Ray Burgess, the President & CEO at Solar Power Technologies Inc posted on the Aol Energy website, “Solar Panels Don’t Work. And No One Knows.” That is a provocative title. Burgess said: “Solar panels do not work that well. Often far below expectations. And few know it. Not the owners who depend on power. Not the bankers who finance it. Not the brokers who insure it.”
The economic models that are used to finance, insure and subsidize solar farms assume the solar panels degrade about 0.5% per year. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) says that they can degrade as much as 4.5% a year or more.
At this point you may be wondering who or what is the NREL. According to Wikipedia they are: “The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), located in Golden, Colorado is the United States primary laboratory for renewable energy and energy efficiency, research and development. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) is a government-owned, contractor-operated facility; it is funded through the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).” This is not an organization that opposes renewable energy.”
Burgess adds: The latest issue of the leading industry trade journal Photovoltaics International, asks the question: “What is the real quality of the products I am buying?” Short answer: Nobody knows. In Italy last year, “they discovered that after one year in the field, over 90% of the (solar panels) from a one megawatt project began to delaminate and ended up on the ground.” “Delaminate: Scientific talk for falling apart. And these panels had all the standard certifications.”
Burgess’ company sells systems that monitor performance of solar farms. The company’s systems presumably can detect individual problem that are causing substandard performance. He lists below, some of the performance inhibitors.
“Solar production in the field can go bad for dozens and dozens of reasons: An errant golf ball. A passing flock of geese. Bullets. Leaves. Shadows. Dirt. If a leaf or bird dropping prevents the sun from hitting part of your solar array, that knocks out solar production in an area 36 times the obstruction.”
Now I don’t know how that multiplier works, but I will take him at his word.
The above along with the problem of the inability to schedule energy production due to variability of the Sun, makes this form of energy less appealing.