Solar Panel Propaganda

Solar panels, touted by many to be a renewable energy panacea that will rid the planet of all those nasty coal-fired power plants, may be a bigger boondoggle than we already thought. We’ve already complained that they do not appear in many instances to provide a return in investment.

It now appears that the time they provide energy before replacement is required is dramatically less than claimed. Thus shortening not only the life of the panels and the electricity generated, but also reducing the return on investment.

If you listen to the mostly-Chinese manufacturers, solar panels work great. They can be expected to degrade about 0.5% a year. So that is how we build the economic models to finance, insure and subsidize the larger solar systems.

In the real world, we are just starting to find out how bogus many of those predictions are. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory says that panels can degrade as much as 4.5% a year. Or more. Put that in your pro forma and see what your banker and insurance agent — or Congressman — say about that.

While we see claims that average solar panels will last 25 to 30 years, the aforementioned claim of 0.5% per year means that solar panels should last an astounding 200 years (100% ÷ 0.5%). At the realistic rate of 4.5% per year they will only last about 22 years before replacement is needed (100% ÷ 4.5%), which is not even the 25 to 30 currently claimed by many and not even remotely close to 200 years.

It gets worse folks. They don’t only degrade, it appears they also can literally fall apart and it doesn’t take very long.

In Italy last year, “they discovered that after one year in the field, over 90% of the (solar panels) from a one megawatt project began to delaminate and ended up on the ground.”

That is a lot of wasted money. 90% down the tubes after being used for only one year. No return on investment and very little ‘free’ electricity generated. All that is left is an eyesore that is a pile of toxic waste, wasted tax dollars and perhaps a tax deduction for a business loss.

We are adverse to the lies about what renewable energy costs and what it’s capabilities are. We’re also adverse to the physical and financial messes left when solar and wind-power are abandoned. We’re extremely adverse to the rush to install solar and wind-power without having full knowledge about the effects. Look at the carnage left in the previous two links to see what we’re talking about.

California seems to be leading the rush off the proverbial cliff via the implementation of AB32, California’s cap & trade law, that mandates power providers to generate 33% of their power from renewable (green) sources by a not too distant 2020.

With many large solar projects planned in California, it would seem to be a logical move to slow down and find out what our money is being spent on and what the return on investment will be as opposed to rushing in head first, only to find another government mandated, costly boondoggle. To know what happens to government mandated boondoggles one only has to look at the Solyndra and Evergreen Solar fiascos.

You can safely bet that when these solar energy plants fall apart at the seams, the taxpayers and energy consumers of California and other states will get stuck paying for the bill. It’s probably also a safe bet that the messes left at abandoned solar and wind farms will be there for decades as a reminder of what happens when the government gets involved in what should be private enterprise.

Source: AOL Energy

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Filed under AB32 California, California Air Resources Board, California Green Jobs, Cap & Trade, CARB, Climate Alarmism, Climate Change, Climate Disruption, Climate Modeling, Climategate, CO2, Co2 Insanity, Editor, Energy, Global Warming, Government, Green Energy, Green Tech, Politics, pollution, Renewable Energy, Solar, Solargate, Solyndra, Wind Power

3 responses to “Solar Panel Propaganda

  1. Russell McMahon

    I’m afraid this comment is “less good” than some.

    Even properly implemented PV systems are below grid parity in an unsubsidised market to date. This point is worth making, but “Caveat Emptor” applies in any market, and the failures described here are not characteristic of PV panels built with quality materials and recognised manufacturing procedures.

    The performance and longevity of properly constructed PV panels is well documented – annual output degradation rates of well under 1% and lifetimes of 20+ years are the industry norm and the very large majority of panels supplied in recent years have met these expectations. Achievable lifetime are rising and 30 years is an entirely reasonable expectation of properly implemented systems.

    It is entirely possible to construct a panel which delaminates after a year or two – but this indicates a very major manufacturing failure which would have been prevented if normal due diligence had been followed. It is essentially impossible to produce a panel that is that bad if correct materials and practices have been followed, suggesting that corners were cut along the way* and that due diligence was not practiced by the project management. Any claim to standards compliance in such cases is probably spurious and quite probably legally actionable.

    Monitoring systems made with panels which are going to fail catastrophically within say 10 years is exercising prudence too late and is effectively throwing good money after bad. Doing it right initially, in the usual industry recognized manner, is a necessary first step if subsequent monitoring is to be useful.

    * Minimum criteria for reasonable lifetime panels would be traceable quality low iron glass, EVA, backsheet and PV material and proper laminating procedures. I have seen EVA openly advertised “for China use only”. Do you know where your Tedlar comes from. …

  2. Ralph

    Locally there was a news piece on TV about a very large solar farm to open here in Florida. The person announcing the start of construction was praising the numerous (temporary) construction jobs that would be available . What got my attention was the mention of 100 permanent jobs when the solar farm was finished. At that point I heard the sound of subsidies being sucked from the tax payers pockets.

  3. Gary Resnikoff

    How about a different viewpoint on this. Please look at the facts. The article you link to above is not an NREL article. The author sells monitoring equipment and is trying to say that you need to monitor your system, not that all systems are underperforming or that solar is a bad investment.

    Although there are inferior products on the market that does not mean the entire industry is guilty. As a matter of fact high quality pv panels are guaranteed to only lose about 20% over 25 years. And in actual tests of companies that have had product out that long, like Schott Solar, the loss was actually only between 6-10%. Well made solar panels have shown they last over 30 years.