Sam Jones

Sam Jones 4 months ago on Paul Bonnifield: Coal mine near its end

Fred you forgot to include the following in your list of those "waging war" on coal:

Natural gas Common sense Evolution Economics Republicans and the air

BTW, do you understand how on-line advertising works? Diane has no secret control over the timing or placement of her repeating messages on-line.

Join us in the 21st Century!


Sam Jones 5 months, 1 week ago on Our View: To invest in solar energy or not?

Scott, we are talking about complete installation costs as well as 25 years of maintenance built in. You get that right? plumbing supplies are cheap off the shelf as well but that's never your finished cost is it? Perhaps you are the Uber DIY guy. Good for you. But for the rest of us, we don't have the time or knowledge.


Sam Jones 5 months, 1 week ago on Our View: To invest in solar energy or not?

We have committed to the array for our personal home and I can say without a doubt, you will not find a better deal, either in up front costs or annual maintenance expenses. Of course I did the research, got bids to do a home install, etc and even after the tax rebate from the Fed, it's still about $1.00/ watt less by going with the community array. Folks, make no mistake, this is the last stop to participate in solar for under $3.00/ watt. This pricing does factor in the 30% tax credit and that tax credit is going away in 2016. Prices of solar panels are already on the rise after hitting an all time low in late 2012. The real cost difference comes down to the economy of scale of participating in a giant array with a volume deal on installation, permitting, connection fees, etc. Every builder in town knows that price/ sq foot drops with a larger project. This is no different. I wish I could buy more than 120% of our annual KWH usage (which we did to accomodate a plug in vehicle)

Don't forget that this is not a consumption item as mentioned. This is an investment in your home, one that will save you money every month, and ultimately pay you back handsomely on the sale of your property (yes homes without electric bills sell for more money). Solar panel installations are increasing at double digit rates, 20-30% in some countries, and have been for the last 8 years. Could so many have it all wrong? Are all of these people, businesses, municipalities, governments and countries just making bad investments?

I agree with the paper that the county and city have missed their chance to lead on this one. In their defense, it seems there are a lot of politics involved and both have a lot on their plate as is. I hope they might reconsider at a different time.

Reading these posts, I also understand there is a serious lack of knowledge and education about solar in our community. We probably need more help and information in general.

Get em while they're ..... hot :-)


Sam Jones 5 months, 2 weeks ago on Routt County commissioners hesitate to invest public monies in community solar garden

Hey John,

Not sure what you're referencing in terms of permit fee cost differences between counties, I have no idea. Perhaps you got that from another source? Cost to participate in CEC solar array is - as Tim said - almost 1/3 what everyone was paying a few short years ago and the fact that the county can take advantage of the Fed tax credit in the current pricing is an opportunity (lost). Municipalities can't get tax credits as non tax paying entities of course - but via the Community solar array, they can.

County should do this now, the next array will be more expensive as tax credits expire in 2016 and solar prices are already on the rise. $2.75/watt will be one of those costs that we look back on and say, wow, why didn't we buy more at that price.

I think CEC would be very wiling to share contract info with the county. I think I have seen them all personally (Power purchase agreement with YVEA as well as contract with CEC). Are they looking for some other contract?


Sam Jones 5 months, 3 weeks ago on Moffat County grills EPA about Clean Power Plan on Wednesday

No surprise at the comments on this one. Tim, thanks for your thoughtful and realistic views shared by a growing number of local residents. I always find the "More like this story" articles interested, especially this one from one year ago when Craig Station was ranked #1 (for carbon pollution in the state)

With that said, we should recognize that Craig Station is and has been working hard over the last year to become more clean as a carbon based facility. The badge of #1 polluter in the state obviously didn't sit well with anyone. Regulations, public opinion, rising costs of coal extraction and transport are all contributing to current adverse environment for the coal industry and power facilities. Yes, these trends are hard on the aging coal industry, related workers and local economies. But the tide is coming in locally, nationally, globally as the more efficient, lower impact world of distributed clean energy gradually replaces our legacy power systems. Workers will retrain themselves and find other work in new clean energy industries, which are contributing regularly to our nation's employment recovery. This too shall pass.


Sam Jones 8 months, 1 week ago on City of Steamboat Springs will create new environmental sustainability committee

Hey folks, click on the link above "Our view" in which the Pilot expressed an opinion that our community did not need a sustainability coordinator way back in may of 2007. This is the not the time, they opined. Now, with perfect hindsight, we know that 2007 was in fact The Time to move forward with our community's sustainability efforts. Other mountain towns did so, took advantage of enormous available grants, both at the state and Federal level, developed an environment that was attractive for progressive clean tech and clean energy companies to do business (Carbondale, Garfield) and are now reaping the rewards 7 years later. Up here in NW CO, we are just barely scratching the surface of what can and should be done and I applaud the cities renewed committment to sustainability. We should all expect there to be a vocal few who can't handle change as well as others but clearly this is the right direction, if not a little late! Cheers


Sam Jones 11 months ago on Rob Douglas: The true cost of generational theft

Rob, as usual I find your regular column somewhat pointless and sharply skewed to the conservative right. First, is this topic news? That our entitlement programs are overpromised and underfunded like all private pension liability? Tiresome is a word that comes to mind. By your judgment, the US government is fraudulent in their fiscal plans because they use debt spending models? This has been the case for nearly a century. This is not news.

