A review of federal stimulus spending on solar energy projects in Texas finds it will be up to a century before the alleged “savings” from this so-called green technology covers what the taxpayers’ paid for installation. That’s assuming solar panels installed at places like a library in Bedford, Austin’s community college, and the Texas-Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, last that long.

Our friends at TexasWatchDog.org are reporting this after an investigation of the millions allocated to Texas under last year’s federal stimulus program earmarked for energy programs.

To say this is a joke is to put it kindly; it is a fleecing of the taxpayers. And it reflects the faulty thinking that goes into local governments taking “free” federal money to do bone-headed things.

Bedford’s new library, for example, will allegedly get 40 percent of its electric needs from solar panels paid for with a grant of federal money. TexasWatchDog reports it will be 72 years before the “savings” realized will equal the dollars expended. But Bedford’s city manager says, “For our city, this is a great deal.”

But it’s a raw deal for everyone else. I suspect by turning the air conditioning and heating a degree or two would probably give better energy savings for their taxpayers.

Maybe my favorite example is a solar panel installed on a sewage lift station in Horseshoe Bay. The $373,000 project won’t break even — energy-savings-wise — for 93 years. That’s a lot of sewage.

The only green these projects seem to be about is the green of the taxpayers’ money.

Michael Quinn Sullivan

Michael Quinn Sullivan is the publisher of Texas Scorecard. He is a native Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M, and Eagle Scout. Previously, he has worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine contributor, Capitol Hill staffer, think tank vice president. Michael and his wife have three adult children, and a dog. Check out his podcast, Reflections on Life and Liberty.

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