Solar power realities
from an e-mail to Jon Ray's blog "Greenie Watch", Jon says; A comment
by someone who knows from professional experience -- received via a reader. The
report focuses on Tasmania, which is in roughly the equivalent latitude to
Italy. So what is bad in Tasmania will be worse in Britain (for instance). As
for Sweden or Canada, stop laughing! Jon Ray, Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I am one of those people who supply and maintain solar and wind power
installations to power electronic systems at remote (unpowered) sites -- e.g.
two way radios up on mountain tops. Twenty
plus years ago, a couple of us had a good look at the possibility of making a
dollar or two out of flogging this emerging technology to the great unwashed.
We didn't bother because it didn't stack up energy wise or financially. I admit
the efficiency of the solar panels us mere mortals can afford has improved a
bit since then (at least 8%) but the figures are still similar. A loose look at the energy required to make
the things verses the energy output of them during their average lifetime was
not really surprising. The panel would return enough energy in the first year
to smelt the aluminum in its frame and its mounting and transport the
manufactured panel to us. We could not get energy figures for melting the
silicon so the wafers could be grown and then cut up to make the semiconductors
but overall it will be high so we guessed that it would take at least 100Kwh .
This equates to 3 years output from the panel used up by the time it is
delivered on site.....