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The future for solar is so bright? Or is it?

To the editor:

I was disappointed that the Review-Journal would print the article by Christopher Martin of Bloomberg News (“Returns that shine bright as sunshine,” Wednesday) with such a Pollyanna headline.

The article basically states that several large investors are now eager to invest in solar projects due to loan guarantees by the government. “Solar is now bankable,” the article states. Solar was “once so risky that only government backing could draw private capital,” it goes on to say. Investors now can expect 10 percent to 15 percent returns on their investment.

But how did we get to this cost-effective turnaround? Well, the article makes it clear that these private investors would still not be interested if the government was not guaranteeing the projects!

Further, it fails to mention that the solar power generated at these projects is subsidized by higher rates for power consumers (that would be all of us suckers out here). Liberal governments in many states have mandated that a large percentage of power come from the so-called renewable sources. This power costs more, and the added cost will increase our electric bills.

The benefits of the government subsidy programs are doubtful, as we have seen in the Solyndra debacle. The taxpayers will be on the hook for the costs if the projects fail. Further, taxpayers/ratepayers should be outraged that the government has again sided with wealthy Wall Streeters to get returns on investments that would make Bernie Madoff proud.

So when investor Warren Buffett and the other big Wall Street investors earn 15 percent on these investments in solar energy, please remember that you have contributed to this each month with your higher electric bills.

It’s enough to make a conservative join the Occupy movement.

James Magnuson

Las Vegas

To the editor:

According to the Wednesday Business section story, “Returns that shine bright as sunshine,” investors are piling into solar investments because of their excellent profit potential. But the investors are the only people who will benefit from these plants.

NV Energy’s contract pays 13 cents per kilowatt hour (kwh) for solar power — more than three times the 4 cents per kwh it costs the company to generate power in existing plants with natural gas. The difference must be paid for by adding it to consumers’ power bills (about $90 million will be pulled out of the Nevada economy by the Crescent Dunes plant).

The bottom line: Washington lends investors hundreds of millions of dollars to build solar plants that triple the cost of power for consumers so the investors can get rich.

That’s not a scheme we should be happy about.

Tom Keller


To the editor:

Has anyone actually penciled out the numbers for using solar power to run our homes? Using the data in the “by the numbers” information accompanying the Thursday article on President Obama’s visit to Boulder City’s solar array:

The latest Census Bureau estimate puts 160 million houses in the United States. It would take 9,411 of these facilities to power these homes.

Total cost: $1.3 trillion. Land area required: 4.2 million acres, or an area more than six times the size of Rhode Island.

All this for a power source that we could use at best only half the time because of this thing called darkness which happens at night.

If Mr. Obama thinks solar is such a good deal, why doesn’t he invest his own money in it instead of ours? Any bets on whether he has any skin in the game? I didn’t think so.

Curtis Williams


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