D-11’s projected solar savings questioned
       If District 11 can save money generating their own electricity by installing solar panels they have figured out a way to generate electricity cheaper than Colorado Springs Utilities does [“Solar panels defray energy bills for Bristol, Jackson,” Nov. 8 Westside Pioneer.]
       If District 11 can claim that all the savings from the reduced electricity costs will be put back into the classroom, where did the $362,000 to install the solar panels come from - if not from money for the classroom?
       If District 11 assumes payback based on a 5 percent annual electricity rate increase, it has ignored historical averages which show that since 2000 the average inflation rate is 2-3 percent, and since 1990 residential electricity rates have not kept up with inflation. Relative to everything else, electricity prices have gone down, and for 2013 Utilities is proposing a rate decrease. Payback is much longer than projected if historical information and projections of coal and natural gas prices are used. Payback of 7.2 years for Bristol and 11.5 years for Jackson is too high even when the 5 percent rate increase is used.
       If the $90,000 of solar rebates paid for by Colorado Springs Utilities are put into the cost side, you have to question whether the project would ever pay out.

Dick Standaert