From The WSJ
Not far down the road from Bozeman is the village of Ennis, home to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Ennis National Fish Hatchery. The hatchery received $179,000 in stimulus money for solar panels, its share of last year's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
The fish hatchery uses about 34,000 kilowatt hours (kwh) of electricity annually. At 10 cents per kwh, that means a bill of $3,400. The solar panels, we are assured, will generate 75% of the hatchery's electricity, at zero cents per kwh. Assuming so, the annual electric bill will fall by $2,550. Applying that sum to the cost, the recovery period for the solar panels (ignoring interest rates) is 70 years.
Solar panel experts say that panels have about a 25-year life, but the latest models, which no doubt are used in Ennis, may have a 40-year life. Taking that estimate, the panels leave us in the financial dark by 30 years. The rate of return looks like Las Vegas housing the past couple years.
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