By Green Guest | February 18, 2010
The incorporation of solar panels, in regular products and even in automobiles has been useful to some extent in reducing the global dependency on fossil fuels. Even though solar power is thought to be a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels, the exorbitant amount of chemicals and energy consumed for manufacturing the solar panels is the darker side of it, and it must be accounted for. This article looks closer at solar cells and suggests some methods of producing and modifying solar cells in a cleaner and greener way.
In a report released by Crystal Clear for the European Energy Commission, it stated that for manufacturing one square meter of solar cell, it consumes energy which produces 75 to 314 kg of CO2. The report further states that installation of solar cells in a suitable sunny region cost 600 to 3140 kg of CO2 and in a cloudy region the figure is some 6280 kg.
But why there is no cleaner source of energy for production of cleaner alternatives? Why should we rely on manufacturing process which can create a solar panel to replace fuel producing carbon in cost of tons of carbon emission. The exorbitant amount of CO2 emission is partly a contribution of solar cells production. The research commission is left with no choice but to conclude that solar power is merely few times cleaner than petroleum energy.
It is marked by another investigation that the quantity of Nitrogen Trifluoride(NF3) in the atmosphere is rising gradually, the cause being not only the production of photovoltaic cells but also due to production of computer monitors and flat screen TVs. The anticipated amount of NF3 being 1200 metric tons differ with actual figure of 4200 tons. And the worst effect of NF3 is that its effect in atmosphere persists 5 times longer time than of CO2.
Even with such an exorbitant quantity of wasted energy and carbon emission resulting from solar panel manufacturing, it is still considered a cleaner source. But what are the possible steps to be performed in order to reduce the massive energy wastage and emission of toxic gases? As the solar technology is shifting in position of being more energy efficient day by day, requiring less energy for its creation and being smaller than ever, energy experts are hopeful that solar energy can become a revered clean energy alternative.
The use of already produced solar panels to power the manufacturing of solar panels instead of petroleum fuels, is perhaps the best idea. BP Solar in Frederick, Maryland has already taken this advice into account and has installed solar panels on the entire headquarters building wall to power 140,000 sq. foot manufacturing and development center. This is enough to prove that in order to become completely green, alternative energies have a long way ahead. Despite the obstacle, such manufacturing companies are putting all their tireless efforts and brain power on reaching the best solution to ‘clean energy’.