Yardley Voice – Going Green Solar Column – April 2014
by Mark Bortman
Have you heard the expression, “Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?” Well, since no one is giving away free milk, maybe I should buy the cow. The price of milk is close to $4 per gallon. According to CBS News, the price of milk is headed up even higher. I can’t imagine what a gallon is going to cost in five or 10 years.
So, what if I could buy a cow and get my own milk straight from the source? Option A would be just to buy a gallon at the supermarket as I’ve done many times in the past (and will continue to do many times in the future). Option B is to buy a cow that would provide two gallons of milk every week for 25 years. Without getting too “math-y”, let’s say with option B, the price per gallon of gas ends up half as expensive as what I pay at the supermarket.
Well, let me throw in a couple inducements to buy the cow: what if the cow, once I owned her, was maintenance-free and there were no additional costs? What if I didn’t need to lift a finger – the milk just magically showed up in my fridge? What if there were never any cow patties?
So I’d have the benefit of less expensive milk. And, since I own the cow, I’m insulating myself from future increases in the cost of milk at the supermarket. And, since I’ve invested in an asset, I could always sell the cow in the future and recoup some of my costs.
Although it may be unrealistic to buy a cow, this is the choice you have at home with your electricity. You can continue to pay your electric bill each month and who knows what electric rates will be five or 10 years from now. Or you can invest in solar panels which are guaranteed to produce power for 25 years. That power ends up being less than half the cost that PECO charges right now. Plus the solar panels are maintenance free, do not cause any pollution and add value to your home.
So why not get a cow and start reaping the benefits of free milk?