On the issue of debt and deficits, those measures ran far higher in the Reagan years when adjusting for the value of the US dollar and implied inflation (real dollars). I'm sure he was your lifelong champion and somehow, someway, the US of A managed to grow and prosper for decades after while deficit spending shrank. The pattern is no different today. After running very high deficits during a Great Recession, our current level is falling now - has been for nearly two years. Wait until the tax receipts at the new higher rates come piling in by the end of April and watch the current deficit drop dramatically. I'll bet you'll be surprised! I won't. Public sector employment is falling (read the employment report this am), our government is getting smaller, just as we all want, with private sector jobs replacing public sector jobs. This is the recovery phase just like all cycles in the past.

Back on the entitlement issue, if you were to look at the personal balance sheet of most Americans, perhaps even your own, you might find that you are nearly bankrupt by way of your assets and liabilities. Is carrying a mortgage wrong? If we can't pay it all off today are we bankrupt? Why do you hold the US gov to a different standard? Because its an easy target for a conservative rant.

Finally, waggling your finger at the actions of those who have gone before is cheap and easy. It seems you want a quick fix for all macro issues. Why don't you lead the charge and be the first to give up your social security benefits when they become available? Or perhaps you can see the changes already in place - raising the eligibility age, reducing benefits over time, etc. It's going to take a long time to correct the imbalances in place but of course this too is common knowledge.

I'll leave the floor to the tea party bloggers - I'm sure they'll have a field day with this.

over and out


Sam Jones 12 months ago on Steamboat City Council to consider solar garden proposals Tuesday night

Thanks for the comments Harvey and Scott.

Hopefully a lot of your questions and comments will be address tomorrow night at the council meeting. I have contracted to buy a relatively large piece of the community solar array for my home and feel very comfortable with the economics behind that investment. I own an investment company and have degrees in economics and finance. I believe this article provided a bit of a set up for objections by presenting only partial and selective info giving one reason to raise an eyebrow. Leadership by the city is important but probably the 5th most relevent reason why the city might consider an investment in the array.

For instance - Scott. Your 4% return isn't accurate - it's 5.7% and 5.7% is better than 0.0% being earning in cash and money markets where the city treasury lives. There are several other important motivators that should become known in the discussion tomorrow but I'll save the punch line for then.

Personally and very subjectively, I would rather the city spend money on the following: 1. Things that have a payback of any sort an 2. Things that will offer our city more control and stability in their variable expenses. This is an opportunity that provides both. It is not an Iron Horse or anything that carries additional residual costs or even the potential for investment loss.

Thanks again for the input and hope to see you tomorrow night

Sam Jones


Sam Jones 1 year, 1 month ago on Joe Meglen: Protect citizen's rights

Joe, I understand and respect your rights to your opinions. They are clearly your own form of religion and none are likely to persuade you otherwise. However, you should know that when you post a letter to the editor that is full of misinformation, your credibility simply evaporates - whether or not "we" agree with your perspective.

Here are a few (more) corrections to your letter regarding comments on electricity:

CO electricity rates are 23% lower than the national average. read all about it!

Rates in rural Colorado have not changed for many, many years *yes still .079 cents/watt from YVEA. And finally, locally produced (and used) renewable energy whether from hydro, solar or wind, helps diversify and smooth our cost of power, especially during peak load hours and provides a level of independence that even the most hardened conservatives can appreciate (wink). Currently, most rural electric coops are bound to buy power from the likes of XCEL with demand based pricing and very long term contracts. HB 252 is a great step in the right direction and I was very pleased to see Daine support this piece of legislation.

Joe, again, I don't expect you to accept any of this at is doesn't fit your personal doctrine. I just think its important that the more objectives readers in Steamboat get some unbiased info.


Sam Jones


Sam Jones 1 year, 4 months ago on Karl Koehler: Do your homework

Hi George,

thanks for asking the questions. I'll give you the short answers for everyone's education and then invite you to call me if you want more.

assumptions: 1. Electricity prices are not static and likely to rise from their current levels (40 year lows).
2. Panel prices have dropped almost 60% in the last 4 years while efficiency yields per panel have gone up - 19% efficient now. 3. Community solar installations have the added cost benefit of economies of scale (1 permit fee for the whole array versus permit fees project by project for instance) 4. This community array will be sold out before you have too much chance to dwell on it :-)

Payout period? I assume you mean payback period? Between 10-15 years depending on your consumption and change in rates/ kwh from YVEA. Payback can come in the form of energy cost savings monthly or additionally through the return of invesment when you sell your house with no electricity bill (house fetches a higher price). ROI is 5.7% annually, better than bonds, cash and the vast majority of investor's portfolios :-)

Government subsidies? the 30% federal income tax credit for renewable energy installations is factored into the price/ panel offered by Clean Energy Collective (the installer).

Credit rate for solar production via the community solar garden offered by YVEA is .10/watt. You are being billed currently at a rate of .077/watt by YVEA. Yes, the credit for solar production is higher than the amount you are being charged.

Annual maintenance cost (to you)= zero. CEC maintains the solar array at their expense for the life of the panels (25 years)

Feel free to call