[Paleopsych] Solar Power Myth: "they will never produce the energy consumed in producing them

Steve shovland at mindspring.com
Thu Aug 12 01:00:33 UTC 2004

We've often heard the myth that "it takes more electricity to manufacture a 
solar panel than it will ever put out." This is simply not true...this myth may
 have started during the Ronald Reagan era. This is of course a very difficult 
statistic to calculate, but according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory 
in Golden, CO, a study has been done to answer the question. The study found
 that single-crystal panels reach the energy payback point in 5-10 years, polycrystalline
 panels in 3-5 years, and amorphous silicon panels in 0.5-2 years. Be advised
 that because the question is so vague, there is a large margin of error for these 
figures! We just discovered a recent, very detailed study about solar panel energy
 payback time in the January 2001 issue of Home Power magazine. This study,
 by Karl Knapp, PhD, and Teresa Jester, finds payback time for a standard 
module to be about 3.3 years, and 1.8 years on a thin-film panel. The study factors
 in energy costs for ALL parts of the panel and manufacturing process.

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