You guys are gonna love this. Some “Unknown Conservative” blogger decided that an article Putting Solar Myths to Shame, written by CalFinder’s own Brittany Mauriss and Taylen Peterson, was fit for debunking. He or she (he from here on out—an educated guess) did so in perfect Rush Limbaugh fashion, full of coarse words, suspicious sound bites and skewed logic. While I’d often disregard such antics as the desperate pedantry of a dying breed, sometimes when you’re singled out, you have to fight back. So here it is: our response to one Climate Change denier.
Each link below holds it own myth, so click through to move to the next page:
- Solar only works in hot areas
- More pollution comes from manufacturing panels than is offset by solar energy
- Solar is too expensive
- Solar can’t meet the nation’s energy needs
- The Sahara Desert could power Europe
- Solar is too unreliable
- Create your own panel with DIY sites
Please feel free to comment, in favor or opposition, to any point given below. Here’s to open dialogue!
#1 – Myth: Solar systems only work in really hot areas of the world
We’ve taken screen-shots of the original myth-buster answers and his responses. Below each is our rebuttal.
The point is not that solar could be the dominant source of energy in all climates around the world, but rather that it serves a legitimate function and is viable in any climate. Simply look at use of solar panels in Antarctica by government scientists, for example. Some locations are best for wind, some geothermal (see Iceland or East Africa), and some solar power.
Of course, weather plays a factor. Again, Unknown Conservative is missing the point. Different solar power systems are conducive to different climates with different weather patterns. But designed wisely, a solar system can be beneficial in any climate—solar thermal systems in climates that reach “two degrees above zero” utilize a propylene glycol (anti-freeze) solution to protect against freezing and enable the system to operate even in the cold. Admittedly, the system will work best on a hot, sunny day, but it will still work otherwise. And solar thermal systems, unlike many of their PV cousins, can provide solar energy on cloudy days, as the sun is still transmitting heat. PV panels, however, work MORE efficiently the cooler it is—a good reason some innovators are working to marry the two technologies. See here and here for examples.<
Germany is the world leader in solar power, which certainly makes up a small percentage of Germany’s total power production (coal still being number one), but coal has had a 100-year head start, and to ignore solar’s growth is to be ignorant and unattractively dismissive. In 1990, photovoltaics provided just 1 gigawatt-hour (GWh) of electricity to Germany’s national grid, according to Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety. By 2009, that total had increased to 6,200 GWh of PV and counting. That’s a 6,200% increase in less than 20 years!
Solar power may never provide all the energy for a cloudy country like Germany, but it will, based on the country’s aggressive promotion of the technology today, provide a significant portion. Already, combined with other resources, renewable energy contributes over 16 percent of total energy consumption in Germany.