” Imagine two homeowners: One is a wealthy investor building a vacation house near Lake Tahoe in California. The other owns a middle-class home outside Burlington, Vt. Both are interested in keeping their energy costs under control—and helping the environment while they’re at it. The owner of the Tahoe ski palace installs an expensive solar-energy system to power his lights and appliances, covering his roof with photovoltaic panels. (He uses natural gas for heat.) The Vermonter invests in a clean-burning wood-pellet stove, cutting his consumption of heating oil by about 80 percent.
Our Tahoe homeowner enjoys the virtuous glow of being seen as an alternative-energy pioneer. He also enjoys something else: Under the Energy Policy Act of 2005, he is entitled to a tax credit equal to 30 percent of the cost of his system, including installation. Let’s say Mr. Tahoe installed a 6-kilowatt PV system at a cost of about $23,000. His federal tax credit works out to nearly $7000, and the state of California kicks in additional incentives.
Our Vermont homeowner isn’t so lucky. The IRS offers only a 10 percent credit on biomass heating systems like his stove. The credit doesn’t include installation costs, and the total is capped at $300. That’s a grudging level of support—yet the pellet stove may be doing more than the solar array to help the environment.
The systems are tough to compare: It’s electricity versus heat, and removing reliance on a distant power plant rather than an oil burner in the basement. But to get a rough idea, we can calculate the energy savings from both systems using British thermal units, or Btu. The Vermont homeowner’s system saves about 575 gallons of oil yearly, which is the equivalent of 79 million Btu. The Tahoe system might produce close to 9000 kilowatt-hours of electricity a year—about 30 million Btu.”
Read the rest and see how , once again , the Obama Science is anything but “settled” .