Cincinnati Zoo: Solar Screw Up!

The Cincinnati Zoo is proclaiming itself as “the Greenest Zoo in America“.  I would like to add to their accolades: “the Most Fiscally Moronic Zoo in America“. The Cinci Zoo (a few years ago now) completed a canopy of 6,400 solar panels that will reduce their electric bill by 20%. Their annual electric bill is $700,000. 20% of $700k is $140,000. The solar panel project cost $11 million.  That’s right. Eleven. Million. Dollars. At $140k per year in savings, they will break even in 78.5 years. Does anyone but me think this doesn’t add up?

Let’s give them the benefit of a doubt and say that a solar panel will last 20 years (5-10 is more realistic, but I’m feeling generous, seeing as how they are mathematically challenged and all). So we will subtract 20 years of usage from the $11 mill, which means they will save $2.8 million off their electric bill in the next 20 years and it will only cost them an additional an additional $8.2 million to do it (or about $410,000 per year in flat out losses for 20 years. That’s a lot of Monkey Chow!) And here is the funniest part: They’re proud of this achievement.

I do have one solar powered money saving idea for them. For about $3, you can buy a solar powered calculator, to figure out: you just lost $8.2 million dollars.