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Sigh… If only it were that easy.

Had a letter from the Kangaroo Island Council today, inviting us (and every other ratepayer) to an information session on the ‘Solar Councils Community Program.’

This is free advertising for one of the solar panel carpetbaggers – ZEN Home Energy Systems. KI Council thoughtfully enclosed a brochure so we could be impressed by how green and nice and renewable and sustainable and everything their panels are.

They even won an award – from the Municipal Association of Victoria, the ‘Award of Excellence in Sustainability.’ So they must be good, eh. Choice, bro!

Of course, they give money to the local Council too, in the form of grants for a local ‘Renewable Energy research Fund,’ which will be used to investigate further options to cut greenhouse gas emissions in local areas.

Perhaps they could investigate the number of vegetarians eating excessive amounts of cabbage.

The brochure tells us that ‘The introduction of renewable energy in communities has the potential to create jobs through the greater take up of renewable energy opportunities and growing industry. it will ultimately lead to lower power bills.’

Lovely. Except that nothing in that sentence is true.

The experience of every country that has ‘created jobs’ through the installation of photo-voltaics is that approximately 5 jobs are lost for every job created. This is because it takes an average of $400,000 in subsidies (in other words, money taken from taxpayers) to create each new job.

That is money taken from businesses which are creating something useful or offering useful services. It is money that cannot be spent employing people to create those useful things, because the government is taking it to spend on solar panels.

If solar panels really did save more energy than they cost, they wouldn’t need to be subsidised.

And as for leading to lower power bills – ROTFL!

Well I would be if it were not so damned tragic. Solar subsidies will actually raise power costs by about 20%. And this, like every other increase in basic living costs, will impact most on people who can least afford it.

But who cares, as long as the government looks like it’s being green and responsible and stuff, and the solar carpet-baggers are making their loot?

I do, for one.

The subsidies are wrong, the advertising dishonest, and the overall cost to the consumer and the wider community ridiculously expensive. Rooftop solar schemes will increase unemployment, and because of the utterly useless increased taxes they require, reduce our competitiveness in industry and export.

So should I get solar panels? The problem is that whether I get them or not, I am still paying for them – both in the initial subsidies and the in the ongoing forced (by the government) payment by power companies of excessive rates for solar power fed back into the grid – payments which increase the cost of power for everyone.

Even with the subsidies they would barely save me anything over their lifetime. And straight away that tells you there is something wrong. If they really did save energy they would be cheaper. They wouldn’t need to be subsidised. But I’ve already said that. 

So should I get them?

I would be participating in a scheme that rips everyone off if I do.

But I’m paying for them anyway. I feel like I’m ripping myself off if I don’t.

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