The Maine Center for Public Interest Reporting has a wonderful dispatch on how the Maine State Housing Authority spent $1.1 million from the federal Department of Health and Human Services to pay to install alternative energy systems in the homes of low-income Maine residents:
in all but one of the five alternative systems installed, the energy use — primarily electricity — went up, or down too little, to justify the cost of the new energy systems....
To help poor families save on electricity and heating oil, MSHA contracted with a vendor to install solar panels to heat hot water at 10 homes from Belgrade to Rockland.
Each installation cost $7,500.
Of the 10, the report found six were poorly installed, including one where the solar panels were put in upside down; four where the panels were not oriented properly toward the sun: and one where trees blocked the sunlight....In half of the households, energy use increased while the panels were in use.
This all happened between 2005 and 2008, during the George W. Bush administration.