To the editor:
I want to congratulate Martinsville Electric Director Durwin Joyce and City Manager Leon Towarnicki for bringing the issues accompanying the current promotion of individual residential solar power in the city to everyone's attention. As stated in the article ("City seizes solar power," July 13) residents are being solicited to have "free" solar panels installed on their roofs to save on their electric utility bills. Of course these savings will only be truly realized in 10 to 15 year at best.
Prior to my retirement in 2018 I was plant manager of a large industrial minerals operation in North Carolina. Had I submitted a capital expenditure project with a payback no less than 10 years, I would have been laughed out of the room. Residents should apply similar critical thinking to investments in their homes.
Home sales in Martinsville have been very active in recent years. Who's to say you will remain in your current home for 10 years or more? Of course many residents will remain in place, but what exactly are the true savings of solar power? What are the normal on going maintenance costs of the system? And what happens when it rains and/or snows for two, three days or more?
Most of the recent solar power projects I have observed have been the leasing of large acreage tracts for the construction of solar farms that produce electricity to be sold to power companies such as AEP. This, to me, is the more logical approach to solar as an environmentally beneficial and renewable source of power.
Last but not least, anyone who has tried to make their way through the legalese of the terms and conditions of their cable or cell phone provider has found it to be a mind numbing experience that in the end is found to be solely for the protection of the provider, not the consumer. Buyer Beware! If it sounds too good to be true it probably is.