LETTER: Energy heroes to energy zeroes
Twenty months ago there was a news story entitled “Energy Heroes,” about a $25,000 government grant for a solar demonstration system, and if you believe the application another $9,800 of their money for a total $34,800.
Today, this solar system is gone, the applicant is trying to sell it off.
When I saw that news story, I was angry. We already had a demonstration solar system in town from a previous government grant, I contacted LiveSmartBC who gave out this latest grant pointing this out and asked for more details.
This $34,800 system would cost you $168 per month for 25 years, this one earned $35/month while it lasted. That’s $133 more per month to go solar, who would do this? Well it’s easy when it’s not your own money.
The literature states all criteria must be met, cost efficient, innovative, replicable by others, and a benefit to the community; it was none of those.
It cost $133 a month more, was a carbon copy of the previous grant solar demonstration system; who would replicate this? The only benefit I see is to the pocketbook of the engineers company.
They made promises: it was to be highly visible to the community, they would put their data online live for all to see how the system was performing, have open house seminars, tours, a blog and videos. I contacted LiveSmart several times telling them I wanted to see their data online, told them no one could see the installation.
The application states, “this is a contract”. After one year the applicant is to submit documentary evidence they met all promises and if successful, would be awarded the equipment.
Although I pointed out many times to LiveSmartBC where they had failed to meet their promises they became owners of our $25,000 system and are now trying to sell it off.
The building owner was offered the equipment without subsidy. He told them to remove it, that’s why he is a successful businessman.
I have a problem with the engineer who submitted the application with all the promises, and knowing it did not meet all the criteria and where is the due diligence by those handing out our public dollars? The solar industry around the world exists because of government subsidy, but the myth persists that you just have to put a few solar panels on your roof and throw away your power bills; it’s a fantasy.