Who doesn't want to be all sustainable and oh so environmentally friendly?
I was watching the show and they brought down their 'friend' to help them get some solar panels on their resort. By friend, they mean some strategic business partnership to advertise the business, but that's not what I'm here to talk about - even though if this was an oil company 'friend' then all the numbers would be instantly scrutinized by default.
Not in this case. And it just annoys me at how sloppy, misleading and downright fraudulent the way the solar crew present numbers.
Here's how things were presented on the show:
- This is an island in the Bahamas which uses a diesel generator for electricity.
- Diesel is dirty.
- The cost of this electricity is 35 cents/kWh.
- Solar is only 5 cents/kWh.
- Solar is obviously clean.
- Pays itself back in three years.
When things are presented like this it only make sense to do solar right? It's drastically cheaper. It's cleaner. It's just superior and obviously better, and not doing it is due to some sort of intense glue sniffing or the 'big oil' lobby? Wouldn't it have to be?
Let's dig into the claims.
I looked it up and the cost of electricity in the Bahamas is 25 cents USD/kWh - which if you convert that to Canadian I can see how they get very close to the 35 cents/kWh. Now it's important to understand that this listed cost is the 'all in' cost including transmission and distribution. It's not like my bill which lists the energy cost, then a line item for transmission, distribution, rate riders, local taxes, etc.
Solar producing at 5 cents/kWh is an intermittent number. Where as the diesel is a 24 hour a day constant output number. The solar panel only ever produces cheap energy at peak output - which variable minute to minute and zero or low for 12hrs a day. Diesel is the employee that always shows up and does their job. Solar is the employee that you don't know will show up and even if they do, they might not do much.