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Cheaper solar panels fuel rise in renewable energy


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Hats off to China for putting money INTO the solution!

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Solar (PV) Energy Returned On Energy Invested (EROEI) is 6.8 according to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_returned_on_energy_invested, meaning that for each kwh consumed during the entire production chain 6.8 kwh is produced by the unit. That puts it higher than tar sands, shale gas and many types of bio-fuel and at about a third of wind power. Other numbers I have seen says 3 years on average to recoup production for solar-pv power in the US, while large wind needs 6-7 months.

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I fully support the use of photovolaics to produce electricity.

However, the New York Times recently reported that along with a drop in the price of Chinese manufactured PV panels has come a drop in long-term reliability.

To reduce costs manufacturers have started using cheaper epoxy/plastic compounds to cover the panels. (This is in place of glass etc.)

These materials are not designed for the job and over the long run (or short run) deteriorate and vastly impede the efficiency of the panels.

New panels are cheap and efficient. Many older panels are worthless.

Also the cheaper Chinese products have driven higher quality panel makers ( in Europe and the U.S.) out of the business which is not good as far as R and D goes.

This post is not a critique of China or Chinese manufacturers, but a look at the reality of a cut-throat business environment.


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