Yesterday I came across this article, pointing to the ugly downside of solar energy: to create the panels you apparently need
* to burn coal to create electricity to make silicon.
* use chemicals to clean the panels that are 24.000 times more heat capturing than CO2
* toxic metals like Cadmium to change the properties of the silicon to turn it into PV material
* massive amounts of aluminum for the frames
* people driving around in Diesel trucks to deliver the panels
* ambulances running on petrol to collect roof workers falling of roofs
it goes on
I know this game now. I’ve debunked the “wind is dirty” bit, so I know what to look for.
Usually they assume that the production needs coal power to run the plants, data used is old, incomplete and cherry picked. And it is not different this time around.
I will only say one thing about the electricity needed for making silicon: it is absurd to assume that PV-factories can only run on coal. Elon Musk is building the worlds largest battery plant with an immense PV-array that will make more energy than the plant uses. I am sure new PV-plants will do the same thing.
Luckily I discovered a coalition in California, SolarScoreCard.com, that actually keeps track of the whole PV-industry performance and guess what? As a consumer you can already buy panels that score an almost perfect 92% on every aspect of PV production one can think of. More interestingly, even in the below average group GHG-chemicals and energy use are already fully under control by 30% of this group.
The problem is, again as with the Neodymium magnets, small Chinese producers that do not have to comply with regulations. So a consumer label showing the sustainability score will help consumers identify the black sheep.
Choosing non-sustainable panels thus becomes a consumer choice where individual buyers can be held accountable for.
The PV industry is getting its act together very quickly, something that cannot be said for Coal Diggers and Burners.