel.

    The best part about nuclear is that it doesn't have the massive subsidies that solar power companies receive.

  • Ultra Bob Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 13, 2012 10:51 a.m.

    The Deseret News recently wrote opposing the UTOPIA system. But seems to be touting the solar power in another city. Both are the same.

  • JLFuller Boise, ID
    Aug. 13, 2012 8:30 a.m.

    "Fools and their money are soon parted" as the old saying goes. Whether Mr Porter is foolish is not the issue. But people who go all out to invest in solar certainly seem to be on their way to dropping a big bundle. When one ignores basic economic realities they lose and that is a fact of history.

  • Baron Scarpia Logan, UT
    Aug. 13, 2012 8:17 a.m.

    Why this project failed is two-fold: The rapid fall of solar prices (making home systems cheaper) and fall of natural gas prices (making traditional energy more economical). Gas prices, just three years ago, were 4-times what they are today.

    For those of you squawking about renewable energy subsidies, remember that fossil fuels have been subsidized for over 100 years, and we'd not be "stuck" with dirty oil and coal if federal and state governments didn't give those industries substantial tax breaks and infrastructure support to "reate jobs"; (gov't-built pipelines, military protection of Mideast oil fields and tanker escorts, gov't-built ports for tankers, elimination of severance taxes on coal in Utah, fed clean up costs of Gulf oil spill, etc.).

    Obama proposed cutting those fossil fuel subsidies, and the GOP reaction was "no" because it would drive prices upward for beloved oil, coal, and gas. Sadly, these industries are reaping significant profits, on the backs of taxpayers, that force Americans into economic hardships and frustration (note today's news that gasoline prices are going up).

    Should we be subsidizing established energies that are hyper-profitable, price volatile, AND polluting?

  • AmPatriot Taylorsville, UT
    Aug. 13, 2012 4:29 a.m.

    Bait ans switch government tactics. I'd guess no one would be selling solar panels or wind generators if Obama wasn't subsidizine all these companies to sell them and China to make them and ship them with 6,000 miles of freight and shipping costs.

    Its bad enough that Obama won's force american companies to manufacture alternative energy equipment and supplies to help the US economy, he only pays the american companies to stock and sell Chinese industrial components doubling and tripling the cost for dozens of import/export and transportaion middlemen.

    Beyond the consumer acceptance and getting on board, Obama is forgetting the power companies who sell electricity to the rest of the people. Does Obama really think they will roll over and surrender their control of electrical manufacturing and distribution?

    I think Obama thinks the power industry will jump on board to take control of this new energy system that cost 10 time more to produce than systems in place. Keeping energy cost down is a must so the economy and citizens can use it. If it costs $25 to charge your electric car every day that is not good economic energy planning.

  • majmajor Layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 8:31 p.m.

    If St. George allowed others (outside of the city) to buy into the program they would get more buying units. Individuals in the bad areas, apartments, or not wanting a solar panel on their roof could potentially be great owners.

    They need to think outside of the box (or city).

  • DN Subscriber Cottonwood Heights, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 7:45 p.m.

    Solar power is a great idea, and may indeed have environmental benefits.

    Anyone "investing" in such a scheme needs to do the math before buying. If they are such big tree huggers that price i no object, they can be an early adapter, and buy regardless of price. Others may choose to wait until the price is closer to, or lower than traditional sources of power.

    However, no free American should ever be FORCED to buy into such things, or taxed to provide financial incentives to others to buy in.

    The free market is a wonderful thing, when allowed to work. When governments step in, they can sure make things an horrible mess, and a lot more expensive.

    Taxpayser should never subsidize,incentivize or insure energy schemes that can be done by private enterprise. If they make financial sense, they will be built. If not, don't waste tax dollars on them.

  • BH Tremonton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 6:58 p.m.

    Dumprake may want to more carefully research his claims, of lack of deaths attributable to nuclear power, and the claim that coal takes in the range of 1% of the U.S. population each year.

    In 1961 3 men died at the Idaho Nuclear Labs. While SL-1 was experimental, the intended use of future reactors based upon SL-1 was to produce electricity for radar installations on military bases. In all fairness, one must also associate a portion of deaths from uranium mining.

    The claim of a few hundred thousand deaths each year from coal is inflated at least 10 fold, for the entire world. And that is based upon statistics from liberal organizations with an agenda against coal based energy. While 24,000 annual deaths are still a terrible thing, it is a far cry from that claimed by dumprake.

    As mentioned above, it is too bad that the leaders of St. George didn't sell shares before investing in the solar farm. Then they would have known what to expect.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 5:59 p.m.

