Cowichan not sunny enough for solar

Duncan – I am somewhat bemused by Mr. Slade’s “Special to the Citizen” on solar energy in the April 29 edition.

I am the speaker that had the temerity to question the wisdom of people in our area rushing headlong into solar power investment. My sole motive is to inform, to educate. As I said during the meeting, solar power is an excellent technology, when it is applied in its proper context.

For those of us who watched the video presentation, did you notice that all of the filming took place somewhere in the U.S. southwest? For good reason, that area gets plenty of sun, which is critical to making solar power generation cost-effective.

The Cowichan is a Warm Land but not quite sunny enough to reward solar power users with a reasonable payback on their investment.

By all means, buy into solar power if you feel inclined; but please do not expect support from local government and your fellow taxpayers to do so. Our taxes are already much too high, thank you very much.

And, lest we forget: somewhere down the line, those solar panels are going to have to be replaced and recycled. The problem is the recycling and it goes like this: let’s say there are 50 cents worth of recoverable selenium in a solar panel. However, (I am just guessing now, but won’t be far off the mark) it costs, say $5 to recover that selenium. Who will pay that recovery cost? Our grandchildren?

You know how these things go. The used solar panels will be quietly stockpiled and left to decay in someone else’s back yard. Not what citizens of good conscience intend.

Oh! Before I close on this subject, please remember that Mr. Slade is promoting this technology. He stands to make a buck.

One might wonder: at whose expense?

On the subject of thorium and thorium power, yes, it is a technology that is “out there.” But China and India are already researching it vigorously and Canada’s own Candu reactors are very well-suited for re-purposing for thorium fission. Why not push for a technology that is clean, easy to handle and moves us further away from uranium and plutonium, which are primarily war materiel?

I hope that the above gives you some balance and food for thought.

Laurie Thomson

Duncan