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There was no bad solar math here

To the editor:

Contrary to letters by Mssrs. Blake (Feb. 11) and Zeller (Feb. 13), I made no mistake in my analysis of the Peterborough solar project in my own letter (Feb. 4).

I am a retired mechanical engineer with 20 years experience in the power industry and still professionally licensed in California. These are mechanical engineering questions. According to the NH Board of Professional Engineers website, neither of my critics are mechanical engineers.

Mr. Blake accuses me of flawed methodology, mixing of terms and that I overlooked “time” in my analysis. Ahem. I was commenting on a claim as to the power output of the facility (expressed in “megawatts”). Mr. Blake, instead, reports on the energy output (expressed in “megawatt-hours”). It’s Mr. Blake, not I, that is confused.

  Rather than make claims on the basis of “black box” software and expect your readers to trust the results, I presented verifiable data from reputable sources (NASA) such that only basic math would be required by your readers to verify my results. I have no quarrel with Mr. Blake’s conclusion of 1,166 megawatt-hours annually. Dividing his number by the number of hours in a year (8,766 considering leap years), yields 0.133 megawatts of power, which is within the seasonal range I predicted (0.386 to 0.123).

Solar power was my first preference for employment when I graduated. That was in the “dark ages” of solar power so it was unavailable. No sour grapes here. I like the technology and use it myself. I just don’t want my neighbors to be flimflammed with exaggerated and politically motivated claims.

Others have correctly described this as economic folly. I’d go further. Accepting these grants is theft. Money is taken from non-Peterborough taxpayers effectively at the point of a gun to subsidize Peterborough’s electricity consumption. Shame on Peterborough. Shame!

Ross Wilkinson


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