    The good folks of St. George are just living by the Utah environmental motto: Multiply, multiply and pillage the earth.

  • dumprake Washington, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 5:46 p.m.

    Environmentalists and the so-called "green" crowd have grossly deceived America, Utah and St George. Solar energy is unlikely to ever be economically viable. The only way solar ever works is with government subsidies (tax dollars), or if someone has money to burn and just wants to be independent of the local power company, but financially, solar is a disaster, it can't compete...period. Let's stop kidding ourselves, "green" is dumb, it doesn't work, it can't compete, it can't survive on its own. The only thing that really makes sense is nuclear which is efficient, economical, safe and non-polluting. But we've brainwashed by the Jane Fonda/environmental crazies to believe nuclear is somehow dangerous. However, there has never been a single death attributed to nuclear power in this country, but coal kills a few hundred thousand every year, and environmentalists somehow believe it is wrong to dam up rivers for hydroelectric, coal is polluting, pipelines for natural gas are somehow unsafe. We can either do what makes sense or just cave into the environmental idiocy that already has a choke hold on the economy.

  • Reasonable Person Layton, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 5:06 p.m.

    Solar power is an investment in your own, your children's and your grandchildren's health ... as well as the health of your community.

    It's nonpolluting, unlike the so-called "cleaner coal" plants which are pumping tons of mercury and other toxins into our environment on a daily basis.

    If we had the chance to pay more to invest in such a project, we would.
    Good for the Porters.

  • ModerateBob Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 5:01 p.m.

    OK, I went to SunSmart's website and discovered that their 5 panels = 1000 watts of nameplate capacity. They are charging more than 5$/watt. This price is a bit higher than the current market of what you could get fully installed on your home. The system that you can install on your home is eligible for the 30% federal tax credit as well as a 25% state tax credit.

    The SunSmart concept was supposed to allow economies of scale, but the prices of panels dropped so quickly that it has not worked as they thought.

    The bottom line is that solar is more economically viable than ever and keeps getting better.

  • toosmartforyou Farmington, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 5:00 p.m.

    Surprise, surprise! This is just like UTOPIA----a supposed great deal, sponsored by the tax payers, courtesy of their LOCAL government!!!

    A few years ago my wife and I bought a small, bottom-of-the-line refrigerator. Getting one that was "energy-star rated" cost enough extra that to just break even on the difference in electricity costs would take 28 years. Some bargain....we went with the regular model instead.

    Going Green means "Spending Green...Greenbacks, that is" and it's all a ruse. I hope those who are responsible for such foolishness have the opportunity to rub shoulders with the other 8.3% that are currently unemployed nationally. Let's get LOCAL government out of the "do everything for everybody" business and let them concentrate on providing police, fire and garbage pick-up (minus recycling, which also 'costs' participants, as it doesn't pay back any amount, either).

    "Sustainability" means you sustain me with your tax dollars while I pass out warm fuzzies and then everyone is happy.....especially me.

  • cjb Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 4:42 p.m.

    Solar power is the energy source of the future, but hopefully won't always be.

  • ute alumni Tengoku, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 3:55 p.m.

    bo can come in and save the day. let him use our money to buy them off. i'm sure they have some of his buddies working for them

  • No One Of Consequence West Jordan, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 3:42 p.m.

    If the plan was to sell shares, why not sell the shares before building the farm?

    If people get a rebate for the panels on their homes maybe the plan should have been to help people buy and install the panels at home.

    Meanwhile, who's picking up the cost of financing this albatross? The citizens of St. George I would imagine. Time to elect some leaders who don't gamble with city funds.

    Solar power will take a serious place in the marketplace when it is equal or better in cost than other alternatives.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 2:40 p.m.


    However from an investment

    The rate of return on that $5000 is about 2.8% annually and it appears to be tax-free which would make it a little more palatable.

    If rates go up then the ROI will increase. Nothing is mentioned in the article if the share can be sold with the house. If it can then the solar panel deal might have a silver lining.

  • sammyg Springville, UT
    Aug. 12, 2012 2:32 p.m.


    "Let me guess, the program is run by conservatives."

    Seems to me you got this backwards. Our liberal friends are the ones hugging these panels, promoting them and Solyndra so much.

    Selling a share in a solar panel farm for $5000 and getting an energy reduction of $12 a month is absolutely insane.

  • freedomingood provo, Utah
    Aug. 12, 2012 1:58 p.m.

    Uh well because 5 solar panels for $5,000 is a TERRIBLE deal. Worst I've ver seen. Let me guess, the program is run by conservatives.

    You should get at least double that. Remember why Solyndra failed? Because of falling solar panel prices.....