NewEnergyNews: SOLAR CELLS BEATS FOSSIL FUELS AGAIN

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YESTERDAY

  • TODAY’S STUDY: How Low Can The Cost Of Wind Go?
  • QUICK NEWS, August 29: The History Of Climate Change; To Buy Or To Finance Solar, That Is The Question; Wind Fits The National Power Mix
  • THE DAY BEFORE

  • Weekend Video: Predicted Fires And Floods Arrive
  • Weekend Video: Speaking Of Big Losers
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  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-The Ultimate Allergy Remedy – Stop Climate Change
  • FRIDAY WORLD HEADLINE-World Needs More Plug-In Cars
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  • THE DAY BEFORE THAT

    THINGS-TO-THINK-ABOUT THURSDAY, August 25:

  • TTTA Thursday-Climate Change Could Cost Millenials Trillions
  • TTTA Thursday-Is Rhode Island Wind Energy’s Wedge?
  • TTTA Thursday-How Texas National Guard Could Go Green
  • TTTA Thursday-California Leads The Way To Cars With Plugs
  • AND THE DAY BEFORE THAT

  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Your Utility Wants An App For You
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Better Price Signals To Customers for New Energy
  • ORIGINAL REPORTING: Oregon Lawmakers Order Battery Energy Storage
  • THE LAST DAY UP HERE

  • TODAY’S STUDY: A Deeper Look At Utilities – Arizona Public Service
  • QUICK NEWS, August 23: The Climate Change Fight Will Boost The Economy; Solar Shingles Versus Solar Panels; How Very Much Oil & Gas Don't Need Their Tax Breaks
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    Anne B. Butterfield of Daily Camera and Huffington Post, f is an occasional contributor to NewEnergyNews

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    Some of Anne's contributions:

  • Another Tipping Point: US Coal Supply Decline So Real Even West Virginia Concurs (REPORT), November 26, 2013
  • SOLAR FOR ME BUT NOT FOR THEE ~ Xcel's Push to Undermine Rooftop Solar, September 20, 2013
  • NEW BILLS AND NEW BIRDS in Colorado's recent session, May 20, 2013
  • Lies, damned lies and politicians (October 8, 2012)
  • Colorado's Elegant Solution to Fracking (April 23, 2012)
  • Shale Gas: From Geologic Bubble to Economic Bubble (March 15, 2012)
  • Taken for granted no more (February 5, 2012)
  • The Republican clown car circus (January 6, 2012)
  • Twenty-Somethings of Colorado With Skin in the Game (November 22, 2011)
  • Occupy, Xcel, and the Mother of All Cliffs (October 31, 2011)
  • Boulder Can Own Its Power With Distributed Generation (June 7, 2011)
  • The Plunging Cost of Renewables and Boulder's Energy Future (April 19, 2011)
  • Paddling Down the River Denial (January 12, 2011)
  • The Fox (News) That Jumped the Shark (December 16, 2010)
  • Click here for an archive of Butterfield columns

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  • ---------------
  • TODAY AT NewEnergyNews, August 30:

  • TODAY’S STUDY: The Cost Of Solar Right Now
  • QUICK NEWS, August 30: Why They Just Can’t Understand Climate Change; U.S. Offshore Wind Proves Doubters Wrong; Where Used EV Batteries Can Go To Serve

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    SOLAR CELLS BEATS FOSSIL FUELS AGAIN

    More good news for solar energy: A new Brookhaven National Labs study concludes the fears that solar cell manufacture creates more toxicity than it resolves are unfounded. A switch from fossil fueled power plants to solar cells would dramatically reduce air pollution: “Overall, all PV technologies generate far less life-cycle air emissions per GWh than conventional fossil-fuel-based electricity generation technologies. At least 89% of air emissions associated with electricity generation could be prevented if electricity from photovoltaics displaces electricity from the grid.”

    Manufacture of photovoltaic cells involves toxic metals (ex: lead, mercury, cadmium) and generates climate change-inducing greenhouse gases. But fossil fuels also release heavy metals and much worse greenhouse gases when they are burned to generate power.

    Most of the toxic emissions from solar cell manufacturing are due to fossil fuel-burning power plant emissions that provide the electricity for the solar cell plants. When solar cell plants run on solar energy it will be what the head researcher in the study called "…a self-sustained process…" The more popular term for that is “sustainable.” It is the goal.


    click to enlarge

    Easing Concerns About Pollution From Manufacture Of Solar Cells
    February 26, 2008 (American Chemical Society via Science Daily)
    and
    Solar Power’s Greenhouse Emissions Measured
    Charles Q. Choi, February 27, 2008 (LiveScience via Yahoo News)

    WHO
    Vasilis M. Fthenakis w/Hyung Chul Kim and Erik Alsema, Brookhaven National Laboratory; 13 solar cell manufacturers

    click to enlarge

    WHAT
    Emissions from Photovoltaic Life Cycles concludes: Manufacturing solar cells produces far fewer air pollutants than conventional fossil-fuel-burning power plants.

    WHEN
    - This is the first study on the pollutants produced during the manufacture of solar cells.
    - It covers the period 2004-2006.

    WHERE
    - The study is published in the March 15 issue of the ACS' Environmental Science & Technology
    - The 13 solar cell manufacturers studied were located in Europe and the United States.
    Brookhaven National Laboratory is in Upton, NY.

    The more electricity comes from solar energy -- silicon or cadmium telluride (CdTe) -- the more emissions and toxicity fall. (click to enlarge)

    WHY
    - Manufacturing processes for four major commercial types of solar materials were studied: multicrystalline silicon, monocrystalline silicon, ribbon silicon, and thin-film cadmium telluride.
    - A statistical evaluation of air pollution emissions data showed the manufacture of solar cells cuts air pollutants 89%.

    QUOTES
    Vasilis Fthenakis, researcher/environmental engineer, Brookhaven National Laboratory: "One of the most promising photovoltaic technologies is based on cadmium telluride, but cadmium is one of the worst heavy metals. Still, if we compare direct emissions from production of cadmium telluride cells with coal power plants, toxic emissions would up 300 times lower…"

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