Tuesday, July 22, 2008
Mysterious cheap electricity generated in Nevada
There is a strange violation of economics going on on the Nellis Solar Power Plant wikipedia page. It asserts that the US air force are paying 2.2 c per kWh for electricity from a solar PV farm that happens to be on their land. This sounds far too cheap. The article says the '14MW' farm cost $100M to build (that's 7 dollars per watt, peak) and will generate 25M kWh per year. That means it will generate an income of $0.55M per year for the owners of the farm (who paid $100M, remember). That corresponds to a pay-back time of 180 years. So what's going on? Is it a strange Nevada phenomenon? Did aliens subsidise the farm? Or did wikipedia get the numbers wrong?