The well-meaning doctors (Dr. Sidney Smith and Dr. Pat Godbey) who built the Pembroke Subsidy Farm are, with the best intent, orchestrating what by any other name is simply a second-tier subsidy scheme. First, check out their new "E-Power-Exchange" website. Next, read Georgia Power's "Premium Green Energy with Solar Option" program, specifically the $5 option.
See any difference? In GP's scheme it accepts solar-generated electricity into its grid and sells ordinary electricity to an end user for a premium. With Georgia Power's (GP's) deal, it simply convinces greenie customers to pay an extra $5 and then passes that "volunteer money" on to solar producers. (Nice, eh? GP thus gets to claim -- using Other Peoples Money -- that it's "helping" solar power).
Under the Smith/Godbey scheme, it's the same $5 premium except that they, through their own E-bay-centric "E-Power Exchange," cop the $5 directly and split it with "source counties" (hence, spread the payola) to win political support from them for their real objective: To alter the turf-protective legislation that GP and its buds long ago got passed to prevent bit players like Smith and me from building solar arrays on, for example, elementary school roofs and selling solar-based electrical power directly to them.
It's not even clear how GP makes up its lost "greenie-premium" revenue (the $5 it currently collects) to cover its $.17 FIT that it pays solar producers -- a $.17 FIT that I presume Dr. Smith cops to presumably claim his own array "economically viable."
Dr. Smith glosses over all this with his warm and fuzzy, "we're doing it for our kids" green-speak video (click here, lower right). Clearly he's using this program to reap the political support (by giving counties 1% of the $5 he cops directly from GP and other utility customers) he feels he needs to alter or repeal the Georgia Territorial Act that he notes here and that I've written about here.
I don't see any upside for Georgia with this scheme. Smith takes your $5 and what happens to the $.17? I guess he'd respond that, for example, in non-GP-served counties there is no "premium FIT payment" anyway (I get just over $.08/KWH from my EMC), so why should I complain?
In the meantime, I'm publicly challenging these doctors to release their net cost data on their "Solar Farm" so the rest of us can see if what they've done makes any economic sense in the first place -- or is it in fact one big Subsidy Farm like I suspect? It's real simple: What is the total dollar cost of that farm (including expected maintenance and other carrying costs), and how many KWH of power is it projected to produce over 30 years? Those two bits of data will speak volumes. Please provide them.
Here's a fan's webpage, by the way.