[Strawbale] Vote for seasonal sustainability, or vote for excess

Derek Roff derek at unm...
Wed Dec 21 23:09:28 CET 2011

This question of "how much energy and resources go into making a solar panel" gets asked a lot, and I've seen answers ranging from "a solar panel will never produce the amount of energy it took to make it" to "payback takes about a year and a half, in a sunny region".  The more scientific, careful, and non-polemic analyses that I have read tend toward the lower end of the time spectrum, but there are many variables, such as who made the panel, in what decade, where was it shipped, and how was it used.  

Obviously, using no energy in any form consumes less energy than using some energy in some form.  Just as doing nothing of any kind consumes fewer resources than doing something.  But my guess is that most of the people on this list are interested in doing something positive for the future, and that most of us believe renewable energy sources are preferable to fossil fuel energy sources.  Being alive means having a carbon footprint, and making good, carefully considered choices is the best we can aim for.  One of the most effective things that any of us can do is inspire others to make more sustainable choices.  I thought David Arkin had an interesting approach to that with his holiday lights contest entry.  Each of us on this list has a chance to help spread that message, at the cost of a little electricity for your computer.  It seems like a good trade-off to me, but each person must decide for themselves.  


Derek Roff
derek at unm...

On Dec 21, 2011, at 2:45 PM, donald mchardy wrote:

> > ... which draws only 6.5 Watts of electricity, all of it produced by solar panels.
> how many watts did it take to manuacture those solar panels??
> mining, melting, trasport, etc etc
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