Misleading the public on solar photovoltaic
Here we go again. The US Solar Industry Association wrote recently how successful they have been in creating jobs and reducing system prices. I wish it was significant and useful to our struggle to reduce global warming, but PV is insignificant contributor. If money was not important, if time was not critical we could continue to play with PV and feel good about the "magical power of sun-to-electricity." But time and money are crucial.
We must focus our attention on what is critical in the urgent fight against global warming--cutting greenhouse gases fast and in large quantities. PV does not do that. It is the least able to do it since it is the costliest and thus produce the least green energy per dollar invested.
The example of Germany goes on deaf ears. They spent $70 B till mid 09 on PV and it supplies only 0.35% of Germany electricity while Germany is increasing its reliance of coal, way beyond 0.35% per year!
Obviously the Solar Industry association will say positive things about PV. But look closely at the reality of PV. First they stretched the price chart in their report to exaggerate the price drop, and the chart does not start at zero, for the same reason. It is easy to fool the general public since when they see government support they believe two things: one is that since it has government support all is legitimate and PV seller's claims have been checked by the government. They have not.
Second, the PV systems seem so cheap because in fact financial support are very large and distort the market place. But our government should not be so naïve as the public. Our officials are so naïve, unfortunately.
Second, no one is mentioning how much CO2 was reduced by PV systems and at what cost PER KWH. If we used the federal state and local financial support for energy efficiency, starting with increasing home insulation and weatherization- we would have cut 20 to 30 times the CO2 per dollar that PV could cut. BTW, energy efficiency would create many times more local jobs, and jobs that could not be transferred overseas. Multitue of studies show PV to be the costliest by far of all low emission energy sources.
We have to grasp that we do not have enough money to fight GW as effectively as needed. We do not have time also, GHG are increasing daily across the globe. The main, but not the only, emphasis should be on cutting greenhouse gases as fast and as much as possible per dollar available.
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