Solar Competition Burns Taxpayer Money

Woman with sunburn

Map of Intersection of I=5 and SR-133 near the Great Park. Park is in reddish area at right.

I heard the San Onofre nuclear reactor was possibly going to be restarted and people were going to attend the next City Council meeting in Irvine to protest, so I decided to look up the May 22nd Irvine City Council agenda to see what time this issue would be discussed. I didn’t see anything about it (and learned since then the reactor is not going to be restarted… for now), but something else caught my eye. I will post the agenda itself because it’s so lengthy and will make more sense to just read it as printed.


Accept a grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy in the amount of $375,000 for Phase 1 planning to host the Solar Decathlon 2013 and XPO.

Approve the transfer agreement to transfer from the Orange County Great Park Corporation a $375,000 grant award from the U.S. Department of Energy.

Approve a sole source agreement with Fred Smoller, Ph.D. as liaison with the higher education community and community meeting facilitator.

Approve the acceptance and budget adjustments of sponsorships for the Solar Decathlon 2013 and the XPO as pledged and received over the life of the project.

Approve a budget adjustment for Fiscal Year 2011-2012, increasing revenues by $92,000 and expenditures by $50,000; and for Fiscal Year 2012-2013, increasing revenues by $62,000.
Unless otherwise directed by a member of the City Council, the vote on this matter will reflect the prior action of each Councilmember when he or she sat and voted as a member of the Board of Directors of the Orange County Great Park Corporation. However, if a Councilmember is not present at the City Council meeting, his or her vote will be reflected as absent.

The total dollars they will receive is one million dollars; that’s OUR tax dollars folks! I’m not upset with the City of Irvine, I’m angry with the Department of Energy. Aren’t we in a budget crisis? There’s talk about raising the debt ceiling AGAIN. I don’t know about anyone else but in our household when we are out of cash we do without. And when we do use our credit card it’s for emergencies only, however this solar competition is a luxury not an emergency.

The United States of America is BROKE and yet we have money to spend on things like this? Solar homes have been around since 1983, when Solar Design Associates completed a stand-alone, 4-kilowatt powered home in the Hudson River Valley. We don’t need a competition to build a solar home. They already exist. Don’t get me wrong I am all for solar power but If they want to have this competition let private business pay for it. We need money to get our roads fixed, money for schools; or how about money for a year round homeless shelter? They can even make it solar!

I believe this a waste of our tax money. Proponents will say it’s only one million dollars. And I respond that it’s ONE MILLION dollars that belongs to us, the taxpayers!

About Inge

Cancer survivor. Healthy organic food coach. Public speaker. If you have a story you want told, contact me at