Longwood Gardens Sunflowers and Solar Payback

Longwood Garden’s field of sunflowers that got such attention last summer (see January 25 posting) was not repeated this year.  I was told by their staff that the field is back to growing corn, and I could view that instead.  I declined because I see many cornfields closer to home and a vast field of corn does not have the same appeal as a vast field of sunflowers.  Longwood, however, is well aware of the interest caused by the sunflowers, and I would expect they will incorporate it in their plans sometime in the future.

Thanks again to Jerry Jerome for pointing out an Inquirer article on Longwood Gardens’ construction of a another type of field, a field of solar panels costing $7 million and expected to save $65,000 per year in electricity.  Jerry pointed out that by these figures the payback would take over a hundred years.  I did the math and came to the same conclusion, and that’s not even factoring in the lost interest on that $7 million or the lost value of the land.   Just getting a paltry 1% interest on the $7 million would earn $70,000 a year, and after a hundred years, you would still have the $7 million.  The solar field, I understand, is being built on Route 1 near the entrance, but on the other side of my approach, so I have not seen it.  Will it even last a hundred years? Not many things do.

I did see within the Garden this recently-installed “Solar Sunflower” that follows the sun.  It looks pretty, but also expensive and does not have much solar area.  I could find no figures on it, but I suspect its payback is even longer, too long to be practical in any garden of mine.

Payback is easily calculated and does not need an actual product to prove or disprove its practicality.


About Roger Walck

My reasons for writing this blog are spelled out in the posting of 10/1/2012, Montaigne's Essays. They are probably not what you think.
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