Monday, Feb. 16, 2009 | Jonathan Parkinson’s piece on the potential environmental toxicity of solar panels was a breath of fresh air (pun intended). It clearly illustrated how a movement — the “green” machine — steeped in utopian ideology, can overlook any potential downside in its quest for adoption. Let’s face it, a solar panel is a semiconductor and end-of-life semiconductors are not Earth’s best friend.

What was missing from the piece was the relative inefficiency of the conventional panels’ conversion of sunlight to energy. Though still cost-prohibitive, multi-junction cells are the most efficient panels, on the order of just under 50 percent efficiency. And newer panels coupled with solar concentrators means less (solar panel) real estate is needed to provide the same amount of energy as earlier siblings.

Make no mistake … I’m not against environmentally conscious ideologies (“green”), I’m just against environmentally conscious religions that are fostered by buzzword advertising and politics, but not science.

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