Professor Rizzo was keen that I check out the $12,000 solar picnic table at University of Rochester
Most kids use this to hook up their laptops. Here are a few assumptions
- 3 hours of use per day (heroic, I am pretty sure it is less than this)
- 65 watt draw from one laptop
- 160 days with sun (Rochester is apparently in the top 10 US cities for number of heavy cloud days)
- 10 cents per kw-hour
This means the table would produce 31,200 W-hr per year or 31.2 KW-hr per year. This yields an annual electricity savings of $3.12, giving the table a payback time on its investment of 3,846 years. If one assumes a cost of capital anywhere north of 0.026% per year, then the sun will go dark before this table pays itself off.
I want to thank Professor Mike Rizzo and members of the University of Rochester Alexander Hamilton [sic] Society for having me up to speak last week. I had an awesome time touring campus, some quality pub time with some of the students, some really good donuts, and then a speaking engagement followed by literally hours of questions and discussions. Here are some of us out the next day hiking the waterfront (Professor Rizzo is fourth from the right). This is at a "lighthouse" which I had expected to be some sexy Maine-type thing but turned out to be a 3-foot wide steel column with a blinking red light on top. We are on one of the breakwaters at the mouth of the Genessee River as it pours into Lake Ontario.
Professor Rizzo teaches four economics courses, including a couple of the introductory survey courses, and many students go out of their way to take all four, even if they are not even in the department. The group had an incredible vibe, the kind of student-professor learning group we all thought would be typical of college but most of us seldom actually encountered. It reminded me of Dead Poet's Society, except with economics rather than poetry and without the suicides.
In addition to being a popular professor, Rizzo also is a vastly outnumbered campus defender of individual liberty and economic sanity. I can't tell me how many kids told me they had been converted to the cause of free market economics by Professor Rizzo.
Professor Rizzo is also a constant campus gadfly on cost-benefit sensibility. Featured in an upcoming post will be a U of R solar charging station that was one of Rizzo's favorite targets. Which brings us to the issue of the group's name and why I keep writing [sic]. Apparently creating a new campus organization and 501c3 was way too costly, so they just piggy-backed on an existing group, despite the incongruity of the "Alexander Hamilton" name on a group generally dedicated to exploring small government.
I seem to be having some odd problem subscribing to his feed in Google Reader (all I get is Viagra Spam) but his blog is here: The Unbroken Window. Update: I could never get his feed to work for me so I burned a new one on my feedburner account. http://feeds.feedburner.com/UnbrokenWindow