School system saving money hoax

School system saving money hoax

Posted in the Rogersville Forum


Charlotte, NC

#1 May 15, 2013
The TVA solar panels are expected to make 43,000$ per year. They hired "Captain Kilowatt" aka George Larkins to oversee energy consumption at 65,000$ plus almost 10,000$ a year travel allowance.... Those solar panels ended up costing the county over 30,000$ per year! Wasted spending! This man is ready to retire. He was a principal for years. I guess his retirement will be based on his last few years in the system as the energy man. More money... More money more money.

Kingsport, TN

#2 May 15, 2013
These are the panels at Cherokee?

Does TVA really own them? I though someone else paid for them, like you said $30,000 a year in payments.

Kingsport, TN

#3 May 15, 2013
Oh they installed them at 11 schools.

Promised it would cost taxpayers nothing and would generate $70,000 a year of free money for the next "25-30 years" on top of no electric bill.

So you are saying the first year is in and instead of generating $70,000 in cash on top of no electric bill, it's costing $30,000. What is the $30,000 for?
Hard up

Sykesville, MD

#4 May 16, 2013
Huh wrote:
Oh they installed them at 11 schools.
Promised it would cost taxpayers nothing and would generate $70,000 a year of free money for the next "25-30 years" on top of no electric bill.
So you are saying the first year is in and instead of generating $70,000 in cash on top of no electric bill, it's costing $30,000. What is the $30,000 for?
According to the person who started this post the $30,000 is for the salary of the person the school system hired to oversee the operation of the solar panel project. They don't say whether he oversees all schools or just Surgoinsville so it is unclear what the total overrun would be.

Newton, NC

#5 May 18, 2013
Thanks for letting everyone know about this. Most of us would be unaware.

Kingsport, TN

#6 May 18, 2013
That is very interesting. Larkins was hired only a few years ago because he was the husband of a school board member who is said to have requested it, this was a minor scandal in the papers since he was not the most qualified candidate and normal open hiring protocols were not followed.

The salary at hire was $34,000.

Now he is making $75,000 and spending most of his time traveling around the country advocating for these private venture capitalist benefiting solar panel programs, and has been getting awards and so forth for doing so. The $75,000 is completely outside the scope of what was allocated for the position, but it will affect his pension since that is based on your income at retirement.

The panels in the county cost $7 million dollars and are said to, if they generate as much electricity as their maximum rating (which is something that will only happen if they are installed in a place like Arizona that has few overcast days (not the case for East Tennessee, AND if they had sun tracking servos (which they do not), and if they are all in open flat areas that are not blocked by hills in the early morning and evening (only the case for some locations). In Tennessee, and without servos, they will not generate their maximum rating so the predicted output is rather unlikely.

Let's give him the benefit of the doubt though and say that it generates as much electricity in the whole county, over all 20 site installations, as is used in 150 residential homes. Now we know from official statistics that the average Holston electric customer uses 14,400 kwH per year of electricity, at a price of 8 cents per kwH, or $1152 per year. So 150 average households here pay $172,800 a year for electricity, and that's the value of the electricity being generated each year by these panels which they paid $7 million for.

Now lets say that you have excellent credit and you are able to get a $7 million loan at a mere 6 percent interest. That means your interest alone on such a loan, not touching principal, is $420,000 a year.

So all the electricity generated is not making enough to even cover interest payments here.

So how is this working?

Well there is a special interest law saying that the TVA has to pay 11 cents a kwH MORE than the going rate for solar given to them from plants located on school grounds, from 2013 to 2023 and then it ends. So these guys are taking advantage of that.

But the numbers still don't add up, not even close.

Well the investment firm does get a large number of federal tax credits, and energy subsidy grants, the first year they install this system.

It's still not enough to make sense though - unless their PLAN is to default on the loans, and leave the school holding the bag, since the school is the technical owner of the panels, a requirement for qualifying for the 11 cents extra.

The only way this will work financially is for the schools to find in a few years that the investors have disappeared with the federal grant money, and the schools have to pay for the panels themselves, panels that will never pay back even a small fraction of either their monetary cost, or the cost to manufacture them.

It's very interesting that none of the newspapers reporting on these deals have seen fit to do the simple math necessary to figure out that this deal is not what it seems.

Greenback, TN

#7 May 24, 2013
Your an idiot you research again! George is not married to a board member and the system did not pay for one panel!

Kingsport, TN

#8 May 24, 2013
i know personaly that schools throw away perfectly good supplies and equipment every year to upgrade or maintain a budget at taxpayers expence..

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