Solar Versus Gas
Which is more efficient, a solar panel or a natural gas furnace?
I came across this perspective on energy use that I thought was worth sharing.
View the full thread here.
“Let’s assume you take a 250 watt solar panel and put it alongside a highly efficient conventional power source, like a natural gas fired turbine generator that also produces 250 watts at peak power. Which device will earn back it's embodied energy faster? The answer is the gas-fired turbine never does. You have to remember that no matter how small the embodied energy is in the turbine, once you build it and install it, it now has to be fed natural gas for the rest of its life, and then it converts that fuel to electricity at an efficiency rate something less than 100%. So the turbine simply keeps digging itself a deeper and deeper energy hole that it can never crawl out of. At least the panel has a chance to get even some day.”
Over the long run, solar power is a much better investment than natural gas, or any other dirty energy source for that matter. Perhaps this is the real reason energy companies don’t want every homeowner to install a solar system — if every one installed a solar system to take care of their home energy needs, the power companies would lose most of their customers!
Solar and wind are FAR more efficient than dirty energy, but the energy industry hasn’t yet figured out how to make short term PROFIT from alternative energy. Instead, they sell us natural gas furnaces. If the biggest energy companies ever figure out a tap that could control the sunshine hitting your roof, you can be sure that they’ll start singing a different tune about alternative energy!