I have not ever been able to make solar installation on my house get a reasonable payback, even with rising electricity rates, the best location in the country for solar, and huge government subsidies. Large solar installations remain a publicity stunt, a sort of really expensive indulgence bought to garner the "green" title:
Scott Gustafson runs the numbers on the solar installation at the revamped Phoenix convention center:
capital cost: $850,000
operating costs: not provided
annual electricity savings: $15,000
return on investment (ignoring operating costs and interest): 1.7%
Solar is still a fine toy for the rich and public figures like Al Gore looking to disguise their true carbon footprint. But the economics aren't there yet for big boy investors -- its still off by an order of magnitude, at least.
Hopefully, this will change as high energy prices encourage innovation.
I have frequently quote this Milton Friedman quote about regulation ostensibly being about the consumer, but in reality existing to protect one set of competitors from another:
The justification offered is always the same: to protect the consumer. However, the reason
is demonstrated by observing who lobbies at the state legislature for
the imposition or strengthening of licensure. The lobbyists are
invariably representatives of the occupation in question rather than of
the customers. True enough, plumbers presumably know better than anyone
else what their customers need to be protected against. However, it is
hard to regard altruistic concern for their customers as the primary
motive behind their determined efforts to get legal power to decide who
may be a plumber.
Here is further proof, via Scott Gustafson, right here in Arizona:
Valley tattoo-parlor owners, eager to protect and burnish the reputation of their industry, are calling for state regulation of the tattoo trade.
Shop owners have teamed up to form the Arizona Tattoo and Piercing Association, and one of the organization's first steps was to meet this week with state legislators who say they now intend to introduce legislation to regulate the tattoo industry...
"What we heard from the tattoo industry is that they want to be more respected, and unless there is some sort of regulation, shops can exist which will give a bad name to the whole industry," Schapira said.
He said he intends to introduce legislation to bring regulation to the tattoo industry at the upcoming session of the Legislature.
Burton-Cahill said she considers the matter "an issue of public health."...
"This is becoming an increasing trend with the reputable operators," said Will Humble, assistant director of the department. "The majority of the shop owners are doing things in a sanitary way but a handful is not doing everything they can. The bigger members of the industry are trying to make sure those disreputable kinds of places don't give tattooing a bad name."
Here you see it all - ostensibly aimed at the consumer, but in reality aimed at sitting on a few competitors they want out.