Jim Winner

Muskogee

Citizens of Muskogee, truth — often not the goose that laid the 'golden egg', but, instead the results of misguided speculation. We are being sold a half-million dollar (PLUS) solar system installed on the Civic Center. The City Council and Assistant City Manager Gary Garvin decided purchasing a 20-25 year solar lease is a good idea, assuming a 50% per cent electricity cost savings is achievable, factual or feasible. It would seem updating the electrical system already in place to reduce electricity demand using LED or other options should be done first. Adding a solar system to operate a currently high-cost outdated electrical system is a step backwards and fails to fully address the solution.

At a local church, which is not open 24/7, we reduced electricity costs by installing over 320 LED lights in chandeliers, reducing required power for equivalent lighting 90%. We will do better in the future if we remove all the outdated high-cost and high-maintenance fluorescent / incandescent lighting and fixtures (becoming obsolete). After that is done, investing in solar system technology after updating and removing the old equipment will lower costs, double increased savings and could even generate future operating revenue (electricity buy-back). 

A problem conveniently overlooked is after installation if solar equipment fails or needs replacing, the installation and maintenance clause does NOT PAY for the part. What is the life expectancy of the components? Is the battery back-up system free replacement? What is the life expectancy of the replacement guarantee/warranty? The City of Muskogee is assuming a 20-25 year solar equipment lease, so ask yourself, if you lease a house, do you own it? Maybe after 20-25 years and your only option is a 'new' replacement solar system at cost for your obsolete one, then it is definitely yours. "Let the buyer beware when spending other people's money."

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