CS Monitor Praises 'Renewable' House, Ignores Cost to Taxpayers

     Mike Strizki doesn’t get an electric bill, or a gas bill. He’s off the power grid, living in the first U.S. solar-hydrogen house.

     “It sounds promising, even utopian: homemade, storable energy that doesn’t contribute to global warming,” wrote Jared Flesher in The Christian Science Monitor on March 15.

     The very positive profile on Strizki and his unusual New Jersey home did not explain that the project was done on the backs of taxpayers.

     “The total cost, $500,000, was paid for in part with a $250,000 grant from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities,” Flesher wrote.

     So New Jersey spent $250,000 in taxpayer dollars on one man’s home. That price is roughly equivalent to 237 average residents’ electric bills for the year 2005, based on data from the Energy Information Administration.

     But the Monitor didn’t state that government grants come from tax dollars; instead it treated the government as a deep-pocketed individual.

     Solar panels are expensive, according to Flesher’s article, but “some states, including New Jersey, have offered rebates that cover up to 70 percent of the cost.”

     Flesher quoted Robert Boehm, director of the Center for Energy Research at the University of Nevada, who has studied renewable energy for more than three decades. Boehm said he doesn’t think homes like Strizki’s make sense now, but could in the future.

     “In any of these new technologies, they need a lot of government support,” Boehm said.

     “Government support” is more accurately tax dollars, but Flesher left out that point.