Solar Power Isn’t Perfect (but it’s still worth it!)

Making solar panels requires old-fashioned coal-fired power

The city of Bay City, Michigan has an interest in solar power, and in this article (http://www.mlive.com/news/bay-city/index.ssf/2009/06/making_solar_panels_requires_o.html) the pros and cons of using this alternative form of clean energy are dissected and stacked against one another to determine whether solar power is really the best way forward for energy production.

Since photovoltaic panels require traditional energy sources in their production, proponents argue that the energy spent is produced and paid back within a short amount of time, and that once that initial payback is completed, the energy produced by the solar panels far outstrips the competition in its ability to create clean, renewable energy for the community.

The lesson to be learned through this article and others that describe solar power and other green energy is a simple one: it takes a few broken eggs to make an omelette, and in the quest for clean energy, solar, wind and hydroelectric power are the truffle omelettes that require a few coal eggs to be broken. The question is not what the cost is at the outset, but how long the photovoltaic panels last and how long it takes to create the same amount of energy they originally used. Because they payback period falls between one and three years, and solar panels are quoted as lasting around thirty years apiece, the benefits to using them do outweigh the cost of their creation. Think about the amount of pollution that would be created by thirty years’ worth of output of traditional energy creation, then think about the output of thirty years’ worth of solar energy. The difference is striking, and comes out heavily in favor of the power of the sun.

In an ideal world, it would be possible to create new forms of energy without relying on the old, but the reality is that the technology to achieve this isn’t there yet. What is clear from the article about Bay City, Michigan’s solar panel projects is that this is a city with an overdependence on coal which needs to be cut back as they move further into the 21st century.

About Finn Peacock

I'm a Chartered Electrical Engineer, Solar and Energy Efficiency nut, dad, and founder of SolarQuotes.com.au. My last "real job" was working for the CSIRO in their renewable energy division.

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