Jul

9

T. Boone Pickens is promoting wind and solar power on his web site and in ads.  Is he trying to become a politician? Not likely, he is a consummate businessman.  (A reader).

 Solar electric plant in the US currently costs $9 per noon Watt (Sharpusa.com), and in the US each Watt of noon capacity that is installed in an ideal way, (proper angle, proper azimuth, never shaded) yields about 1,000 Watt-hours of electricity per year (American Society of Heating and Refrigeration Engineers Journal) after conversion to AC. The average US price for 1,000 Watt-Hours of electricity, which the utilities call a KiloWatt-Hour, is just under 9 cents (US Energy Information Administration Website).

Divide $9 by 9 cents to get the "simple payback" in years, not including maintenance, equipment replacement, changes in the price and value of money, etc. for investing in solar electric generation.

Wind in the US is Federally subsidized at $80 per MegaWatt-Hour, which is a less straightforward way of saying 8 cents per KiloWatt-Hour - almost the full retail price of the electricity. However, depending on the location, the unsubsidized economics are reportedly attractive in some cases.

Businessman or politician? I don't know. I think it depends on what he might actually know about the economics of solar and wind, which is hard to figure out at a distance.


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