A disappointment might be in store for those who are setting up solar energy panels in their homes or organizations. The construction of solar panels is unfortunately dependent on the energy source that it is trying to eliminate. Hence, you might not expect the repayment of fossil fuel debt before 2020.
Firstly, let’s look at the creation of photo voltaic solar cells that power these panels. The silica rock is melted at 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit under high voltage of electricity. This electricity is dependent on coal based power plants. The energy associated with the transportation and installation of the panels shall also be counted in the same. Most of these energies originate from traditional power sources. Thus, the panels need to pay back all the energies used in creating them.
An extensive study by Stanford University suggests that the solar cells are poised to just surpass the energy mark. Till 2015, the energy debt clearance will continue till some real output comes after a further five years. Michael Dale, the person behind the assessment process, has stated in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, “Despite its fantastically fast growth rate, PV is producing – or just about to start producing – a net energy benefit to society.”
The data suggests that five years back 75 percent more energy was consumed for solar cell production when compared to what it takes at present. Thus, the PV industry experienced an energy deficit with the dawn of the new millennium that continues even now. The team believes that locations matter a lot. Currently, the localization are huge hindrance. Take Germany, for example, which holds a hefty 40 percent share of solar energy market, does not receive optimum sunlight. The deserts located Southwest in the United States and the Middle East receive much more sunlight and will prove to be better alternatives if we wish to pay back the energy of fossil fuels faster than the current estimation.
So, it is widely hoped that despite the usage of non-renewable energy sources by solar panels, Solar Energy is likely to clear the fossil fuel debt by 2020!