Solar Panels Equals Cash For Flint Residents
Flint's Mayor, Karen Weaver explains her plan to put cash in the hands of residents by allowing a solar panel installation near the city's local water treatment plant. According to the Mayor, a joint venture with Zero Mass Water would reduce water bills for residents through revenue generated by a lease agreement and proposed sales of bottled water produced by an array of solar panels. "We had also talked about using some of the money that we are going to get from this to offset water bills." the Mayor stated in an interview May 23, 2019.
Mayor Weaver expressed disappointment with City Council for a postponement of the vote to approve her proposal and delay 'relief' to resident affected by the water crisis which occurred in 2014. The plan calls for a total of $900,000 dollars over a ten year period generated with the company, Zero Mass Water, bearing the total financial burden and Flint enjoying the benefit! This almost sounds too good to be true.
The Mayor's anger was directed in particular to 4th Ward Councilwoman Kate Fields and 9th Ward Councilwoman Eva Worthing. Her complaint with them is their skepticism about the reputation of the company (Zero Mass Water) and their ability to deliver the terms of the proposal.
So what would "the deal" mean for Flint residents? By comparison, in February 2016, the State of Michigan provided close to 40 million to Flint for water bill relief. Those funds were applied over the next year to assist residents with their bills. During that time there were approximately 29,000 active water accounts. Applied equally to each account it would have provided an average of $1393.00 that year.
Of course the devil is always in the details so, Weaver's new "solar deal" according to her, generates $90,000 dollars a year or $3.10 per account based on the same 29,000 active accounts.(2017 data) So why all the excitement? $3.10 is not exactly a sunny windfall.