The “I hate solar panels” edition

Solar_panels_on_a_roofWe got solar panels several years ago.  We did so (a) because certain members of our household are greenies and (b) because we got huge government subsidies.  These subsidies weren’t enough to make the panels affordable for working class households, but they were funded, in part, by those same working class households.  In other words, the working class helped me — the economic upper class — buy something they’ll never be able to afford.

Thanks to the solar panels, we only pay energy bills twice a year.  The rest of the year, although we never get paid a cent, at least our energy bills are a wash.  At this rate, in ten years, the solar panels will have come close to paying for the money we shelled out for them.  (The working class, obviously, will never see a dime’s return on the money they unwittingly gave me.)  Even as some people gloat about their low or non-existent energy bills after installing solar, I’m thinking we’re still out-of-pocket for another “X” years before the damn thing breaks even.

Did I say “damn thing” about those wonderful solar panels?  Yes, I did.  I hate them.  It turns out that the only way to realize a saving on them that’s significant enough to offset their cost over a period of ten years is to use electricity only during “non-peak” hours, which are the hours when the sun doesn’t shine.  That means that, on weekdays during the seven spring and summer months of the year, I can’t run the dishwasher, turn on the washing machine, use the dryer, or engage in any other significant electricity usage unless I want my energy bill to go through the roof.

When we signed up, I thought, “Whatever.”  I wish I’d thought harder.  It turns out that my housekeeping doesn’t conform to the solar timetable.  I work at home and, for years, I’ve been accustomed to turning the dishwasher on when it’s full or putting clothes in the dryer once the washer has done its stuff.  Now, though, my counter is always cluttered with dirty dishes, because the solar window doesn’t match when our dishes get dirty, so I invariably have more dishes on the counter than I can deal with at the particular moment I’m allowed to run a load.  More times than I can count, because the dishwasher is packed too full, or because things have dried on in the 14 hours during which the system was “down”, or because my dishwasher detergent has no phosphates, nothing is clean, so I run a second load.  I’m sure that’s not green.

As for the washing machine, I try run a load in the morning like a good girl.  By evening, after dealing with household matters until ten or eleven at night, I’ve completely forgotten that I ran a load 16 hours before and that the stuff needs to go in the dryer.  Even if I remember, quite often I need to monitor that dryer load so I can recover items that can’t be in for too long, which is not something I want to do at 11:00 p.m.  On a good hot summer’s day, by the next morning the wet laundry will have started to mildew, so I get to wash it again.  And no, that’s not green either.

On weekends and during the five winter months, the only peak time is between five and eight in the evening.  That means that certain people go ballistic when I cook dinner using the oven.

If I were a more organized person, I’m sure this would work out splendidly.  But I’m not a more organized person.  Or rather, I’m not organized around peak and non-peak time.  My household biorhythms are different and, proving that I’m not at all adaptable, despite six or seven years with this damn solar power, I still haven’t gotten the knack of bending my household to the solar clock.

Why this jeremiad about solar power?  Because American Thinker ran an article today about the scam powering solar power — it’s incredibly costly and is affordable only when we hide costs, riding on the backs of the working class.