I woke up one morning last week, looked out the window, and solar panels had descended on Hillsborough. It almost seems like they arrived overnight.
Actually, it was one year ago today that I first wrote about PSE&G's plan to install 200,000 solar panels on utility poles throughout Central Jersey. At that time, PSE&G announced that it had awarded a contract in the amount of $200 million to Petra Solar to install the panels which would supply enough electricity to power 64,000 homes.
I immediately had some questions about the math, If 200,000 panels can supply enough electricity to power 64,000 homes, then doesn't that mean I could power my own home with three or four panels? Also, does the $200 million cover the cost of the panels as well as the installation? I certainly hope so, as the guy on the lift and the guy smoking a cigarette easily could - and surely did - put up dozens in a single day. That would mean just $1,000 per panel - installed. Hey, what do I need PSE&G for - I can get off the grid for $4,000!
In the story in this week's Courier News, a PSE&G spokesman mentions how the benefits of the solar installation "will be returned to all ratepayers". Funny, since one year ago, PSE&G was honest enough to tell us that the ratepayers were actually paying for the project through rate increases that would continue until 2028!