And, as budget cutting, and not job creation is clearly at the top of the national agenda, what will the job picture look like when all the budgets are reduced to a bare minimum, and all the 'excess' employees let go. It appears that all the talk about budget cutting comes down to this, moving the money spent from one place to another. From the state personnel budget to the state welfare budget.
On 6 July 2011 the headlines of the Columbus Dispatch reads "Ohio solar project a go" by Dan Gearino. "The largest solar-power project in the Midwest will be built in a rural area of eastern Ohio." the story begins.
"There may be trouble ahead for solar energy in Ohio," might have been a more suitable title, when one delves into the science upon which solar energy in general and this project in particular are based.
The real problem with the recent announcement of a 750 acre solar array to be installed in Noble County is that it is just the lastest example of government interference in the energy market; by 2025 the state's utilities are required to get 0.5 percent of their power from the sun. The lessons that government should have learned from the ethanol debacle seem to have not been enough.
Unless the solar panels that are to be installed have already been manufactured and are being warehoused for installation day, the cost of the panels if they represent the most efficient kind, will be prohibitive by the 2015 date this project is supposed to begin generating electricity.
If the solar panels will be made of silicon their efficiency is too low to be viable given the few hours of sunlight available in the hills of Eastern Ohio, and the highly variable weather of the North Central States. In fact even under ideal conditions, solar cells produce useful power less than 25% of the daylight hours available. Maybe the designers of this scheme did learn a lesson from the ethanol debacle, that is, get the government involved and a subsidy will follow.
While at Oxford, this author, began writing a series entitled 'The Science Behind the News'. What began as a series of talks to 'A-Level' students in England grew into a much more detailed analysis of the science behind major news stories that appeared in the English and world press.