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Is Solar Power really Green ?

Is Solar Power really Green ?

Most alternative power sources are not really Green. Solar and Wind are inconvenient because they do not generate power when you need it the most. Which is at night or on cold windy nights. This means that traditional fossil based sources have to be ready to fill in the gaps.
No Solar Power Modern solar farm at sunrise on a summers day -

Sunshine Hours

Most countries do not have very high average sunshine hours.

As an example, Melbourne is supposed to have 2373 hours of sunshine a year and an average of 7 hrs a day. But the statistics are lies, because Melbourne only has 4 sunshine hours in Winter[1].

Auckland has only 2000 hrs a year, that sounds great [2], but it only has 110 hours in June or 3.6 hours a day[3].

Wind Turbines do not generate power when it is very still or moderately windy. So you need storage. The most economical option is Lithium batteries. This is still not cheap.

Storage Is Needed for Payback

For most alternate power sources require storage. Without adequate storage, the current existing generation from hydro, fossil fuels and nuclear has to continue. Fossil fuel and Nuclear powered generators generally require days to start up. Huntly (in NZ) requires 3 days to start up. This means that fossil fuel based generation has to be kept on standby.

Does it make sense that we have to carry on with the current production of power for normal use, while ramping this "dirty" generation up to manufacture the so called Green alternatives ?

Total cost

If you consider the total cost from manufacturing to usage to dumping, then Solar and Wind generation can't possibly be Green. The mining of Silicon, Germanium and Lithium[4] is a filthy process. The life cycle of the products is short, between 5 and 10 years[5]. After that they have to be dumped. It is true that these items CAN be recycled. But most countries are unable to recycle the solar panels[6], broken wind generators[7] and used up lithium batteries[8].


So ask yourself, why are they touted as Green and why are we persisting with this foolishness. In fact, going to these technologies is just using increased amounts of fossil fuels and increasing the emission of gases we are trying to reduce.

Should we be reducing usage of fossil fuels ? Absolutely. But that does not automatically make Solar and Wind "Green". I have Solar Power in my house. But not because it is going to save the Earth. I have it, in case the lunatics drag us back to the stone-age. As a benefit, it now has a reasonable payback period, so over a period of 10 years, it will save me money. But it is not Green.

References (a tiny sample)

  1. Climate of Melbourne
  2. Total Sunshine Hours in NZ
  3. Avg monthly hours of sunshine in Auckland
  4. Mining of Lithium not green
  5. Lithium Batteries have a short life
  6. Solar Panels are a Pain to recycle
  7. Wind Turbine Blades can not be recycled
  8. Are lithium ion batteries recyclable?