Is Edina's Solar Power Investment Really Benefiting the City?

FalconHeights_City-Hall-Solar-Panel-Roof_FromCity2014.jpgWe highly recommend that you read Kim Crockett’s opinion piece in the January 20, 2017 edition of the Star Tribune, reprinted on the CoAE site.   How Much is ‘Green Bling’ Costing your Town or City”  argues that Edina’s expensive foray into solar power panels is an example of “feel-good environment projects”. 

A 2014 study done by the Center of the American Experiment concluded that Edina’s 2011 city hall rooftop project had a very low return when compared to the costs being funded by Edina’s 50,000 federal taxpayers and Xcel ratepayers.  Given the savings generated by that Edina solar power plan, it will take 154 years to cover the costs.  The panels themselves only have a useful life of a few decades

The article’s key points:

  • The scale of Edina’s project is too small to measurably reduce greenhouse gases

  • Money spent on other conservation actions would most likely deliver much more immediate returns

  • If Edina still wants to invest in so-called “green” technology to reduce carbon emissions, it should be willing to justify spending its own money

  • As citizens, we need to continue to take a closer look at what our city staffs are putting in front of our city councils.  We need to volunteer to serve on our city commissions. 

  • While embracing true conservation measures that better our cities, we need to help our councils say “no” to “free” grants and federal money that can’t be justified by returns on investment.

(Photo is of a similar city hall rooftop project in Falcon Heights.)